Create a brighter future
Working together to accomplish more
- Striving to maintain or reduce rates for members in all states we serve as we implement the Responsible Energy Plan (REP).
- Promoting a western regional transmission organization (RTO) to efficiently and cost-effectively integrate more renewables into the grid.
- Striving for 100% clean energy in Colorado by 2040.
Progress in 2020
- Established the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the exclusive, independent regulator of Tri-State’s wholesale rates, providing a forum where all members have a voice and are considered equally in rate matters, regardless of state.
- Set a goal to reduce wholesale rates to members by 8% by the end of 2023.
- Joined four regional utilities to evaluate participation in a western expansion of the Southwest Power Pool’s RTO.
To learn more, download the Responsible Energy Plan: 2020 Progress Highlights.
*Tri-State filed its Electric Resource Plan (ERP) with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on December 1, 2020. The plan is subject to review and approval by the PUC, and is subject to change as technology, markets and regulatory conditions change over the implementation period.
Benefits of joining an RTO
Tri-State has announced significant goals for emission reductions and renewable energy additions, all while reducing our wholesale rates and keeping power reliable.
Central to meeting our goals is participation in a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) in our region of the West that will help efficiently and cost-effectively provide much needed regional transmission infrastructure and an organized market to integrate more renewables and transmission onto the grid.
RTOs coordinate participant utilities’ and power providers electricity generation and transmission on a regional basis, which increases efficiencies and lowers costs for utilities and, by extension, their consumers.
There is a growing consensus in the Rocky Mountain region that joining or forming a regional transmission organization (RTO) is imperative to achieve an efficient, cost-effective and reliable transition to a clean grid.
Tri-State has always worked closely with our neighboring utilities to both plan and construct new transmission infrastructure and to explore organized markets. We are also participating in two energy imbalance markets that help reduce costs and increase reliability.
Now, as we move ahead with integrating more renewables and reducing member rates as part of our Responsible Energy Plan, it is imperative that we, and our region, join an RTO in the Western Grid to make serious strides toward the transition goals we, neighboring utilities and policymakers have set.
Tri-State currently participates in two imbalance markets: California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO) Western Energy Imbalance Market (WEIM) and Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Western Energy Imbalance Service (WEIS) market. Imbalance markets can be an initial step to a full RTO, not an end, because the economic and reliability benefits of an RTO are much greater. What’s more, the gap between those EIM and RTO benefits broadens rapidly over time as the need for more regional transmission grows, significant renewable resources are added, and traditional thermal generation is retired.
Important benefits of western RTOs include:
- An organized “Day 2” market (real-time, day-ahead, ancillary services) over a larger footprint – key to integrating both large scale and distributed renewable resources.
- Regional transmission planning and cost allocation to provide for much needed new regional transmission infrastructure - key to integrating new renewable resources, key to a low cost, efficient organized market.
- A common tariff that applies the same rules across the entire footprint, eliminating pancaked rates and losses, and offering common generation interconnection standards and processes.
- Increased value of abundant western solar and eastern wind by connecting those regions through the central Rocky Mountain region
Since these benefits are so important to a timely and cost-effective energy transition, Tri-State has taken the next step toward an RTO and signed a letter of intent to evaluate potential participation in a western extension of Southwest Power Pool’s regional transmission organization (RTO). Other regional power suppliers – Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Deseret Power Electric Cooperative, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN), and Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) – have signed similar letters with SPP.
Taking these steps toward a western RTO now should help provide a framework Tri-State and other electricity providers in the region can secure reliable, affordable electricity while transitioning to a clean grid in a rapid, cost-effective and efficient manner, creating a brighter future for tomorrow.