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April 9, 2008

Greenwashing Your Electricity

As of writing, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission homepage has a total of eight wind turbines on it; a curious number considering it is eight more than they have on their entire grid. This seems an oddity considering the tremendous wind energy resource within their sprawling service territory. But this is most likely about to change, as Colorado's co-ops are now required to come up with 10% of their energy from renewable sources.

It is unfortunate that Tri-State has resisted developing their excellent wind resource for so long. Now that there is a real danger of another lapse in federal renewable energy tax credits, wind energy developers will not exactly be lining up at Tri-State's Westminster, Colorado headquarters.

Tri-State Generation and Transmission provides power to 44 co-ops spread across 250,000 square miles of Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and New Mexico. Tri-State is itself a co-op (sort of). Maybe a better way of looking at the organization is that it is a co-op of co-ops; Tri-State is owned by the 44 co-ops it serves. And this institutional structure is not exactly conducive to change.

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