Colorado’s second-biggest electricity provider – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association – upped its goal for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to an 80% cut by 2030 – putting itself in line with other utilities in the state.
Tri-State’s original 70% target for cutting carbon dioxide emissions had lagged other Colorado utilities, such as Xcel Energy and the Platte River Power Authority, and drawn criticism from environmental groups and local public officials around the state.
Thursday’s announcement, made during a web-based press conference with Tri-State CEO Duane Highley and Gov. Jared Polis, drew widespread praise.
“I’m happy to hear that Tri-State is listening and responsive to its members,” Telluride Mayor Pro Tem Todd Brown said in an email. “Telluride can’t meet its carbon reduction goals unless Tri-State takes the lead on carbon reductions.”
Brown was one of more than 100 local officials who wrote state regulators, urging them to hold Tri-State to the 80% standard.
Tri-State supplies wholesale electricity to 43 rural electric cooperatives in four states including 17 in Colorado.
“Tri-State is stepping up to the plate by committing to reducing its carbon emissions 80% by 2030,” Anna McDevitt, who represents Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign in Colorado and New Mexico, said in a statement. “However, climate change and air pollution have no boundaries and in order to be all-around climate leader Tri-State will need to address harmful emissions in all four states the company serves with coal-fired electricity.”
In Colorado, Tri-State closed its coal-fired plant in Nucla in 2019 and plans to close one of three coal-fired units at its Craig Station by 2025, and the remaining two units by 2030.