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Colorado emissions rules may force Tri-State, others to close coal plants early

November 25, 2020

Utility Dive:

Colorado has a goal of slicing its carbon emissions in half by 2030, and 26% below 2005 levels in the next five years.

Coal plant closures across the country are accelerating, driven by a mix of environmental policy and economics. The AQCC’s decision “is just a continuation of the trend,” Gerhart said.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, from 2011 to the middle of this year, about 95 GW of coal capacity was taken offline and another 25 GW is slated to shut down by 2025.

Despite those efforts, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said Tri-State is “alienating” cost-conscious cooperative members with its plan to use coal for another decade and to expand into gas. 

IEEFA, in a recent report, criticized Tri-State for what it said are “annual rate increases beginning in 2030 that will raise wholesale prices by 55% in the ensuing 20 years.”

According to the utility, that analysis fails to take into account inflation or the upcoming PUC filing. “In real dollars, our rates are forecast to decrease,” spokesperson Lee Boughey said in an email. 

[Robert Walton]

More: Tri-State, other Colorado utilities may need to shut coal plants earlier than planned to meet state emissions goals

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