Just days after announcing it was moving entirely out of the coal power business, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has revealed plans to build a new 200-megawatt solar power plant near Prewitt, New Mexico.
The new plant will go up not far from the existing 253-megawatt Escalante Generating Station, which is coal-powered and also belongs to Tri-State.
The wholesale power supplier plans to shut down the coal plant later this year.
Based in Westminster, Colorado, Tri-State has facilities in both Colorado and New Mexico. On January 9, the company said it was putting out of commission both its coal-fired New Mexico facility as well as its last coal plants and coal mine in Colorado.
In a statement, Rick Gordon, board chairman with Tri-State, said, “Serving our members’ clean energy and affordability needs, supporting state requirements and goals, and leading the fundamental changes in our industry require the retirement of our coal facilities in Colorado and New Mexico.”
As planned, Tri-State’s planned New Mexico solar plant, officially called Escalante Solar, will be the largest of its kind for the company.
Expanding its renewable energy profile, Tri-State will also build five solar projects and two wind projects in Colorado in the next four years.
Tri-State says this across-the-board move to renewable energy comprises the “most transformative change in its 67-year history,” one that will “dramatically and rapidly advance” the company’s clean energy portfolio.
“We want replacement power to be located in the affected communities whenever possible, so we welcome Tri-State’s announcement,” Tripp Stelnicki, a spokesman for New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, told the Albuquerque Journal.
Remarked Colorado Governor Jared Polis of the Tri-State move: “It’s a bold step to protect the future of the planet and to prepare Colorado to succeed in the future.”
By Garry Boulard
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