• Understanding LPEA’s renewable/distributed generation resource mix

    Free informational workshop designed to explore the opportunities and challenges

    To provide members of La Plata Electric Association (LPEA) with insight into the opportunities and challenges of integrating renewable/distributed electricity generation into LPEA’s resource mix, the cooperative will host a special information session, Thursday, April 13, 2017, 5 to 7 p.m. at LPEA’s Durango headquarters, 45 Stewart St. (Bodo Park). Reservations required.

    “At LPEA we are excited about new technology,” said Mike Dreyspring, LPEA CEO. “But this is the analogy I like to use – the electric utility industry as a whole is like an ocean liner, and it takes time and patience to turn a giant ship. We’re not a speed boat that can turn on a dime, but that doesn’t mean we’re not moving ahead and evolving in how your power is supplied now and in the future.”

    LPEA is a distribution cooperative, which manages the infrastructure that transports electricity from a power generator to the end user – homeowners and businesses in La Plata and Archuleta counties. To provide reliable energy to its members, LPEA has a long-term contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission to supply 95 percent of its power requirements.

    “I think some people are surprised to learn that Tri-State has been moving steadily to incorporate more renewable generation into its mix,” said Dan Harms, manager of rates, technology and energy policy, who will lead the workshop. “With projects coming online this year, Tri-State’s resource mix will have about 25 percent from renewable generation, plus the company is retiring its Nucla and Craig I coal generation plants in Colorado. This is one of the items we will discuss at the workshop.”

    The presentation will also cover an explanation of the 5 percent leeway LPEA has to purchase power outside of Tri-State, as well as what it would take to buy out of the Tri-State contract. Topics of discussion will further include an explanation of distributed generation (Power Purchase Agreement with LPEA versus net-metering); policy, pricing and physics – what currently limits LPEA; LPEA’s current resource mix and a breakdown of the power bill – electricity costs versus the infrastructure expenses; and more.

    “We also want to go over some options, and things our members and LPEA can work toward together, such as Green Power programs,” said Harms. “Where do we go from here, what are the opportunities?”

    “As a cooperative, we are very conscientious about how our members’ money is spent,” added Dreyspring. “We want to be prudent and fiscally responsible as we look at embracing the new technology.”

    To reserve a seat at the workshop, RSVP to Sue Maxwell, 970.382.7170 or smaxwell@lpea.coop. If demand exceeds room capacity, LPEA will schedule an additional workshop.

    LPEA, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative established in 1939, provides to its more than 30,000 members, with in excess of 42,000 meters, safe, reliable electricity at the lowest reasonable cost, while being environmentally responsible.