News | October 30, 2019

Tri-State, National Partners To Advance Low Carbon Energy Use Across Colorado

Westminster, CO /PRNewswire/ - Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association joins the national Beneficial Electrification League (BEL), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and others today to announce establishment of the BEL's first state chapter, which will advance beneficial electrification in Colorado.

Additional participants in launching the Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado (BEL-CO) include the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).

Beneficial electrification (BE) promotes the efficient use of electricity to replace fossil fuels to benefit consumers, help improve the environment and provide a more robust and resilient energy system. BE creates new and exciting opportunities to achieve local, state, regional and national economic and environmental goals.

BEL and the Colorado chapter are non-profits focused on the advancement of market acceptance for BE concepts, policies, practices, technologies and business models. BEL was launched nationally in 2018, with founding support from NRDC and NRECA, to facilitate the exchange of ideas, experience, education, awareness, and market and policy analysis to accelerate BE solutions, such as infrastructure for electric vehicles, access to highly efficient electric heating and cooling systems such as heat pumps, rebates for electric equipment such as lawn mowers or leaf blowers, and a variety of other uses.

While BEL-CO is being launched by Tri-State, BEL and others, it will be an open organization seeking to bring together interested researchers, government agencies, members of the public and other stakeholders, including other utilities, to share the benefits of electrification with all Coloradans. The BEL-CO chapter allows members and others to participate in educational seminars, exchange information and promote BE. Organizations and individuals are welcome to join the chapter to advance the broad objective of improving lives and livelihoods in our communities by sharing the benefits of lower-emission and lower-cost efficient electric resources.

"Beneficial Electrification is one of the central commitments of our Responsible Energy Plan at Tri-State. With a cleaner grid and expanded use of electricity, we can advance low-carbon technologies across Colorado's economy," said Duane Highley, Tri-State's CEO. "As an association of mostly rural electric cooperatives and public power districts, we see this exciting opportunity to coordinate with our founding partners and others as key to sharing the opportunities of the energy transition with our rural and urban neighbors."

"Beneficial Electrification is a tool that will help Colorado meet its energy and climate goals, and we are looking forward to working with Tri-State and other stakeholders to advance innovative solutions for our state," said Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office.

"Colorado's electric co-ops have encouraged the beneficial use of electricity in the communities they serve for many years," added Kent Singer, executive director at CREA. "The creation of the Beneficial Electrification League of Colorado will provide a platform that CREA's members can use to enhance their beneficial electrification efforts throughout the state."

"We are excited to work collaboratively with other organizations to advance electrification technologies that in turn will help Colorado meet its stringent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals," said Howard Geller, executive director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP).

"Colorado is leading the way in establishing a state-level organization dedicated to advancing beneficial electrification, which can reduce customer energy costs, cut climate-heating emissions, and help make the air cleaner for all of us to breathe," said Kit Kennedy, senior director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Replacing polluting fossil fuel equipment with efficient electric alternatives powered by clean electricity is one of the most important and effective opportunities for dealing with the climate crisis."

"It's encouraging to see the collaboration around electrification that is taking place in Colorado," said Jim Spiers, senior vice president, Business and Technology Strategies for NRECA. "As consumers and policymakers learn about electricity's environmental and economic benefits, state and local efforts can help pave the way for a more responsible future by electrifying homes, businesses and other sectors of the economy."

Gary Connett, BEL co-chair, welcomes the addition of the Colorado Chapter to the Beneficial Electrification League, added: "This is an important step in bringing the mission of the League from the national to the state and local level where electrification must happen. The BEL of Colorado will work to bring the incredible benefits of Beneficial Electrification to co-op members and other utility customers in the Mile-High State."

With so many opportunities for BE to make a difference for consumers and the environment, the BEL and BEL-CO founders hope the Colorado chapter will be the first of many state or regional chapters.

About BEL: The Beneficial Electrification League (BEL) is a nonprofit organization and the leading voice on Beneficial Electrification. BEL is focused on promoting market acceptance for Beneficial Electrification concepts, policies, practices, technologies and business models. To learn more, visit https://beneficialelectrification.com/.

About CEO: To deliver on the vision of a prosperous, clean energy future for Colorado, the Colorado Energy Office works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consumer energy costs by advancing clean energy, energy efficiency and zero emission vehicles to benefit all Coloradans. Go to colorado.gov/energyoffice to learn more.

About CREA: The Colorado Rural Electric Association is the trade group for Colorado's electric cooperatives, providing education, safety information and training, legislative assistance and communication services. CREA's mission is to enhance and advance the interests of its member electric cooperatives through a united effort. Visit https://crea.coop/ to learn more.

About NRECA: The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation's landmass. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.

About NRDC: The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at NRDC.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

About SWEEP: The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) is a public-interest organization promoting greater energy efficiency and clean transportation in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. To learn more, visit http://www.swenergy.org/.

About Tri-State: Tri-State is a not-for-profit association of 43 member electric cooperatives and public power districts in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million rural electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the west. For more information about Tri-State and our Responsible Energy Plan, visit tristate.coop.

SOURCE: Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association

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