To piggyback on Stanley Crawford‘s guest commentary, “Affect Global Warming, Run for the Co-op Board,” I’ll argue from the fiscal point of view.
Your neighbor to the east, Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, took a huge risk five years ago and borrowed $37 million from Guzman Energy. This was to buy out their Tri-State Generation and Transmission contract. The savings in buying electrical power from Guzman of two cents or more a kilowatt hour less, has allowed Kit Carson to pay down that $37 million loan, with only one more year to go. That’s $37 million paid off in six years or over a $6 million savings a year that Kit Carson‘s co-op members will enjoy in the future.
The Kit Carson Co-op board, after having signed contracts to install over 10 MW of solar energy over the years, recently signed a power purchase agreement, for 21 MW of solar power and 13 hours of battery storage. This means 100 percent green daytime power for the Co-op.
The Agreement means no money upfront and came in at four cents a kilowatt hour, versus Jemez Co-op’s 7.6 cents a kilowatt hour to purchase power from Tri-State. That’s a 47 percent savings to Kit Carson‘s Co-op members.
The neat thing about Kit Carson‘s recent 21 MW solar array contract, is the 13 megawatt hours of battery storage will be used during peak demand, when electricity is most expensive, to further lower cost and Kit Carson will have the option, after the 12-year agreement contract expires, to purchase the 21 MW solar array at around one cent per kilowatt hour. That’s a really bright future.
On the other hand, the old guard at Jemez Co-op has stuck with Tri-State, threatening to join with Colorado’s largest co-ops to get an honest buyout cost, and then once again backing out. So they are stuck with the 5 percent locally produced energy that the Tri-State contract limits.
Yes, Tri-State has announced it will reduce power cost by 2 percent next year, and another 2 percent in 2023, with a goal of 8 percent by 2024. That’s compared to Kit Carson signing an agreement that is a 47 percent reduction, right now.
The construction of solar arrays in a co-op service area produces local jobs, local taxes and makes the cost and dependability of your co-op’s power supply better. So why hasn’t your old Co-op board’s approach been to make your co-op a self generated power co-op? Why aren’t they looking for a better financial deal for Jemez Co-op members?
Unlike the Socorro Co-op board, of which I am a member, and which in the past two elections, no one challenged the board members up for election, you’re lucky. You do have a choice. Luis Torres would definitely get my vote.
So get out there and vote, and enjoy the savings that renewable energy‘s now provide. That’s despite the smoke and the drought and the climate catastrophe we’re now all experiencing.
Ward B. McCartney III