For more than 10 years, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has been actively working on a long-term solution to electric reliability needs in the San Luis Valley region of Colorado. Alternatives have been studied originating from the San Luis Valley to electrical connections in multiple directions. In January of 2013, Tri-State’s Board of Directors approved the effort to move forward with investigation of a transmission alternative that would connect to Tri-State’s existing 345kV Taos-Ojo transmission line in an area near the Town of Taos. This project is referred to as the Valley Corridor Project.
During the evaluation of the Valley Corridor Project, the Río Grande del Norte National Monument (Monument) was established by Presidential Proclamation on March 25, 2013. The Presidential Proclamation allows for transmission infrastructure development within the Monument that meets certain parameters, and Tri-State is participating in the Monument management planning process to ensure that electric reliability is considered an important long-term management objective. After careful consideration of the Monument designation and review of technical, financial, regulatory, and environmental criteria, however, Tri-State has decided not to pursue development of the Valley Corridor Project.
Tri-State, in coordination with other affected utilities, is presently analyzing feasible options to improve the reliability of the electric system serving the San Luis Valley. The specific goals of this study are to identify alternatives that reduce the risk of major outages, eliminate restrictions on growth, increase solar generation capability, and renew aging infrastructure. Preliminary results of the analysis are expected in April 2015.