An audience of more than 1,000 people at the 77th annual meeting of the Poudre Valley Rural Electrical Association heard how improvements in technology have not only helped PVREA retire its largest ever capital credit amount, but also install solar panels that can provide power for 1,300 Weld County homes.
The meeting, which was held April 16 at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, included an update on PVREA activities from CEO Jeff Wadsworth, as well as a report from the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, PVREA’s wholesale power supplier.
The 445 PVREA members in attendance also voted for three board of director positions up for re-election: two in Larimer County and one in Weld County.
Incumbents Steven Anderson and Thaine Michie, both of Larimer County, ran unopposed and were re-elected. In Weld County, incumbent Georglyn Diehl beat out challenger Maria Miller to retain her seat for another four years.
Wadsworth’s presentation focused on PVREA’s Always On concept, which entails keeping electricity flowing in an effective and affordable manner.
“Always On also means doing things on a local level—working with schools, governments and charitable organizations,” he said.
Wadsworth said last year, PVREA had its largest capital credit retirement ever, thanks to improvements in technology as well as refinancing the association’s debt. He also emphasized that PVREA remains first among co-ops for lowest electricity rates.
According to Wadsworth, PVREA installed six new and upgraded stations in 2015 and has been discussing alternative energy at the local level. He said harnessing solar energy, storing it and using it locally is in the best interest of the association’s members.
Wadsworth noted how PVREA recently installed solar panels in two locations in Weld County. These panels have generated eight megawatts of electricity so far, or enough power for 1,300 homes.
“We’re making a difference right here in northern Colorado,” he said. “We’re doing this because it is at the local level and is something the membership asked for as well.”
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Senior Vice President Joel Bladow spoke about the future of power and working to keep it clean and affordable in a rapidly changing world.
“Rates are one of our biggest challenges,” he said. “We are not-for-profit, so it’s important for us to make sure that those who incur costs are paying for those costs, As a result, starting in January of this year we have a new way to charge our members.”
Bladow also discussed the stalled progress on a clean power plan, noting that the new Environmental Protection Agency rules are being challenged in court and there’s unlikely to be a decision until the end of this year.
“One of our challenges is we have this uncertainty facing us,” he said. “We need to look at all our possibilities, without spending too much money, until we know what the outcome of the EPA ruling will be.”
Bladow concluded with the observation that PVREA provides more renewable energy than Xcel. Focusing on this type of energy is “good business and it makes sense,” he said.