Tri-State announces clean energy plan, retires coal assets

Yesterday, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association launched its “transformative” Responsible Energy Plan, which will “dramatically and rapidly advance the wholesale power supply cooperative’s clean energy portfolio.”

Tri-State’s clean energy transition significantly expands renewable energy generation, meaningfully reduces greenhouse gas emissions, extends the benefits of a clean grid to cooperative members, and will share more flexibility for self-generation with members, all while ensuring reliable, affordable and responsible electricity.

“We’re not just changing direction, we’re emerging as the leader of the energy transition,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State’s chief executive officer. 

Tri-State press release, Tri-State announces transformative Responsible Energy Plan actions to advance cooperative clean energy, January 15, 2020

And last week, the utility announced the early retirement of its last coal-fired power plants, and a coal mine, in New Mexico and Colorado.

Closures will result in 100% reduction of coal emissions in Colorado and New Mexico while increasing Tri-State’s competitiveness with cleaner portfolio, stable rates.

Tri-State press release, Tri-State announces retirement of all coal generation in Colorado and New Mexico, January 9, 2020

These two announcements provide context for a presentation at the Ammonia Energy Conference in November 2019, entitled Market Integrated Ammonia. In this presentation, Shaun Tuyuri, responsible for Beneficial Electrification and Electric Utility R&D at Tri-State, analyzed the price impact of volatility due to increased penetration of intermittent renewables, in scenarios with and without “cheap batteries suppressing prices.” His conclusion — highly relevant for a utility that is closing its coal plants and increasing renewables to 50% by 2024 — is that in a wholesale electricity market with increased volatility, renewable ammonia could be produced at the extremely low cost of $96 per tonne.

The High Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States have some of the best renewable energy resources in the world. As more non-dispatchable wind and solar generation is integrated into the power system, it is impacting wholesale power markets. Average wholesale electricity power prices are falling while their volatility is increasing. This creates opportunities for large flexible loads that are capable of consuming energy while prices are low and not consuming energy when prices are high.

Shaun Tuyuri, Green Ammonia Production Integrated into US Wholesale Power Markets, Ammonia Energy Conference, November 2019
Click to enlarge. Shaun Tuyuri, Green Ammonia Production Integrated into US Wholesale Power Markets, Ammonia Energy Conference, November 2019.
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Forest (Zhaolin) Wang

Impressive $ ! Current anhydrous liquid NH3 is at US$500/ton in China. Our green NH3 synthesis experiments and calculations give 11MWh/tonMH3 vs. 8.5 MWh/tonMH3 here. Even so at 11, the NH3 production cost is barely $130/ton, a still extremely low cost!

Joe Beach

If I recall correctly, the $96/tonne assumes a very high efficiency solid oxide based reversible steam electrolyzer/fuel cell. That is a somewhat speculative technology. The 11 MWh/tonne that you mention is more appropriate for currently available commercial electrolyzers. We have reached similar energy estimates to yours in our analyses of NH3 production from wind power.

I take good note of your results of 11 MWh/Ton NH3 at a cost of 130 CND/ton NH3. Can you please specify
> the type/size of electrolyser you were using (PEM/Alkaline ….)
> Is the cost of 130 CND/Ton including the depreciation of the electrolyser and if yet, how many years
> What is the energy cost considered in this study?

David Judbarovski

see Novel way of Nitrogen Cost Rreductuib for Ammonia Industry
it is without any cryogenics.