I have much admiration for LPEA’s CEO Mike Dreyspring. He has a difficult job, rich with controversy. That said, his recent article (Herald, Feb 24) leaves me questioning some statements and projections that aren’t supported by data I am aware of.
Mike’s column refers to PURPA’s Qualifying Facilities and Policy 118 as good options for LPEA to pursue more renewable energy projects. I would love to see this happen, but Tri-State is attempting in court to add costs to QF projects by changing it’s policies, making them cost-prohibitive. No current projects exist under policy 118 and are not currently economical.
Mike’s column states that Tri-State doesn’t plan any rate increases until 2023. Last June, Tri-State told us they plan on rate increases of at least 10 percent by 2026. Energy prices are expected to decrease nationwide from inexpensive renewables, not increase. Why would Tri-State suddenly change their projections? We’ve had continuous increases for decades, so what are they planning to do differently? Future rate increases puts our community at an economic disadvantage.
I am the first to admit that our long-term energy future is complicated. My concern is that our current path will leave LPEA behind with paying high rates and dirty energy.