Colorado’s Evolving Energy Landscape

Colorado’s Evolving Energy Landscape – January 2023 CCL CEO Article

By Ruth Marks, MVEA CEO
Ruth Marks, MVEA CEOThere is no time better than the start of a new year to take stock of where we are and what the forecast for the year will include. At Mountain View Electric Association, we have a lot to celebrate as we look toward another year of stable growth while also keeping a close eye on legislative topics at the state and federal level that will have an impact on the electric industry.

MVEA’s mission includes providing members with safe, reliable, and affordable electricity. I am proud to share that MVEA ranks high in all three areas when we look at evaluative markers. Notably, in the area of reliability, we continue to rank among the top 25% of surveyed utility providers across the country that report their System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI). SAIDI shows how long an average customer goes without power during a year. The U.S. average is 207.4 minutes without power. The Colorado average is 147.49 without power. MVEA’s average is 49.75 minutes. That is a great point of pride! Yet, we know that we can strive to do even better through technology, innovation, and system upgrades. And while MVEA is continually making improvements to ensure we can provide reliable electricity, we must also address the issue of resource adequacy.

The term “resource adequacy” refers to making sure there is enough electricity to meet the needs of consumers at all times and under any conditions. We have been working with our fellow electric cooperatives and other utilities to help draft resource adequacy legislation to ensure all utility providers in Colorado are held accountable for their ability to deliver reliable electricity.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, otherwise known as NERC, recently reported in their 2022-2023 Winter Reliability Assessment that much of the United States is at risk of “insufficient electricity supplies” during peak winter conditions. There is some good news for our region. The report shows we are strongly positioned to weather any extreme peak demand scenarios. Based on this report, MVEA does not foresee resource adequacy impacts to our reliability this winter.

But we know the decisions being made today by the elected officials who create policy will determine whether or not there are sufficient resources to keep the lights on years down the road. Reliable electricity is not just something we expect, it’s something we all depend on to not only survive but grow and thrive as a community. From California to Texas, we have witnessed the consequences of what happens when the resources are not available to supply America’s electric grid with the power that it requires.

MVEA is committed to doing everything we can to ensure we are able to provide you with a 24/7/365 supply of electricity. We are committed to being part of the solution to address the reliability challenges spreading across our nation. This includes supporting meaningful legislative action to ensure resource adequacy. In the months to come, I anticipate reaching out to MVEA members about grassroots advocacy efforts to share your perspective and let your voice be heard on vital resource adequacy legislation.

The U.S. power grid has been called the single largest and most complex piece of technology ever built by mankind. It is a great example of what people can accomplish when they work together. I look forward to working together with you, the members of MVEA, to help safeguard the reliability of our electric grid during an era of change. If you have not already done so, please sign up for our Grassroots Network.