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The Energy Department and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today recognized the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State) and San Isabel Electric Association (San Isabel) of Colorado as the 2014 WINDExchange Wind Cooperatives of the Year. The awards were presented at the NRECA TechAdvantage Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida, to honor electric cooperatives that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing U.S. wind power.

The two power providers were selected by a panel of judges from industry, government, and national laboratories and were evaluated for their corporate leadership, project innovation, and benefits to customers.

Since 1998, Tri-State has integrated wind energy into the electricity it supplies to its 44 member distribution cooperatives, serving more than 1.5 million consumers across 200,000 square miles in four states. With over 140 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity online, and more under construction, Tri-State is using long-term purchases of new wind energy production to provide affordable electricity to its member cooperatives. Further, Tri-State has taken steps to help each of its member cooperatives diversify their energy portfolios in response to customer demand through a renewable energy incentive program. One of Tri-State’s members, San Isabel, is also leading the way with wind energy deployment.

Conveniently located near some of Colorado’s strongest wind resources, in 2004 San Isabel took steps to make wind energy a part of its clean energy mix. With its first fully operational 8-MW wind farm online since 2013, San Isabel is already able to produce more than five percent of the electricity for its 23,000 consumers from wind power, making it the largest community-owned, distributed generation wind facility in the region. San Isabel, in collaboration with Tri-State and the Electric Power Research Institute, is also currently implementing a pilot program to store excess wind energy as hot water for household use.

Together, Tri-State and San Isabel are expanding the use of low-cost wind energy, supporting job creation and economic development within their service territories though construction of new wind facilities, and helping expand the deployment of wind power across the United States. While supporting over 50,000 jobs across the country and providing cost-competitive, clean energy to cities and communities, wind power helps to eliminate more than 115 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, equivalent to removing 20 million cars from our roads.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) accelerates development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. To learn more about EERE’s Wind Program, including breaking news, research and development, and financial opportunities, please visit the Wind Program website.