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Tag: CEO Column

CEO Column: Cost-Effective, Sustainable Power

A balanced approach to cost-effective, sustainable power

April 26, 2023

Have you ever considered how handy it is to flip a switch or push a button and have instant conveniences?

It seems so simple; you get a little cold or hot, you bump your thermostat up or down; your family gets hungry, you grab food from your refrigerator and heat it up in the microwave or cook a meal on your stove; stressful day at work, you jump into a hot tub of water.

Electricity is one of those reliable and instant conveniences. More than that, it is necessary to support our daily lives and plays a vital role in powering our future (think electric vehicles, heat pumps, and smart home devices).

Trico takes our responsibility to deliver cost-effective and sustainable power to our Members very seriously. I’d like to use this month’s column to make the point that to accomplish cost-effective AND sustainable, it requires a balanced portfolio of renewable and non-renewable sources, at least for the near and medium term.

As many of you know, there are various methods of electricity generation.

Dispatchable resources include coal and natural gas, which are used to generate electricity by combustion (thermal power). Nuclear power can also be generated through nuclear fission using uranium, the heat of which raises the temperature of water and rotates a steam turbine.

Among renewable energies, sunlight is directly converted into electricity (photovoltaics), rotation energy by wind is converted into electricity (wind power), and rotating water wheels are turned by running water to generate (hydro).

Each technology has its strengths and weaknesses, and currently there is no single source of power that can solve Trico’s mission to be cost-effective AND sustainable all on its own. A quick review of the weaknesses of each technology shows that a diverse mix of resources is vital.

  • Nuclear – Expensive, and hard to finance or site.
  • Coal – Emits carbon and is difficult to adjust to changing load requirements.
  • Wind and Solar – Intermittent, because the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine all hours of the day. Coupling these resources with battery storage helps, but given current technology 24/7 coverage with batteries is not cost effective or practical.
  • Hydro – Subject to water availability and impactful on the environment.
  • Natural Gas – Cost is subject to natural gas markets which can be volatile and emits carbon (although substantially less than coal).

So, what do we do?

It is Trico’s goal to reduce our carbon emissions by 50% by 2032. This will result in increased sustainability at a reasonable cost. We have committed to this goal because it serves our mission, not because of any regulatory requirement. We don’t dispute the importance of transitioning our generation mix over time, and our resource planning shows it can be done in a cost-effective manner. It may be counter-intuitive, but we are also including natural gas generation in our plans. Natural gas generation can ramp up at any time of the day to meet Members’ swings in power usage and to adjust to changing weather. This is necessary to help us meet your power requirements 24/7, 365.

Could we reduce our carbon emissions faster? It may be possible but is not practical. With current technology, the result would be increased costs and/or hours during the year in which power may not be available, and because of supply chain issues related to renewable generation equipment the facilities required might not even be able to be built by the time needed.

Which leads to the point of this column, in order to accomplish sustainability AND cost effectiveness, it requires a mix of multiple generation resources. That has been our strategy in the past and is our strategy moving forward, all to meet our Members’ evolving energy needs. We know you depend on us and it is our privilege to serve our Members and our community.


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CEO Column: 2023 Annual Meeting

You’re invited to our Annual Meeting on April 1, 2023

February 23, 2023

Most consumers likely don’t equate active involvement with their electric company with helping their community. But Trico is not an ordinary utility company. We’re a cooperative, and our business model is meant to serve our Members.

Spending time with you and hearing your take on our community’s energy future is important to us. We hope you will be able to attend the Trico Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 1, 2023 at Casino del Sol Resort. We’re starting the meeting an hour later than usual at 11 a.m. We hope the time change will allow more Members to attend.

The Annual Meeting is your chance as a Member to learn about your electric cooperative, make your voice heard, and meet the faces behind the cooperative. The meeting will include a report on Trico’s efforts to serve its Members’ interests and provide cost-effective, reliable and sustainable energy solutions. There will be food, raffle prizes and trees for sale. You must be present to win the prizes.

The Annual Meeting is also a time for Members to vote for your Board of Directors. There are two Board of Director positions up for re-election: District 3 (Avra Valley, Picture Rocks, Star Valley) and District 6 (Corona de Tucson, Vail). The director seats will be formally elected at the Annual Meeting. Members can vote at the Annual Meeting. For Members who prefer online voting or are unable to attend the meeting, online voting is available on our website at through March 29, 2023 at 11 a.m.

The board of directors is comprised of seven Members who live and work right here in our local service area, so they are in the best position to know where community investments are most needed. We hope you’ll consider running for the board in the future – we’re always looking for folks who care about our community and who are willing to serve.

Every year, we invest funds to make updates to our local system, which helps maintain reliability and grid resilience. Think of it this way: every time you pay your electric bill, you’re investing in your community because all the money we take in goes to improve the local community. By making these investments in our local system, we can ensure you have reliable power for everyday life.

We hope you’ll exercise the benefits of your co-op membership and join us for the Annual Meeting on April 1, 2023. We look forward to seeing you!


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CEO Column: We’re Looking Out for Your Interests

CEO Column: We’re Looking Out for Your Interests

January 24, 2023

We’re looking out for your interests

Trico is dedicated to making a difference in the communities we serve by providing our Members cost-effective and sustainable energy solutions.

It’s a new year and we want you to know that we are always looking out for your interests. As a non-profit, our focus is on how we can better serve you, our Members. Here’s a look back at what we accomplished in 2022. 

Capital Credits: In December, Trico retired $4.25 million in Capital Credits to our Members. We are proud that this is Trico’s 13th straight year retiring Capital Credits. Since 2010, Trico has returned more than $32 million to its Members. Look on your December bill for your Capital Credit Retirement Allocation.

Renewable Energy: Trico continues to make community scale renewables part of its overall resource planning, to meet the energy needs of our Members now and in the future. In 2022, Trico installed our third community-scale solar project and first battery energy storage system. The Chirreon Solar & Battery Storage facility, located near SaddleBrooke, is a 10-megawatt photovoltaic solar generating facility and a 15-megawatt hour/30 MWh battery storage system. We have plans for more solar and battery projects to provide cost-effective and sustainable energy.

Community Giving: In 2022, the Trico Electric Charitable Trust awarded $70,000 in POWER Grants to non-profits providing critical services in southern Arizona. Since 2008, Trico’s POWER Grants program has provided $735,000 in funding to local non-profit organizations in our community. Our employees host food drives and other donation events throughout the year. For the holidays, employees donated cash and several boxes of toys for Toys for Tots.

Dependability: Trico is growing, along with many of the communities we serve. To keep up with this growth and maintain an excellent standard of reliability, Trico is investing almost $70 million over the next four years to continue improving our electric infrastructure. This includes upgrades to two existing substations (Green Valley Substation and Marana Substation) and installing a new substation delivery point (Adonis Substation, which will be north of Tangerine Road and east of I-10 in Marana).

Innovation: Our employees are always looking for new and innovative ways to serve our Members. We now produce a monthly Livewire video. We encourage you to follow us on social media to keep updated on what’s happening at Trico.

Thank you for being a Trico Member. We look forward to serving you in 2023.


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