Tri-State contributes $5 million to support economic transition following Escalante Station retirement
- Contributions made to four economic development organizations.
- Power plant removed from service in August 2020.
(January 7, 2021 – McKinley County, N.M.) – Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association today announced contributions of $5 million, as it had previously committed to do through a resolution of the power supplier’s board of directors, to four organizations that will support communities affected by the retirement of Escalante Station in McKinley County, N.M.
“Grounded in our cooperative principles, Tri-State has worked tirelessly to support both our Escalante Station employees and the communities affected by this transition,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO. “We are pleased to help provide resources that forward-thinking local leaders can utilize to sustain the region’s economy for years to come.”
The four organizations to receive contributions are:
- Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation, $1.25 million;
- Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation, $1.25 million;
- Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, $250,000; and
- McKinley County Electric Generating Facility Economic District, $2.23 million. Tri-State has also contributed $20,000 for legal fees related to the initial formation of the district.
The Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation (CCEDF) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes economic development across Cibola County, N.M., including the cities of Grants and Milan.
“We are profoundly grateful for the investment given by Tri-State G&T to CCEDF,” said Eileen Chavez Yarborough, CCEDF’s executive director. “We intend to use this investment to move pending projects forward, and expand our efforts to replace and create new economic based jobs for Cibola County. This investment will enhance CCEDF’s ability to leverage state and federal resources to fund projects that will positively impact our local communities, and most of all our families who depend on these jobs for a sustainable lifestyle.”
The Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation (GGEDC) is a not-for-profit organization that provides economic development servicers in New Mexico in the City of Gallup, the Prewitt area and McKinley County.
“GGEDC has long maintained a working relationship with Tri-State, beginning with our business retention and expansion program and most recently, the collaborative work on House Bill 8 (HB8) legislation that paved the way for the creation of a development authority to lead redevelopment efforts in the Prewitt area,” said GGEDC Board President Tommy Haws. "It is a special privilege to stand with a company like Tri-State over the years and through the difficult decision of closure. We appreciate their confidence in us to continue the charge of industrial development in this new environment."
“Tri-State has been a good corporate citizen,” said GGEDC Executive Director Patty Lundstrom. “By providing a generous donation to further economic development, it speaks to their commitment to create good paying replacement jobs to help build a stronger local economy in McKinley County.”
The McKinley County Electric Generating Facility Economic District (EDFED) is one of three Economic Districts in the state, and was established in 2020. The authority may establish long-term development plans for the district, manage lands and properties associated with the authority within the district. The authority may apply for public or private sources of financial assistance to include issuing bonds for infrastructure within the district.
"It has been a struggle to get the McKinley County Electric Generating Facility Economic Development District stood up during a global pandemic, but we did it with support from Tri-State Generation and Transmission and our many partners,” said Anthony Dimas, Jr., McKinley County manager and district secretary/treasurer. "This investment provides this new district an opportunity to take efforts to the next level to produce long-term benefits for the bi-county area and its people."
The Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (NWNMCOG) assists with local and regional planning and development initiatives in Northwest New Mexico.
"We appreciate Tri-State for being a pillar of the community for close to 40 years,” said Billy Moore, Chairman of NWNMCOG. “Many of my relatives and neighbors have benefitted from their employment at Escalante Station, and while we are sad to see it go, we know that it has made a positive impact on many lives and families. This generous donation to our area will cement Tri-State's legacy and provide a foundation for our future.
"This funding provides a lifeline to sustain the region's future,” said Evan Williams, NWNMCOG executive director. “We are extremely grateful and aim to create opportunities so that families can prosper where they are rooted."
Tri-State has entered into a power purchase agreement for a new 200-megawatt solar project near the Escalante Station site to be operational by 2024 and representing a $200 million investment. Tri-State also is working with McKinley Paper Company, which purchases steam and water from Escalante Station, to help continue its operations.
Escalante Station, a former 253-megawatt, coal-fired power plant near Prewitt, N.M., operated by Tri-State, came offline for the last time on Aug. 31, 2020, as the plant exhausted its remaining on-site fuel supply. The power plant was constructed by Plains Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative and began operations in 1984. Plains Electric merged with Tri-State in 2000. Tri-State announced the closure of the facility, as part of its Responsible Energy Plan, in January 2020.
Editor’s Note: Photos of the check presentations to the various organizations are available for the news media from Tri-State, upon request.
Tri-State is a not-for-profit cooperative of 45 members, including 42 utility electric distribution cooperative and public power district members in four states that together deliver reliable, affordable and responsible power to more than a million electricity consumers across nearly 200,000 square miles of the West. For more information about Tri-State, visit www.tristate.coop.
Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation
Eileen Chavez Yarborough, (505) 658-2911, (817) 564-3884, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation
Michael Sage, CEcD, (505) 722-2980, (505) 240-3264 (cell), email@example.com
Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments
Evan Williams, (505) 722-4327, (505) 409-7955 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org
McKinley County Electric Generating Facility Economic District
Anthony Dimas, Jr., (505) 722-4248, Anthony.dimas@co.McKinley.nm.us
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
Mark Stutz, (303) 254-3183, email@example.com