Lockhart running for SLV REC District 7 Director-at-Large election



It has been my honor to serve the San Luis Valley as a Director on the SLV Rural Electric Co-op Board for the past four years. Now it is time for the District 7 Director-at-Large election. Note that ballots will be mailed out to members on May 11.

Having learned a great deal, I believe I can contribute even more in the future and my commitment to economical, renewable energy remains strong. In addition, my re-election to the Board is important to maintain a balanced representation for the SLVREC membership. I am a voice for:

  • Maintaining reliability and affordability while studying and taking opportunities when they arise to improve our future
  • Reducing our cost of purchased power from Tri-State, (50% of our operating expense), by developing local SLV generated solar
  • Growing new sources of revenue to offset drop in demand from irrigation (due to drought)

For background, SLVREC, by long-term contract, buys 95% of its power from Tri-State G&T. Under this agreement, developing new solar, or any co-op owned power source, is limited to a mere 5%. Irrigation provides 60% of SLVREC annual revenues and has historically been the bread and butter of the co-op, and the reliability and affordability of that power is a primary consideration. SLVREC power usage follows a bell curve through the year with the peak in mid-summer during irrigation season. It then tapers off to a monthly peak load of 20 to 30 megawatts (MW), or about half or less of the summer peak. These seven months of non-irrigation could be well covered during the daylight hours by SLV generated solar; however, for this to occur we would need a new, more flexible, power supply contract from Tri-State, (which is not out of the question).

Another key area of concern is the serious risk of wildfires and power outages. All our Tri-State power comes over Poncha Pass, a vulnerable area. One idea that is being considered is an additional line to the SLV from a different direction. I am also advocating a local option to provide both security and resiliency, which is to research and develop our own power generation here in the SLV, eliminating the need for an expensive new transmission line. Especially for isolated communities such as Creede or Crestone/Baca, an idea long utilized in remote areas of Alaska and on military bases is the use of microgrids. SLVREC will be researching this option with a state grant. Fortunately, new financial incentives and policy developments, from both federal and state levels, are helping us along this road. More about microgrids can be learned at: https://www.microgridknowledge.com/editors-choice/article/11427591/new-studies-point-to-microgrids-as-8216once-in-a-generation-solution8217.

As your SLVREC Director-at-Large, I represent all members: residential, commercial and agriculture, and one of my primary aims is in making our power supply more sustainable and secure. That said, my re-election as a residential member is important - your VOTE is needed! I welcome your comments or questions and you can also visit “Wade for Slvrec” on Facebook. Our board meetings are open to the membership and are held on the last Tuesday of the month, via Zoom or in-person. The annual meeting will be held on June 13, 2023, at the Ski Hi Complex in Monte Vista. For more information, call 719-580-3538. Thanks!

Wade Lockhart

Director-at-Large, SLVREC