Published on October 15th, 2009 | by Susan Kraemer1
Tres Amigas Proposes First Renewable Energy Market Hub
Wind blows at night in the lonely Dakotas and down through the empty middle of the country. Nobody lives in our sunbaked deserts where afternoon solar power can be most effective. Any potential central superstation would need to both connect stranded renewable sources to consumers on the other side of the continent in other time zones and be capable of carrying very high power as we add a powerful national grid.
The Tres Amigas plan would begin to achieve both these goals with America’s first renewable energy market hub.
Tres Amigas is developing a $1 billion connecting hub that would work like a traffic roundabout for the nations three main grids so that large amounts of electricity can be moved from our producing regions to consuming regions; using superconductor electricity pipelines from American Superconductor.
It would connect three main sections of our grids, pulling the electricity from the three grids and redirecting it to wherever there’s greatest demand. It would consist of high capacity connections able to transfer and balance 5 gigawatts of electricity among the three grids.
Clovis, New Mexico would be the site for the giant triangular superstation.
Tres Amigas would consist of a ‘triangular electricity pathway’ of superconductor electricity ‘pipelines’, several kilometres on a side, to be that will feed power into and out of the Tres Amigas SuperStation through multiple AC/DC converters, each connected by DC superconductor cables. American Superconductor’s Superconductor Electricity Pipelines would comprise transmission-level DC superconductor power cables powered by high temperature superconductor wire and high-powered voltage-source AC/DC power converters.
It would cost an estimated $1 billion, and Tres Amigas has acquired lease rights to begin the two year $30,803 study of the 58 square kilometer site on state trust land near the Texas border.As a merchant transmission system, Tres Amigas will charge a fee for use of the power hub.
American Superconductor is helping with finance in return for a minority equity interest for $1.75 million in cash and AMSC stock. Tres Amigas CEO Phil Harris, who developed the concept for the Tres Amigas SuperStation was formerly the CEO of PJM Interconnection, which serves 14 states and is the world’s largest transmission balancing area with over 240,000 megawatts under management.
There are lots of reasons for the Balkanisation of all the small transmission grids that comprise the American grid. It is a difficult problem to overcome, but we begin by uniting America’s three main power grids, to add renewable power to our energy supply.