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U.S. to Launch Tres Amigas Renewable Energy Hub

The Tres Amigas (meaning “three friends” in Spanish) Superstation has been called the world’s first high-capacity “Renewable Energy Hub.”

This new system is designed to connect the three major electricity grids in the United States, allowing for easier integration of renewable energy such as wind and solar into the grid. A smart electricity grid is needed to allow power from clean wind and solar resources to reach far-flung parts of the country with large power demands.

The Tres Amigas Superstation will be constructed in Clovis, New Mexico, a location with many unique and strategic advantages. Clovis, located in New Mexico and close to the border of Texas, is located near current and planned transmission lines for America’s three power grids (Eastern Interconnection, Western Interconnection and Texas Interconnection).  Tres Amigas, LLC has already been granted the right to lease 14,400 acres (22.5 square miles) of land in Clovis by the New Mexico State Land Office for this system.

Bringing the Tres Amigas Superstation to fruition will likely require a minimum expenditure of $1.5 billion, not to mention significant transmission and distribution technology know-how. Work on the Superstation will demand advanced networking and communications input to coordinate many complex interactions, including multiple power sources, markets and prices.

Chief Operating Officer David Stidham says many of the technology innovations needed to complete this ambitious grid project did not exist a few short years ago.  For example, the Superstation will feature cutting-edge Voltage Source Converters, or VSCs, that can efficiently connect two or more asynchronous grids by converting alternating current (AC) power from one network into direct current (DC) power and then back into AC power that’s fed into another grid.  The Superstation will utilize powerful software to manage the massive amounts of data.

The Tres Amigas project has succeeded in bringing global trading, IT and infrastructure services company Mitsui on board. Mitsui will invest $12 million into Tres Amigas and contribute its expertise in smart-grid IT, renewable energy development and management, and carbon dioxide emissions mitigation strategies.

“Apart from the purely electrical engineering aspects of the project, the commercial operation of the Superstation requires intensive use of information systems and technology, as well as management of large-scale infrastructure,” said Phillip Harris, president, CEO and chairman of Tres Amigas. “Mitsui’s worldwide experience in these areas will be invaluable.”

Construction of the first phase of Tres Amigas is scheduled to start this year, with early commercial operations expected to begin in 2015.

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Strong Connection Between Economy & Environment – Investors Taking Action

Many of the world’s leading executives and investors believe in a strong connection between the economy and the environment. Talk of a “political battle” between the two major focal areas is mere “nonsense,” says Mark Vachon, Vice President of GE’s Ecomagination program.

In a recent interview, Vachon shot down the “false dichotomy” that some are trying to present between attaining profits and respecting our planet.  “There’s this theory that you have to pick one: economics or environmental performance.  That’s nonsense.  Innovation is the way you can have both.”

Over $5 billion has been invested in renewable energy, efficiency and smart grid technologies as part of GE’s Ecomagination program.  By 2015, GE plans to double investments in the sector to $10 billion.  These investments have paid off handsomely, noted Vachon.  With $85 billion in revenue, GE’s cleantech investments have doubled the performance of the rest of its portfolio.

“Companies that don’t get this, really risk becoming irrelevant to the marketplace. Whether you believe it for climate change or just the markets that are developing, it is our responsibility as businesses to be responsible to the design  signal that the world is telling us.”

The trend is undeniable.  Investments in clean energy and related technologies are accelerating. In 2011, investments in clean energy trumped those in fossil fuels for the first time.  In total, $260 billion was funneled into the clean energy sector.  Since 2004, cumulative investment numbers over $1 trillion dollars.

Based on our current path, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts $400 billion will be invested annually in proven renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, solar thermal, wind energy and geothermal by 2020.  Many sophisticated investors view clean energy as one of the greatest wealth creation opportunities in history.

For more information on how we invest in clean energy, please visit us here.

 

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Clean Energy Could Add $155 Billion a Year to U.S. Economy: Google

The United States stands to reap significant economic gains from breakthroughs in clean energy, according to a new analysis from Google.  The internet search giant has been a strong supporter of renewable energy, with notable stakes in solar, smart grids and wind farms around the globe.

Google.org, the company’s philanthropic arm, says with dedicated focus to clean energy, grid infrastructure, energy storage, natural gas and electric vehicles, the U.S. could add $155 billion a year to the economy and create over 1.1 million jobs by 2030.  Adoption of new energy technologies and energy efficiency measures could result in 13% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

The report warns there is no time to waste.  Based on Google’s models, a five year delay in implementing a clean energy agenda could cost the U.S. economy up to $3.2 trillion in unrealized gains, and 1.4 net jobs.

Read Google’s analysis on its company blog here

 

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U.S. Smart Grid Could Yield $2 Trillion in Benefits: EPRI

Modernizing the United States’ electric system by implementing a “smart grid” could yield up to $2 trillion in benefits, according to a new assessment from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The EPRI conducted a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of smart grid implementation with initial efforts beginning in 2010 and expected deployment through 2030.  The investment required for new infrastructure, technologies and applications would likely run between $338 and $476 billion, but the EPRI expects associated benefits to be much higher, in the range of $1.3 to $2 trillion.

A more streamlined, efficient electricity grid would allow for more reliable delivery of electricity, reduced waste, improved security and better ability to incorporate energy from renewable sources like solar and wind.  With more information about energy usage and greater pricing choices, the smart grid could also bring cost savings for consumers.

The EPRI report is designed to be a resource for industry players and decision makers “first to help us appreciate just how far the state of the art has advanced, and second, to help the industry make prudent investment decisions going forward,” said Mark McGranaghan, EPRI VP of Power Delivery and Utilization.

Read the full article…

Download the EPRI Smart Grid Assessment here

 
 

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Smart Grid Deployment "Critical" for Secure Energy Future: IEA

“The widespread deployment of smart grids is critical for a secure, cost-effective and clean energy future,” says a new report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) yesterday.

In its Smart Grid Technology Roadmap, the IEA calls smart grids a “key enabling technology” which will allow for more wide-spread and streamlined adoption of new low carbon energy technologies, energy efficiency programs and electric vehicles.

“We need to see a much more aggressive investment in large-scale regional pilots in order to deploy smart grids at the scale they are needed,” said IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka. “Governments need to establish clear and consistent policies, regulations and plans for electricity systems that will allow innovative investment in smart grids.”

Read more…

The United States recently announced a groundbreaking project to connect the nation’s three major electricity grids.  The new plan, called the “Tres Amigas” Superstation project, will link up the three systems and allow for interconnectivity.  This will increase grid security and make it easier for renewable energy sources to come online.

COO David Stidham says this long-awaited project “wouldn’t have been possible just five years ago,” and is only possible thanks to advancements in networks, converters and grid software.  Tres Amigas is slated for completion by the summer of 2014. 

Read more…

 

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Global Electricity Demand to Boost Smart Grid Market Growth

According to a new report by Global Industry Analysts (GIA), increasing demand for electricity is projected to boost the market for global smart grid to $186.7 billion by 2015.

Smart grid software and infrastructure is becoming increasingly important as governments worldwide work to upgrade electricity distribution systems, which in the case of many industrialized nations, are aging poorly and becoming inefficient.  Likewise, the smart grid is helping to streamline the deployment of electricity from renewable energy technologies like solar and wind into the central power grid.

Right now, the United States is the world market leader in smart grid technology.  In the future, GIA also expects demand to grow for various smart grid service providers, including makers of software, hardware and communications equipment.

Read the full article…

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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EU Aims for 80% CO2 Reduction with New Renewables & Smart Grid

European Union countries aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; keeping within scientific recommendations to limit global temperature increases to 2°C.  Major new investment will be needed to achieve cuts on this scale, specifically in renewable power projects and electricity infrastructure upgrades.

However, despite these costs, a new report from three leading consulting firms predicts that the cost of electricity in Europe in 2050 would be no higher than it would under a “business as usual” plan with no carbon-reduction action taken.

The study, jointly published by McKinsey, European Climate Foundation and E3G, highlighted the following 3 points:

– Renewable power infrastructure is capital-intensive at the onset, yet over time costs less to run than do traditional power plants.

– Replacing outdated coal-fired power plants with new ones is actually more expensive that substituting wind or solar farms instead

– Smart grid investment continent-wide will provide major savings in energy efficiency, and help improve the reliability (and price) of renewables.

Read more here…

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2010 in Clean Energy, Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Investments, Solar, Wind

 

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