Tres Amigas in the News

Michael Giberson

Tres Amigas, as seen by their hometown newspaper The Santa Fe New Mexican,Supersized power hub in southeastern N.M. to link 3 major U.S. grids“:

Phil Harris is masterminding an electricity superhighway — a facility near Clovis that will connect the nation’s three main power grids for the first time.

The Tres Amigas Superstation will link the Western Interconnection, Eastern Interconnection and Texas Interconnection at a point in southeastern New Mexico. It also will provide the transmission capacity that power managers say is needed to handle the renewable energy expected from new solar and wind sources.

The hub will allow energy to flow between the grids via superconductor cables in underground pipelines and AC/DC converters….

One of the problems is the current system for delivering power across the country is complex and separated by region. The lack of connection limits competition in power markets, Harris said. “In the U.S., no one is in charge. We have over 4,000 entities involved with power.”

Those entities include investor-owned utilities such as Public Service Company of New Mexico, 800 municipal power companies, 900 electric cooperatives, renewable energy generators and power traders such as Goldman Sachs. Regulations vary by group. So do power interconnections.

“There’s no way you can get a single decision about what is best for America,” Harris said.

“People are paying more (for electricity) than they should because it is a constrained market,” he added.

Tres Amigas will make the power market more competitive. Harris is banking on it, to the tune of investing $1 million of his own money in the project, he said.

5 thoughts on “Tres Amigas in the News

  1. “There’s no way you can get a single decision about what is best for America,” Harris said.

    He says this like it’s a bad thing. What if that single decision is a mistake?

  2. Used car salesman.

    Come on in, anchor tenant spots are going fast!

    Sold “as is” (or “as dreamt”). No warranty expressed or implied. NERC tagging not included. Buyer assumes all risk of inefficient seam management.

  3. Re: “now way you can get a single decision”

    I’m with you, Mike. While there are costs associated with the way the industry is divided into bits (inter-utility commerce is far from free flowing), in a world in which someone could make “a single decision about what is best for America,” I suspect we’d see much greater losses.

    Re: “risk of inefficient seam management”

    Inefficient seam management is about the least likely concern. Current flows between interconnections are essentially zero, and almost any non-zero flow that a market participant schedules is likely to be an improvement.

    Sure, this design may not be the best possible, but private investors – not captive ratepayers – are at risk for the project so there is not much downside to letting the project go forward.

  4. Prediction: There will be some of that “smart grid” public money going to this project.

  5. Has there ever been a single decision ever about what was best for America? Really? ‘Cause I can think of many that were just really bad ideas and the legislative process washed them out.

    Also, people are paying more for electricity because the fuels use act seriously lowered the price of natural gas while building up huge stockpiles of it, and once they were released the 90s seemed like a really good time to pay low electric bills because of all this cheap gas.

    Now that we’re approaching something like normal, people are beginning to pay what the market will bear for electricity and energy. And then we get other things like consumers voluntarily cutting back on usage; industries finding innovative ways to trim energy costs; new technologies emerging to meet the demand of consumers who want the lower rates again.

    And please for the love of all that’s holy, throw some money at the smart grid.

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