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Solar Energy power-lines

Published on October 15th, 2009 | by Zachary Shahan

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Connecting the US from Coast to Coast

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October 15th, 2009 by Zachary Shahan
 

A big factor limiting solar and wind power growth across the US is the current transmission network. It is disconnected. A new project proposed by Tres Amigas LLC in New Mexico would link the nation’s main power grids and, therefore, give hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of households links to already existing renewable energy sources.

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New Mexico Public Lands Commissioner Patrick Lyons states: “One of the biggest constraints on wind and solar power growth is the reduced capacity of the transmission grid to deliver energy to customers. This new transmission infrastructure will allow half of the United States to access vast wind and solar energy resources.”

In addition to the reason above, this project is a particular boost for renewable energy because there are many renewable energy facilities located far from population centers and not connected to grids where their energy could be used. This project would look to connect many of these to grids where renewable energy sources are lacking.

Over the next couple of years, Tres Amigas will be performing analyses to try to prepare for such a project. After that, they hope to build a “Superstation” near Clovis, New Mexico.

Other efforts to try to improve the availability of renewable energy through current power grids is by developing “smart grid” technologies. But this Tres Amigas project is a separate factor in that it would connect more grids together rather than upgrading grid technologies.

Solving the issues of our current grid is an intricate topic (see: US Must Socialize Grid to Add Renewable Energy, Study Finds) but this step by Tres Amigas could be exactly what is needed to move us forward on this.

Other leading countries have fully connected their grids in recent years, and in a year or less! We should be able to connect ours eventually as well, shouldn’t we?

Keep an eye out for this project in the coming years. Hopefully, it will bring renewable energy to millions of households in the near future.

via coolerplanet

Image Credit 1: pfala via flickr under a Creative Commons license

Image Credit 2: maxw via flickr under a Creative Commons license

Image Credit 3: pfala via flickr under a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Charles Vismeg

    solarweasel is correct and that is the reason for not directly utilizing HVAC crosscountry connect, and so has been the idea of HVDC introduced because a united integration of power distribution and its management (“smartgrid” being an example)is desirable.

  • Charles Vismeg

    solarweasel is correct and that is the reason for not directly utilizing HVAC crosscountry connect, and so has been the idea of HVDC introduced because a united integration of power distribution and its management (“smartgrid” being an example)is desirable.

  • solarweasel

    there is a reason we don’t transmit power from coast to coast: transmission loss.

    the answer is not what tres amigas is trying to do, it’s integrating localized power generation that is close to the consumer.

  • solarweasel

    there is a reason we don’t transmit power from coast to coast: transmission loss.

    the answer is not what tres amigas is trying to do, it’s integrating localized power generation that is close to the consumer.

  • MD

    Currently in South America there is SIEPAC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIEPAC

    Texas likes being their own Island, they were not really affected during the blackout a few years back.

    Still it would be nice if we could get the transmission capacity to where it needs to be.

  • MD

    Currently in South America there is SIEPAC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIEPAC

    Texas likes being their own Island, they were not really affected during the blackout a few years back.

    Still it would be nice if we could get the transmission capacity to where it needs to be.

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