FERC is close to approving the Tres Amigas high-voltage interconnection hub project in Clovis, New Mexico, designed to be the first step in a renewable energy transmission superhighway.
But five groups are filing against the project. The largest, Occidental Petroleum; is asking FERC to dump the project.
Occidental Petroleum’s main argument is that it would put local power companies selling higher-priced power to consumers at a disadvantage. They couldn’t compete with marketers buying at lower prices and routing their power through Tres Amigas.
Negotiable rates would make it possible for Tres Amigas to sell access to its transmission so cheap renewable electricity from rural areas like the windy Dakotas or Wyoming could be sent to other areas of the country where prices are higher.
Tres Amigas CEO Phil Harris said it wasn’t surprising that “the fourth largest oil and gas company in the U.S. does not want renewable energy developed. The positive filings far outweigh the negative”.
The fossil energy giant claims Tres Amigas is anti-competitive because it is unique. Indeed, it is the first of its kind.
Bringing renewable energy to market requires the Tres Amigas transmission super hub, like bringing oil from Alaska required the building of a pipeline. Back in the late 19th century, the first oil pipeline was also, no doubt, unique.
There have been 56 filings in favor of Tres Amigas and only five against it. In some parts of the US, oil is used for heating homes, so renewable electricity would be competing with oil in those markets. In the long run, electricity to run electric cars would compete with oil, too.
Image: Texas Finn
Source: Portales Tribune
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