Tres Amigas LLC, the U.S.-based national grid interconnection project known as the Tres Amigas SuperStation, says that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., a global trading, information technology and industrial infrastructure services company, has agreed to invest $12 million in Tres Amigas. In exchange, Mitsui will obtain an equity position and actively participate.
The SuperStation project represents a high-capacity renewable energy hub (although trading of conventional sources of electricity will also be accommodated). This first-of-its-kind power transmission hub is designed to interconnect America's three primary electricity grids, the Eastern (Southwest Power Pool), Western (Western Electricity Coordinating Council) and Texas (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) networks by utilizing information technology, Tres Amigas says.
Coordinated via market-based dispatch through the Tres Amigas SuperStation, the goal is to create firm and reliable renewable power from intermittent renewable sources such as solar and wind. Most significantly, the new strategy will allow customers to purchase a reliable portfolio of power with the largest possible component of solar and wind power, the company explains.
Engineering design for Phase I is well under way, with construction scheduled to commence in 2012 and Phase I commercial operations scheduled for 2015. The initial power transfer capacity will be 750 MW between the Western and Eastern grids.