A diverse group of companies whose goal is to lead the way to U.S. energy independence recently announced the formation of the Southwest Energy Alliance, a nonprofit trade association that will advocate for the coordinated development of clean energy projects in the Southwest United States. By coordinating development of strategic power transmission assets, power storage, clean backup generation, demand response, and energy dispatch in the vicinity of vast renewable energy resources, members of the alliance will help the country achieve energy independence and jump-start economic revitalization in the Southwest.

The Southwest Energy Alliance will focus on cost-effective development of clean and abundant energy resources It will showcase how, by coordinating the deployment of wind, solar, and the cleanest fossil-fueled power generation projects with strategically situated power transmission, storage and delivery dispatch technology, the combined efforts will become much more efficient and cost-effective than would be the case with piecemeal deployment.

The Alliance is unique because it brings together segments of the energy industry that traditionally have not worked together closely. Charter members of the alliance include leading energy industry market participants involved in developing cutting-edge projects, including:

  • Alstom Grid
  • American Superconductor Corp.
  • Burns & McDonnell
  • CH2M Hill, Inc.
  • Foundation Fuel, LLC
  • Hilliard Energy, LTD
  • Tri Global Energy
  • Tres Amigas LLC
  • Viridity Energy Inc.
  • Wilson & Co., Inc., Engineers & Architects
  • ZGlobal Inc., Engineering and Energy Solutions

Their efforts have been endorsed by state, local and federal political leaders.

Specifically, alliance member companies plan to tie together wind and utility-scale solar power plants as well as clean, gas-fired generation, gas pipelines, and energy storage projects using advanced battery, superconductor power cable, HVDC converter, and other technologies. Many are involved with the Tres Amigas Project in New Mexico, which focuses on interconnecting the country's three primary electric transmission grids to enable the faster adoption of renewable energy and increase the reliability of the U.S. grid.

Alliance members are also working with other electric utilities and transmission developers engaged in building the new power transmission resources that will be required to transport clean energy to customers across the United State. While alliance members are involved in projects centered in the Southwest United States, the coordination and development of these technologies and assets will benefit consumers across the nation.

“The Southwest Energy Alliance will be a catalyst for change in the way clean energy is developed and delivered to consumers,” says Alliance President, Peter Esposito. "Our nation's abundant wind and solar resources are vastly underutilized. Tying renewable, clean fossil fuel, storage and delivery dispatch resources together and delivering them into all three of the U.S. regional electrical grids will unleash the vast, untapped wind and solar energy resources available in the Southwest United States and make these clean and renewable resources an engine for environmentally responsible economic growth for years to come. These projects can set an example that can be implemented elsewhere in the United States, charting a clear course for U.S. energy independence, pollution reduction, and economic revitalization. Best of all, the jobs that will be created by these projects will be the result of private funding.”

Members of the alliance will host a reception on January 27 in Houston to introduce the alliance and its founding members and to preview its 2011 agenda.