The five-year contract will see the consortium managing over $9 billion worth of assets in a power system equivalent in size to the French power grid.
The state-owned ESB will have to invest about $150-200 million in the scheme that will produce an annual revenue of approximately $150 million over the five years.
About 250 jobs will be created. Most are expected to be American, but there will be Irish managers.
It will involve managing a system with over 45,000 miles of transmission lines and 73,000MW of power capacity.
In comparison, the ESB network in Ireland involves about 2,500 miles of network and 4,500MW of power capacity.
The consortium involves ESB International and ESB National Grid, shortly to become EirGrid, together with their sub-contracting partner the management consultancy company Accenture.
The consortium is preferred bidder to become Independent System Administrator for the SeTrans Regional Transmission Organisation against stiff competition from 10 competitors.
“It is a huge vote of confidence for ESB and Eirgrid to have been selected as preferred bidder and it will generate valuable revenues over the next five years,” ESB chief executive Padraig McManus said.
“The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is strongly promoting the establishment of RTOs to promote competitiveness in the electricity markets. The SeTrans RTO is the first to select an independent entity from an open international competition.
“I have already put on record that as a company we see our international policy as key to company expansion and profitability — this contract is testimony to that.”
McManus said the contract involved a much larger system than the ESB’s own operation in Ireland.
“You are looking at something of the order of the system in France. That would equate to what we are looking at in the U.S.,” he said.
A similar contract the company won in Alberta, Canada, also involved a larger system than Ireland’s and it had been “a springboard” to compete for the U.S. contract.
The selection of the ESB consortium was made by the Transmission Owners of SeTrans, one of the regional transmission organisations in the U.S.
RTO are being established in America to promote competition and trading in electricity. The SeTrans RTO development process was proposed by 10 utilities in the southeast U.S.
Companies from the U.S., Scandinavia and New Zealand were among those bidding for the contract.
ESBI is the consultancy and engineering subsidiary of the ESB. More than two-thirds of the 850 staff have professional qualifications and it has a turnover exceeding euro 127 million a year.
It is currently working on projects in Ireland, Syria, Bahrain, Spain, Nigeria, Britain and Vietnam.