Tres Amigas Transmission Superstation Project
The Tres Amigas Superstation is designed to connect three North American grids: the western interconnection, the eastern interconnection, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Construction on the superstation is slated to begin in 2012, expected to be operational in 2015. The project will be located on 22.5 square miles leased from the State of New Mexico in Clovis, near the Texas border.
Important characteristics of Tres Amigas
- Technological Innovation
- Voltage Source Converters and High-Voltage Direct Current: Tres Amigas will receive alternating current from all three grids, which are not synchronized. Using voltage source converters, the power will be converted to high-voltage direct current at the substation, and then converted back to alternating current for use on the grid. This will permit a controlled flow of energy while isolating the independent AC frequencies of each side.
- Superconducting cables: Within the superstation, Tres Amigas will use superconducting cables that are able to carry as many as 5 gigawatts of power with 100 percent efficiency. These cables are smaller and require smaller rights-of-way than older cables.
- Undergrounding: The cables will be placed underground in three-foot pipelines similar to those used in the oil and natural gas industries.
- Power storage: Each of the three terminals will be equipped with energy storage batteries, which will enhance the reliability of the system, while allowing Tres Amigas to store some electricity and resell it.
- Renewable energy:
- Tres Amigas could be a key component in renewable energy transmission. It will be located near areas rich in renewable resources; Eastern New Mexico and the panhandle of Texas. Tres Amigas would allow renewable energy from these locations to be transmitted nationwide.
- Tres Amigas could also help address intermittency issues associated with renewable energy, allow power to be backed up by a wider variety of sources and supplemented with stored power.
- Tres Amigas Transmission Superstation Project Website
- "No More Powerlines?", Christian Science Monitor. Article explaining the technology and potential impact of Tres Amigas.
Organization: Tres Amigas, LLC
Location: New Mexico
Planning Phase: Planning (undergrounding, HVDC)
Last Updated: July 16, 2012