Tres Amigas SuperStation

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Tres Amigas SuperStation
Tres Amigas SuperStation is located in the United States
Tres Amigas SuperStation
Tres Amigas SuperStation
Official nameTres Amigas SuperStation
Coordinates34°24′N 103°05′W / 34.400°N 103.083°W / 34.400; -103.083Coordinates: 34°24′N 103°05′W / 34.400°N 103.083°W / 34.400; -103.083
Owner(s)Tres Amigas LLP
Power generation
Nameplate capacity30 GW

The Tres Amigas SuperStation is a planned project to unite North America’s two major power grids (the Eastern Interconnection and the Western Interconnection) and one minor grid (the Texas Interconnection), with the goal to enable faster adoption of renewable energy and increase the reliability of the U.S. grid.[1] The project will use superconducting wires from Massachusetts-based American Superconductor Corp for electrical distribution and to interconvert alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) power.

Proposed by Tres Amigas, LLC in 2009, the project is in the process of finalizing funding. Permits and construction contracts are in place.[2] CEO Phillip G. Harris is the former CEO of PJM Interconnection, an East Coast regional transmission organization (RTO).


The Tres Amigas SuperStation project proposes to tie the East Coast, West Coast and Texas grids together via three 5 GW superconductive high-voltage direct current power transmission lines,[3] which permit a controlled flow of energy while also functionally isolating the independent AC frequencies of each side. Isolation is important because while all three grids have a nominal frequency of 60 Hz, their true frequencies at any given time can fluctuate by a significant margin (± 0.1 Hz), rendering the synchronization of the grids essentially impossible and leaving them out-of-phase from one another. With DC-links, however, the design can be scaled to 30 GW.[4] Tres Amigas would use high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire[1] supplied by American Superconductor Corp.

The Tres Amigas SuperStation plans to act as a power market hub, enabling the buying and selling of electricity among three of North America's largest interconnections[5] above the amount available today. The Texas Interconnection has 5 DC ties to the other grids, totaling 1,100 MW.[4]

The project will provide solar, wind and other renewable developers with the transmission infrastructure needed to transport clean electricity to population centers.[6]


500 kV (1000 kV pole-to-pole) High-voltage direct current transmission tower along the Pacific DC Intertie.
The two major and three minor NERC Interconnections, and the nine NERC Regional Reliability Councils.

The Tres Amigas super station will be located on a 22-square-mile (57 km2) state plot of land near Clovis, New Mexico,[7] leased for 99 years at $9 million per year.[8]


Early estimates of the cost put the project budget at around $1 billion,[7] and later at $2 billion.[9]

Project schedule and status[edit]

Proposed in 2009.[10] In 2011, Tres Amigas SuperStation (TAS) awarded Alstom Grid a €150m (£132.4m) contract for a 750MW, 345kV DC converter scheme [11] for a VSC connecting PNM and Xcel Energy in 2014.[4][9] Construction was planned to begin in Summer 2012.[4][9][12]

President Ben Shelly of the Navajo Nation has expressed interest in investing $12 million in the project.[13]

In 2010, Scandia Wind Southwest LLC proposed to build an initial 2,250 megawatts of wind power in the Texas Panhandle, with a potential capacity of 10,000 MW.[14] Tres Amigas could distribute this power, but it met some opposition.[14]

Phase 1, the connection of East Coast and West Coast grids, could cost $400 million, and all 3 phases could then cost $1.2 billion.[15]

In 2013, two key announcements confirmed the ongoing progress of the project, and an expected commercial load date of 2016.[16]

The company will move its headquarters to downtown Albuquerque, in the former Petroleum Club building.

In 2015, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) cancelled an agreement with the project.[17]

In February 2017, it was announced that the project was still progressing but would be significantly scaled back from the previous full project estimate of $1.5 billion to $200 million. The project is also subject to possible relocation due to reduced land needs.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Superconductors to Wire a Smarter Grid, Technology Review, 2009-11-12, accessed 2010-11-20.
  2. ^ Energy Tres Amigas looking for $500 M Sep 2013
  3. ^ High-Temp Superconductors To Connect Power Grids
  4. ^ a b c d "US grids to become ‘three friends’" GreenBang, 4 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  5. ^ The Need
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ a b Oct 2009 The Tres Amigas Project: America's Renewable Energy Hub?
  8. ^ Hart, Kathleen. "Senate, House energy leaders setting priorities for 112th Congress" Archived 16 April 2013 at WYOMING INFRASTRUCTURE AUTHORITY, 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2012. Quote: "Tres Amigas will pay the state over $9 million a year"
  9. ^ a b c Galbraith, Kate. "Texas' Isolated Electric Grid Could Add Outside Ties" The Texas Tribune, 30 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  10. ^ US unveils plans for giant renewable energy hub Oct 2009
  11. ^ "Alstom Grid wins contract for Tres Amigas' SuperStation" The Engineer (UK magazine), 26 April 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  12. ^ Robinson-Avila, Kevin. "Huge Tres Amigas project to break ground this summer" New Mexico Business Weekly, 9 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  13. ^ "Navajo Nation to Invest in Electric Grid Interconnection Project" Archived 17 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Indian Country Today, 8 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  14. ^ a b Proposal to Link the Nation's Grid Sparks a Debate Feb 2010
  15. ^ Welch, Kevin. "Amarillo hopes to be electricity project center" Amarillo Globe-News, 21 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  16. ^ Tres Amigas Recent Media Articles Retrieved 18 August 2013
  17. ^ Tres Amigas: Cancelled SPP Agreement ‘Not Significant’ 2015
  18. ^ Montoya Bryan, Susan (Feb 15, 2017). "New Mexico Grid Linkup Plan Scaled Back to $200M Project". US News. Archived from the original on 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2017-05-17.

External links[edit]

External image
Official bronze sculpture KKathy Larsen
Transmission as art, New Mexico-style Platts 11 August 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2012