Tres Amigas SuperStation
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. 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.
|Tres Amigas SuperStation|
Tres Amigas SuperStation
|Official name||Tres Amigas SuperStation|
|Owner(s)||Tres Amigas LLP|
|Nameplate capacity||30 GW|
Proposed by Tres Amigas, LLC in 2009, the project is in the process of finalizing funding. Permits and construction contracts are in place. 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, 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. Tres Amigas would use high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire 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 above the amount available today. The Texas Interconnection has 5 DC ties to the other grids, totaling 1,100 MW.
Project schedule and status
Proposed in 2009. In 2011, Tres Amigas SuperStation (TAS) awarded Alstom Grid a €150m (£132.4m) contract for a 750MW, 345kV DC converter scheme for a VSC connecting PNM and Xcel Energy in 2014. Construction was planned to begin in Summer 2012.
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. Tres Amigas could distribute this power, but it met some opposition.
In 2015, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) cancelled an agreement with the project.
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.
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