T&D World Magazine

CH2M HILL Selected to Manage Tres Amigas SuperStation Construction Services

Tres Amigas, LLC, a merchant transmission company, and CH2M HILL, a global full-service consulting, design, construction, and operations firm, announced that CH2M HILL has received a contract to provide program management services for building the Tres Amigas SuperStation in Clovis, New Mexico. Once completed, the SuperStation will tie together America’s three power grids for the first time ever.

Construction of the SuperStation is projected to commence in 2012 and be completed in 2014. Under the terms of the contract, CH2M HILL will provide overall program management services and logistical support to ensure that the project remains on schedule.

CH2M HILL is providing similar services for other ambitious, high-profile projects such as serving as the Delivery Partner for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games being hosted in London, England, the expansion of the Panama Canal, and Masdar City, a multi-billion-dollar project taking place outside of Abu Dhabi’s downtown that aims to be one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments powered by renewable energy.

“CH2M HILL is pleased to assist Tres Amigas, LLC with this landmark project,” says Don Zabilansky, president of CH2M HILL’s Power Group. “The Tres Amigas SuperStation will enable cross-regional marketing of clean electricity, enhance power grid reliability and security, and provide new opportunities for renewable energy producers. This strategic infrastructure program will transform the way electricity is delivered to customers across the United States utilizing the most advanced technology.”

Phil Harris, the former CEO of the world's largest transmission balancing area (PJM Interconnection) and CEO and founder of Tres Amigas, LLC, said, “The Tres Amigas SuperStation will offer multiple benefits to power consumers and energy producers across North America, including savings projected in the hundreds of millions of dollars due to the more economic dispatch of electric power. Tres Amigas will also increase the value of several large transmission projects planned for the Southwest and will support the expansion of a reliable national corridor system. Tres Amigas, LLC is committed to completing the SuperStation in its projected timeline, and CH2M HILL has the expertise and experience needed to ensure that happens. We’re pleased that this leading firm will provide Tres Amigas with planning, organization and logistical support throughout the construction of the project.”

The Tres Amigas SuperStation

The SuperStation project site in Clovis, New Mexico is at the intersection of the nation’s three grids -- the Eastern Interconnection, Western Interconnection and the Texas Interconnection. At the heart of the project are HVDC (high voltage DC) superconductor cables, which are, in essence, superconductor electricity “pipelines.” These pipelines combine conventional underground pipeline construction techniques with two highly complementary electric power technologies: HVDC superconductor power transmission cables and multi-terminal (voltage-source) AC/DC power converters. The result is a high-capacity, expandable electric transmission “pipeline” that is underground, easy to site and access, highly efficient and controllable, offers greater security and avoids complex cost allocation issues for interstate transmission.

The SuperStation will serve as a market hub and balancing authority, enabling the economic transfer of thousands of megawatts of power among the three interconnections. Similar to highway rotaries used for traffic flow control, multiple power transmission lines from each of the three interconnections will feed power into and out of the SuperStation through multiple alternating current (AC)/direct current (DC) converters, each connected by DC superconductor cables. Tres Amigas, which will be a balancing authority, will help ensure the efficient and reliable flow of power from multiple conventional and renewable generation sources in all three power grids to customers across a wide area of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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