Burns & McDonnell has been selected to provide engineering design and development support services for the Tres Amigas SuperStation, a first-of-its-kind power transmission hub that will link America’s three primary electric transmission grids – the Eastern (Southwest Power Pool), Western (Western Electricity Coordinating Council) and Texas (Electric Reliability Council Of Texas) Interconnections. The project, to be located in Clovis, New Mexico near the Texas/New Mexico border, will enhance the reliability of the country’s electricity network and facilitate the efficient transfer of clean energy between regions.

Burns & McDonnell will immediately begin conceptual engineering design and system studies necessary for transmission interconnection. Construction is expected to commence in 2012 and the SuperStation is scheduled to begin commercial operations by 2014.

The Tres Amigas SuperStation will incorporate a network of underground high voltage direct current (HVDC) superconductor cables and AC/DC converters capable of transmitting energy and balancing power loads between the three grids. It would be located on a 22-square-mile site in Clovis and would initially have capacity to transmit up to 5 gigawatts (GW) of power.

When operational, the SuperStation will serve to improve power reliability and solve voltage and stability problems caused by the intermittent generation of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. It will have significant reactive power capability that can be controlled at each interconnection, improving stability, transfer capability and transmission efficiency.