By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer
Wednesday’s announcement of partnership between Viridity Energy Inc. and Tres Amigas is just one more step in bringing forward the first power superstation to connect the nation’s power grids.
Viridity will supply the software and network operating system to make it possible for Tres Amigas to sell its transmission services, said Frank Barbera, Tres Amigas’ director of reliability assurance.
The Viridity system will also create options for energy storage, bilateral contracts and optimization of energy, he said.
“We made a choice to bring them on board right now so we can communicate better with any entity that wants to use Tres Amigas,” he said.
Barbera said while the project is in the stage of environmental studies, negotiations are taking place with companies and power entities interested in connecting to the proposed superstation.
Tres Amigas hopes to break ground in about a year, with the facility operational between 2014 and 2015, he said.
Announced in October, officials said the project will be placed on public trust land — located northeast of Clovis, south of Curry Road 19 and west of N.M. 108 — and will create the nation’s first renewable energy trading hub using the latest power grid technologies, including DC superconductor power cables, HVDC voltage source converters and energy storage systems.
Barbera and other company officials say the addition of the power station is expected to bring almost 14,000 jobs and $2.6 billion to the community over a six-year construction phase. They also say the completed project will provide a long-term benefit of 1,400 jobs and $130 million annually to local economies.
“There’s a concentration. Most of the benefit is going to come into that area,” Barbera said.
Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., said project is tracking nicely and is becoming a selling point for other energy projects looking at the area.
Gentry said his agency is working to provide support for the project and encourage new projects as well.
“There’s a lot of buzz about it in the industry,” he said. “There seems like there’s a lot of focus on this project … We’re promoting that as a good carrot to say, ‘Hey, if you have a solar project or a wind project, Curry County is the place to be.’”