Tres Amigas officials: Company negotiating purchase agreements

CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Frank Barber updates progress Thursday of the proposed Tres Amigas elecrtic power superstation to be built near Clovis. Barber and other Tres Amigas officials say the power station would bring almost 14,000 jobs and $2.6 billion to the region.

CNJ staff

While conducting environmental studies, Tres Amigas is also beginning negotiations with potential customers.

During a presentation Thursday at Clovis’ Rotary Club meeting, Senior Advisor Frank Barber said his company is working to build agreements with power entities to connect to the proposed superstation.

Barber described it as an “export facility” that would act as a connection hub for major power grids nationwide.

Companies will have to bring their own transmission lines to the facility and build AC power substations around the Tres Amigas facility, he said, which is the reason for the plant being placed in a 22-mile area of land.

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.

Barber 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.

Last month, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission granted Tres Amigas’ request to charge market rates to customers.

“We don’t have captive customers like the utility companies have,” he said, explaining the ruling will allow his company to come up with, “who should pay and how much should they pay.”

“The energy hub will be like a stock market where you go to buy and sell,” he said.

Customers will connect from different distances and will have different needs, he said, making the flexibility important.

Barber said the company intends to reinvest profits in equipment and developments.

Agreements with power providers are expected to be finished by the end of the third quarter, this year, he said.

Barber said building the facility is only a small part of what needs to take place. It can be built fairly quickly, he said, noting transmission lines are the big issue.

“We are not the critical milestone in the development. We can build (our superstation) quicker than transmission lines (can be built),” he said,

The superstation is projected to be completed and operational by 2014 or 2015, he said.