Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tres Amigas Superconducting DC Super-Hub Under Study

Tres Amigas claims its super hub and storage facility would be able to move substantial amounts of power among the three systems. The facility will use Xtreme Power’s grid storage and management technology in an attempt to decrease brown-outs by offering more reliability and stability across the U.S., and enable renewable-energy sources like wind and solar to be better utilized.

Tres Amigas CEO Phil Harris said in part from his statement, “The role of the SuperStation is multi-faceted, but one of the most critical aspects will be ensuring that the input from renewable energy sources is incorporated smoothly into the span of the three grids, while providing reliable, flexible storage.” Harris is the former head of PJM Interconnection, one of the largest grid operators in the U.S. _BrianWestenhaus
The three super-sections of the US power grid will be interconnected by the Tres Amigas' superstation interconnect, as pictured above. The interconnect will utilise 5GW superconducting DC cables and high voltage DC power electronics, which will help prevent cascading failures from passing between the separate super-sections of the national grid.
Tres Amigas got approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in March of 2010 to offer transmission services at negotiated rates across the three main arteries of the U.S. electrical grid. The agency is now considering allowing it to build and connect the mega-hub based in Clovis, N.M. With the approval for services in hand, the likelihood that physically offering the service is quite high. For many, there is a sense of relief and for others alarm as one company has the handle on the rationalization of the grid. But the company isn’t named Enron.

...The major new technology going to work is using American Superconductor’s direct current superconductor power cables buried underground that will be powered by the company’s high-temperature superconductor wire and high-powered voltage-source AC/DC power converters. American Superconductor has said, obviously, that using underground superconductor cables greatly reduces the loss of energy during transmission compared to existing overhead power lines. Somewhere the calculation of the energy loss from resistance is more than the power needed to run the superconductor system.

The new station will answer some of the issues of using wind power from the Midwest and solar in the southwest. Having a fully interconnected national grid can bring much of the renewable energy potential into more complete utilization. The lowest cost producers get to stay up much longer because the grid covers all four time zones. Those four hours are a huge opportunity. Early in the day the low cost west excess power can go east and late in the day low cost east production can flow west. More complete base utilization should take some pressure off consumers if the savings pass through without being pocketed along the way. _NewEnergyandFuel

The high voltage DC super-hub will act as a central filter for significant power fluctuations or dirty power, which can cause problems throughout the network if not cleaned up. That is in addition to its role as a giant load leveler across the four time zones of the national grid, as described in Brian's article above.



Blogger bruce said...

My immediate reaction: New Mexico scores big government grant, boondoggle alternative energy charade and never ending funding to prevent hacked transmission vulnerabilities. net result, ten fold increase in power costs, no net increase in usable power generated.

5:17 PM  

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