A new idea for a large substation based in Clovis, New Mexico has the potential to solve one of the biggest hurdles to clean energy growth: transmission. The SuperStation, as its being called, would link the three largest grids – the east, west and Texas – allowing renewable energy producers to sell electricity across the country instead of just within their own grid.
The basic setup of the SuperStation would be a huge substation using superconducting cables to transmit electricity. The cables would carry 5 GW of electricity to and from the substation where it would be converted from AC from the grids to DC and then back to AC on its way back out. The cables are chilled to 300 degrees below zero which lets them carry more electricity, more cheaply. Tres Amigas, the company that hopes to build the project, would charge a fee for the SuperStation’s use.
As more renewable energy projects are planned and built, it’s infrastructure like this that will ultimately allow that clean electricity to make it into our homes. This project is expected to encounter lots of red tape because of the heavy regulation of power transmission, and it comes with a $1 billion price tag, so, for now, we can only hope it makes it.