Tres Amigas to base in Albuquerque

Tres Amigas has selected Albuquerque for its operations center and Rio Rancho for its backup center.

New Mexico cities in the running included Clovis, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Belen. About 100 jobs were at stake.

Clovis officials learned of the decision Thursday morning.

Clovis Mayor David Lansford thinks Tres Amigas made a decision that is in the best interest of the company and says he plans to continue to work with them.

"We congratulate Albuquerque for getting that operation and those jobs, but it won't change the fact that we're going to continue to dedicate our resources and energy to help them bring about the full development of their project in eastern New Mexico," Lansford said.

The headquarters will include the executive offices, a control room that will remotely control the $1.5 billion Curry County-based superstation and will also host a trading floor for electricity. By law, a backup station would be located at least 10 miles away from the control center.

Adrienne Smith, spokeswoman for Tres Amigas, said the decision was made by its board of directors based on a set of criteria that reflected the needs for their headquarters.

"Albuquerque met a great majority of that criteria," Smith said. "Each city had strengths, but ultimately it came down to which city met that criteria best."

Smith cited strict electrical requirements and access to a major airport as examples of their criteria.

Chase Gentry, executive director of the Clovis Industrial Development Corp., said city officials knew air service was one of the determining factors in the decision.

"We proposed an executive shuttle service to the group during the interim to move visitors from Lubbock and Amarillo to Clovis until jet service could be recruited from Clovis to (Dallas-Fort Worth) or another hub destination," Gentry wrote in an email.

Tres Amigas plans for a July groundbreaking of the superstation, which will act as a power hub for the Eastern, Western and Texas interconnections — the three largest grids in the nation. Joining the grids on 14,000 acres of Curry County land 11 miles northeast of Clovis would allow electricity producers to transfer their product more easily throughout the country. The focus is renewable energy, where states with the most potential for wind and solar energy don't have the population to use it.

Smith said Tres Amigas has received a lot of support from Clovis and surrounding areas and is excited to work with the city in the future.

"Clovis put together a fantastic proposal and we look forward to working with the mayor," Smith said.

Gentry said the project will bring an estimated $1.2 billion in construction in phase I and an estimated 300 construction jobs over 24 to 36 months and somewhere between 30 to 65 permanent jobs to Clovis in the first phase.

He said the company has not submitted any formal economic development applications.

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