Q&A: Sapient Global Markets and Tres Amigas partner on HVDC software solutions

Sapient Global Markets and Tres Amigas partner on HVDC software solutions Sapient Global Markets, a global services company for capital and commodity markets, and Tres Amigas, which utilizes advanced technologies to connect three U.S. electricity grids, are partnering to develop software solutions for modern high voltage direct current (HVDC) systems.

Specifically, Sapient Global Markets offers advisory, technology, analytic and process services as well as methodologies in program management, technology development and process outsourcing. Tres Amigas, is developing a one-of-a-kind facility that will control, transfer and balance power across multiple electric grids in real time, aimed at reducing economic inefficiencies that can plague current power grids. The project represents the first dynamic three-way interconnection of alternating current grids over HVDC system using the Voltage Source Converter technology.

Phillip Harris, president and CEO of Tres Amigas, said the market is currently lacking the multi-terminal HVDC software solutions being developed by his company and Sapient Global Markets. However, this software could not only enhance efficiencies, but also optimize usage of modern HVDC infrastructure.

"We are thrilled about what the partnership means for the industry and look forward to working with potential customers in building a world-class product offering.," said Harris.

Chip Register, head of Sapient Global Markets, also said as global energy markets evolve to adequately respond to increasing demands, advanced technologies like the software being developed are needed.

"The eyes of the entire global energy industry will be on us," Register said. "This is part of the first act of the Centennial Moment and we are very proud to be leading such an early initiative with our partners at [Tres Amigas]."

The two leaders of the companies in the partnership answered some additional questions about the project and the product.

Question: What made Tres Amigas decide to collaborate with Sapient Global Markets to develop software solutions for modern HVDC systems?

Phillip Harris: Tres Amigas has the unique advantage of not being burdened by legacy systems, deploying the latest available electrical technology and being in a position to create a template for what is needed in all major markets around the world. It chose to partner with Sapient Global Markets because of the company's deep expertise in utilizing technology to build market solutions, their world-class software development platform and knowledge leadership in the commodity and energy markets.

Chip Register: Tres Amigas is a perfect example of our theme of the Centennial Moment and how technological innovation will continue disrupting and reordering the energy economy. Incorporated in May 2009, Tres Amigas is planning a new power SuperStation connecting the three asynchronous power grids in the U.S. for the first time. This landmark hub, located in Curry County, New Mexico, gives the opportunity for power producers to transmit their products (including wind and solar energies) throughout the country and increase the stability of the three grids. The Tres Amigas SuperStation will employ the latest developments in power grid technologies, including voltage source converters, batteries and energy systems. The groundbreaking technology to be co-developed by Sapient Global Markets and Tres Amigas will help drive massive new market efficiencies and greater connectivity between these grids. Further, while these new solutions and software will help North American markets move to a more optimized position, we plan ultimately to assist all global utilities in taking advantage of the latest high voltage direct current infrastructure in their home-regions.

Q: How will your software solutions differ from other similar products available today?

PH: The software solutions we are developing will significantly improve on the basic functionalities available today and create essentially the first true multi-terminal software solution for integrated AC/DC (alternating current/direct current) grids. Furthermore, customers will be able to see the software solution in-operation firsthand directly at the Tres Amigas Superstation.

CR: Currently there are no software products to perform certain functionalities required to support multi-terminal AC/DC grids. On the one hand, it's a great challenge to build something with no prior example of success, but it's also very exciting to be able to develop something from the drawing board and create optimal efficiencies from the ground up. And again, our hope is that Tres Amigas will lead the market and provide an example that can be instituted in other geographies.

Q: What is the goal of this partnership?

PH: The goal of the partnership is for Tres Amigas Technologies, utilizing Sapient Global Markets' resources, to build state-of-the-art, robust solutions that allow optimal utilization of the latest available infrastructure to enhance the reliability of electricity grids while solving some fundamental problems that the power sector as a whole faces.

CR: Our goal in partnering with Tres Amigas is to create developmental efficiencies by bringing two world-class capabilities together on this project. The experience of the Tres Amigas team is unparalleled in this field and really leading huge innovation in the design of the project. Sapient Global Markets brings to the table global capabilities in software development, organizational and process design, and change management focused exclusively on these types of these markets.

Q: What are some main features of the software?

PH: The software will include real-time multi-terminal bi-directional controls, optimization across various energy products and services including ancillary services, asset optimization across classes such as renewable and storage, simulating and executing system responses by integrating market and technical operating information and best-in-class data monitoring and analytics.

CH: The software will enable the SuperStation to direct and monitor the transfer of current in each direction across all three U.S. power grids, monitor and optimize energy transfer, automate certain response protocol, and provide real-time analytics to support operational decision-making.

Q: What challenges will this new software solve for businesses?

PH: The new software will create new opportunities and solve the challenge of balancing economic considerations with technical ones, creating super grids of the future, deploying the latest hardware and integrating it with existing infrastructure while ensuring and enhancing overall reliability.

CR: The business would not be able to run without a robust software solution. Our hope is that we can pave the way to creating other super grids of the future.

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