About The Valley: Three Corners Connector

Description: Watch the Interview with Project Development Director Bryant Coon. See the complete presentation slideshow in the photo gallery below.


Published: 01/14/2023
Byline: SECO News

Listen to the Interview:

About The Valley: Three Corners Connector

Three Corners Connector held an open house to meet with local landowners and community leaders on Wednesday, Jan. 11 in La Junta.

The Three Corners Connector Project will cost $1.5 Billion and Connect the Eastern and Western Power Grids by Running a 3,000 Mega-watt Transmission Line (up to 300 miles) through Southeast Colorado. The Grid United - Three Corners Connector offices are at 502 Colorado Ave. in La Junta.

The project passes through Pueblo, Otero, Bent, and Baca Counties in Colorado, then through Cimmaron and Texas Counties in Oklahoma and completes the connection in Guymon.

We interviewed the project Development Director Bryant Coon and included the slideshow from his Wednesday night presentation below.

Project Timeline

2022

• Project route evaluation (Spring 2022-Winter 2022)

• Landowner and jurisdictional stakeholder outreach begins (Summer 2022)

• Work with landowners to acquire transmission line easements (Summer 2022-Spring 2023)

Transmission line design and engineering (Summer 2022-Spring 2023)

2023-2025

Identify and obtain necessary local, state and federal permits and approvals.

2024

Start of HVDC Design & Procurement

2027

Start of Transmission Line Construction

2029

End of construction, transmission line and converter stations placed in service.

See the compete presentation slideshow in the photo gallery below.

Watch the Interview Here:

Podcast Transcript:

This is Adrian Hart with your Southeast Colorado News on seconews.org. We are here on About The Valley to talk about three corners connector, a large multi-state project that's rolling through our neighborhood. And, I'm with, one of the the main guys here. Tell us your title and Yes, sir. What you're doing with with your project and Sure, sure.

Thanks Adrian. I'm Bryant. And I'm the developer for Three Corners Connector. Basically that just means that I don't have anybody to blame if something goes wrong. Okay. So the title's developer. Okay. Yes, sir. All right, very good.

We are Grid United is a company I work for and we are working on a series of projects kind of up and down the country to try to unite the grids. So there's a lot of benefit in that, and we'll kind of talk about some of the benefits here in a minute. But we're really excited about Three Corners Connector.

It's a project here, you can see on the map. It generally goes.  Pueblo, Colorado, down to Guymon Oklahoma, up to about 300 miles. And what it does is it connects the eastern and western grids. So you're able to move lots of power back and forth. Holy cow. It's like you guys are, so what you're gonna be doing just down the street.

Like, yeah. Kiowa County neighborhood, right? Sure. So we're in Colorado. We're going through Baca, up through Bent, and then across Otero and into Pueblo. So, okay. So I pick the only county. You guys aren't going in. That's all right. That's alright. Yeah that's a huge project. It's like putting in that Golden Railroad spike only it's got juice, right?

You could look at it that way For sure. It is open to any kind of generation, so it'll carry all types of power. And basically it's also a DC line, which is a little bit different than what you see in a lot of cases. If you're connecting two different grids, you have to go DC to be able to do that.

Okay. Uh, we are. Lots of benefits. Again, it really comes up, so we're looking at our, I'm gonna zoom in here if you wanna step up and speak up. Sure. We got the economic benefits. Sure. Yeah. So lots of economic benefits. The total capital budget for the project is around a billion and a half dollars, so that's huge.

Quite a bit. It takes a lot of money to buy the steel to get this thing built and also those converter stations to go from AC to DC on both ends, we've gotta build converter stations that are pretty expensive too. Lots of complicated equipment in those as well. The benefits though, it's not just the money that we're spending on this project data and it's from reducing costs through.

If you look at it a little bit like you've got two markets that are separated and you don't have a way to get much power back and forth between them. We can transfer a little bit today, but not very much. This opens up the door to be able to transfer up to 3,000 megawatts, which is really a lot of power.

You're able to for power that doesn't have any place to go, there's not really a good market for it on one end at sometimes.  Prices will be different and we'll be able to ship it to the place where it's more needed and then other times we'll be able to ship it the opposite direction. So, Power can go both ways.

I think at the end of this, I'm gonna go Google 3,000 megawatts . Yeah, and try to put that in perspective. Sure, sure. Cuz that's a big number. Yeah, it is. It is a big number. I'll send you some more stuff you can post about, about, to kinda help that put that into context, we've been, we've been looking at your guys' display here.

Now you guys recently had an open house. We did. So, you know, to start a project like this, there are lots of, lots of different ways to do it and we are a land. Uh, landowner and stakeholder first. The approach is what we're taking, where we really wanna make sure we're getting out in front of the folks that are gonna be most directly impacted by this.

We wanna try to find a route that works for all the social, economic and environmental factors that we're trying to kind of balance and then we wanna make sure that the landowners across that are actually gonna be hosting the line, presumably are interested in it. If they're not, that's a hurdle.

Okay, so we'll try to figure out a different way and alternate. I don't turn it out to keep people happy.  You look at everything from where residences, where schools are you know, drainages, where wetlands, where our, there are a lot of factors, environmental impacts and systems, so it's really trying to balance all of that.

And so basically try to find a route that we think can work, talk to all those owners as we need to make changes. We're doing that, we've got lots of changes. We've got underway and have made lots so far, and it's still a process, but once we get all that done and we think we have a route that everybody's happy.

Then there's still lots of work to do. We've gotta get it permitted, so. Right. So that's your next slide right here? Yes sir. And we'll, we'll transition in, give you a moment to breathe, and we will transition into permitting. Yeah, we'll also let you guys know that we're gonna have a copy of this available for you guys to check out on seconews.org.

So, sure. So you're gonna get through the permitting process. Yeah. So they're, you know, Colorado counties especially, lots of power in being able to dictate where the routes of projects like these go and Otero County is no different. And so what we want to be able to do though, is we wanna make sure that the community and landowners are all happy with us before we walk in to and file for our permits.

So that's a little bit different approach. Than a lot of projects take, but we think it's something that sets us apart and something that's gonna help us be successful. Of course, after we get our county permits, there are still lots of state and federal permits we have to get as well.

But yeah, that's a little bit, a little bit down the road and yeah, that's probably rolled into that 1.5 billion, right? Yeah. I mean, that's definitely part of it. That's part of the cost. Yeah. Yep. But, nice to see that you guys are going right through all the compliance as far as Sure. Not stepping on property owner's toes and making sure that the regional governments are all happy and satisfied.

And here's a timeline. So I guess here's our best - we're gonna get into our summation period of the interview. Sure. So, a project like this takes a long time. It's not something that's simple, it's not something that's fast. What was really difficult on ones like these is, you know, aside from trying to figure out the best route that's gonna work for both you know, the landowners and the communities and for the environment.

We also have to get all the materials and those converter stations I mentioned where we'll have to convert DC to DC on both ends. Those are about a three to five year lead time from the time you sign a contract. And so you can have 'em. I've heard municipalities having trouble with getting, uh, you know, basic stuff for their electrical system.

Sure, sure. There, there are supply chain issues all over the place and so that definitely stretches it out as well. We got a couple of years in there. So right now lemme just kind of take you through it, you know? Yeah. We're really trying to get land owners on board. We are out doing surveys to figure out the exact best spot to stick the line.

We're making sure that land owners are happy with where we would like to place it, uh, going through reroutes. And so that's where we're at now. As we get done with that portion of it, we will do some more engineering and design work to try to, uh, finalize exactly not just where the route will go, but where Poles will go, where the roads will go, that'll help us get this thing built and maintain it.

And then, then we will start doing those permits that we talked about a little bit here, uh, later on this year. Okay. Construction though. So two kind of phases of construction. You've got the line you've gotta get built, and you've got those converter stations they take a little bit longer from the time you start doing the design and right.

Buying 'em, having 'em manufactured. And so those will start, uh, in 2024. But really probably the first groundbreaking where we're doing any time work, uh, starting to dig holes for structures or build roads or anything would be 2027. Okay, and we would hope to have this thing in operation by the end of 2029.

Very cool. Yes, sir. So, uh, that's huge, massive, 1.5 billion project wrapping right through Southeast Colorado. Yes, sir. Yes sir. So thank you for taking the time. Sure. And I look forward to getting some updates on the project as it rolls out and makes progress and I'd encourage folks to check it out on our website.

We've got, oh, here we go. We can pan down here. But you go ahead. Go ahead and keep talking. That's first connector.com. Okay. And if you've got any questions, we're happy to visit with you info, three corners connector.com, and also have a phone number on there, and Adrian will have that posted along with these slides here.

Very good. Yep. So we'll put the slides up and we'll put the contact info up for you guys and of course, we'll keep getting that content and keeping you informed. So there we go. Thank you.

All right. For Three Corners Connector in La Junta, Colorado for the people of Southeast Colorado. I'm Adrian Hart.

SECO News will continue to provide coverage and release information about Grid United's Three Corners Connector project as it becomes available. 

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