Equipment & Technology, General Electric, Smart Grid T&D

American Superconductor Deploys Commercial Superconductor-Based Solution for Power Grid Reliability

WESTBOROUGH, Mass.—American Superconductor and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. have announced the successful operation of the world’s first commercial superconductor-based solution for power grid reliability. The solution consists of multiple, Distributed Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (D-SMES) units deployed at electrical substations in WPS’ 200-mile Northern Transmission Loop. This D-SMES system will increase power reliability and capacity throughout the Northern Loop.

“The nation’s power grid is highly stressed, which has led to brownouts and rolling blackouts with increasing frequency in recent years,” said Greg Yurek, American Superconductor CEO. “Our new D-SMES product line provides the quickest, lowest cost and most effective solution for power reliability and capacity needs.”

Distributed SMES systems are virtual generators-ready to instantaneously inject large quantities of power into the grid when needed. D-SMES is a distributed resource, and because the individual SMES units are easily moved, they can be re-deployed as needed to meet the changing requirements of the grid.

“The American Superconductor D-SMES system provides us with a technically and economically superior solution for improving the voltage stability of the Northern Loop,” said Larry Weyers, Wisconsin Public Service CEO. “This system will allow us to provide improved reliability to our customers immediately and create a better base for load growth and new transmission facilities in the future.”

American Superconductor has deployed similar, power quality SMES systems over the past several years at industrial facilities and data centers to ensure high quality of electric power for critical applications. This D-SMES installation, however, is the world’s first commercial application of superconductor technology as an integral, ongoing part of an electric power grid. This new solution is applicable to large-scale power grids around the world.

American Superconductor’s exclusive channel to the U.S. utility market for D-SMES is GE Industrial Systems, a business of General Electric Co. The D-SMES product line for U.S. utilities is co-branded by GE and American Superconductor.