American Superconductor Corp., Long Island Power
Authority (LIPA) and the Department of Energy
(DOE) celebrated the commissioning of the world's
first high temperature superconductor (HTS) power
transmission cable system in a commercial power
grid. The 138,000-V (138-kV) system, which consists
of three individual HTS power cable phases running
in parallel, was energized on April 22, 2008,
and is operating successfully in LIPA's Holbrook
transmission right of way. A ceremony was being
held on June 25 to commemorate the completion
of the first phase and kick off the second phase
of the project.
"Long Island Power Authority has a strong interest
in the development of superconductor technologies
and is the first utility in the world to commission
an HTS power transmission cable system," said
LIPA President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin
Law. "We view superconductor power cables as an
important option in our technology portfolio that
will help us further enhance the reliability of
our grid as we meet our customers' increasing demands
for electric power."
The HTS cable system installed in LIPA's power
grid contains hair-thin, ribbon-shaped HTS wires
that conduct 150 times the electricity of similar
sized copper wires. This power density advantage
enables transmission-voltage HTS cables to use
far less wire and yet conduct up to five times
more power - in a smaller right of way - than
traditional copper-based cables. When operated
at full capacity, the HTS cable system is capable
of transmitting up to 574 MW of electricity, enough
to power 300,000 homes.
The DOE previously funded $27.5 million of the
$58.5 million total project cost, which advances
the Department's ongoing efforts, through the
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability,
to modernize the Nation's electricity delivery
infrastructure. HTS power cables are envisioned
by the DOE as a component of a modern electricity
superhighway - one that is free of bottlenecks
and can readily transmit power to customers from
remote generation sites, such as wind farms.
"Innovative solutions such as this project are
fundamental to the modernization of the nation's
electricity infrastructure," said Kevin M. Kolevar,
Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and
Energy Reliability. "We are pleased to support
the development and deployment of this promising
technology, which is advancing the Bush Administration's
efforts to ensure that America continues to have
access to readily available, reliable power."
LIPA's installation, which is the longest and
most powerful superconductor cable system in the
world, includes three phases connected through
six outdoor terminations. It was designed, manufactured
and installed by Nexans, the worldwide leader
in the cable industry. The cable cores utilize
HTS wires produced by AMSC, which also is the
prime contractor for the project. The liquid nitrogen
refrigeration system was manufactured by Air Liquide,
the global leader in industrial and medical gases.
Three 2,000-foot-long vacuum-insulated flexible
cryostats provide high-quality thermal insulation
maintaining the cable cores at cryogenic temperature.
"Nexans remains committed to providing the electric
utility industry with advanced technologies, and
HTS power cables are among our most promising
offerings," said Pascal Portevin, chief corporate
officer in charge of Strategic Operations, Nexans.
"The unique ability of superconductor cables to
deliver large amounts of power through small corridors
offers a key solution for congested urban and
metropolitan power grids. The success of Phase
I of this project shows we are clearly ready to
deploy HTS cables more broadly in utility power
"We are delighted to be a part of this important
project and the advancement of superconductor
technologies for the electric utility industry,"
said Michael Smith, President, Air Liquide Advanced
Technologies U.S. LLC. "Superconductor power cables
provide the advanced technology needed to meet
the world's rapidly rising power demands, and
we are pleased to have been chosen to provide
the critical, sophisticated cryogenic refrigeration
technology that produces the operating temperatures
required for successful grid application."
LIPA Phase II Commences
AMSC is leading the development of an extension
of LIPA's HTS cable system. The new project calls
for the replacement of one of the existing HTS
cable system's phases with a 600-meter-long cable
made with AMSC's proprietary 344 superconductors,
the company's brand name for what is generically
known as second generation, or "2G" HTS wire.
The cable system will also incorporate Secure
Super GridsTM technology.
Introduced by AMSC in May 2007, Secure Super
Grids is a system-level solution that utilizes
customized 2G HTS wires, HTS power cables and
ancillary controls to deliver more power through
the grid and suppress power surges that can disrupt
service. AMSC is leading a separate, parallel
project to demonstrate and deploy the first distribution-voltage
(13kV) Secure Super Grid solution in the power
network of Consolidated Edison in midtown Manhattan.
"The response to our Secure Super Grids solution
since its launch in May 2007 has been tremendous,"
said AMSC founder and Chief Executive Officer
Greg Yurek. "Utilities worldwide are seeking ways
to relieve choke points and instantly suppress
power surges in their grids, and Secure Super
Grids accomplishes both goals simultaneously."
Secure Super Grids use multiple paths for electricity
flow in metropolitan power grids to ensure system
reliability when individual circuits are disrupted
due to severe weather, traffic accidents or willful
destruction. In addition, they use the special
properties of AMSC's 344 superconductors to not
only relieve grid congestion, but also instantly
suppress power surges that often damage utility
equipment and disrupt customer service.
In addition to being the manager for this turnkey
project, AMSC will supply approximately 60,000
meters of its second generation HTS wire known
as "344 superconductors," needed to manufacture
the power cable. As was the case in the original
LIPA cable project, AMSC has chosen Nexans as
the cable manufacturer and Air Liquide as the
provider of the cryogenics system. Apart from
being the world's first transmission-voltage cable
system powered by 2G HTS wire, AMSC and its project
partners will be developing new repairable cryostat
and cable joining technology and a low-cost, reliable
and efficient refrigeration system.
The DOE, through its National Energy Technology
Laboratory, is expected to provide AMSC with $4
million in federal funding through completion
of its first project budget period, expected to
end in September 2008. Upon successful completion
of key project milestones and sustained execution
of a viable business strategy, as much as $5 million
in additional DOE funding may be made available
for continued implementation of this two-and-a-half-year
project through March 2010, subject to availability
of funds appropriated by the U.S. Congress.