Fault current limiter project for Southern California Edison

American Superconductor Corp., Westborough, Mass., and Southern California Edison (SCE), Rosemead, Calif., in October announced a cooperative agreement award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) on a project to develop and perform in-grid testing of a transmission-voltage fault current limiter (FCL) solution.

12/01/2007


American Superconductor Corp., Westborough, Mass., and Southern California Edison (SCE), Rosemead, Calif., in October announced a cooperative agreement award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) on a project to develop and perform in-grid testing of a transmission-voltage fault current limiter (FCL) solution.

The FCL will use a design from Siemens AG that incorporates AMSC's proprietary second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wires.

Fault current limiters act as high-voltage surge protectors for the power grid, increasing system reliability and overall efficiency.

“Superconductor technologies hold great potential for improving the capacity, reliability and efficiency of the nation's transmission grid,” said DOE Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. “Fault current limiters are among the most promising of these technologies given their potential to suppress the increasing power surges that are threatening our electrical infrastructure.”

As project manager, AMSC will lead the effort to develop a three-phase, 115-kilovolt (kV) standalone FCL. This FCL will feature a proprietary low-inductance coil technology from project partner Siemens that makes the FCL invisible to the grid until it switches to a resistive state upon the detection of a fault current.

The demonstration will occur at a location operated by team member SCE. In addition to Siemens and SCE, AMSC's project partners include Nexans, the University of Houston and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“Today's high-tech world can no longer afford yesterday's low-tech electricity grid,” said Southern California Edison Vice President of Engineering James Kelly. “That's why Southern California Edison is pleased to be working with [others] to develop and deploy a smarter grid to meet our customers' changing needs.”

The project will be conducted in two phases: The first phase will focus on customizing approximately 7,500 meters of AMSC's 2G HTS wire for the FCL application, developing an advanced switching module, designing terminations, and manufacturing and testing a single-phase, transmission-voltage FCL. The second phase of the project will focus on manufacturing and testing the three-phase, 115-kV FCL in SCE's grid.





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