Wind farms: Power-related investments in Asia, U.S.

Zurich, Switzerland and Westborough, MA—ABB wind products survived a natural disaster in China’s largest wind farm. Separately, American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC) received a multimillion-dollar order from a major U.S. utility for AMSC’s Static VAR Compensator (SVC), technology that helps with wind-related investments.


Zurich, Switzerland and Westborough, MA


wind products survived a natural disaster in China’s largest wind farm. Separately,

American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC)

received a multimillion-dollar order from a major U.S. utility for AMSC’s Static VAR Compensator (SVC), technology that helps with wind-related investments.

When typhoon Wipha hit China’s eastern seaboard south of Shanghai recently, schools were closed and flights postponed due to warnings of torrential rain and fierce wind. In serious storms, wind farms must shut down to avoid damage to turbines. But by the time this storm arrived in Rudong County 300 km to the north on the coast of the Yellow Sea, winds had slowed and Jiangsu Longyuang wind farm, located in an area identified in 2004 by the Chinese government as appropriate for a large-scale commercial wind farm, took advantage of the situation.

The government gave a construction license to Jiangsu Longyuang Wind Power Co., a subsidiary of China Longyuang Electric Power Group, based in Nantong. Building on the farm began in October 2005, and one year later turbines were providing emissions-free wind power to the local grid, and helping power local industries, such as energy-intensive textile manufacturing, steelmaking, and shipbuilding.

Electrical equipment also
ABB supplied power equipment including a compact secondary substation with distribution transformers and a ring main unit manufactured in China by ABB Shanghai Transformer Co. Ltd. and ABB Beijing High Voltage Switchgear Co. Ltd. The equipment feeds electricity from the farm into the local transmission network.

“Our parent company holds a leading market share of the Chinese wind industry,” said Jin Ji, general manager at Jiangsu Longyuang. “ABB’s reputation is well-known in China, and it made sense for two leading companies to work together on this important development.”

Salt, strong winds, clean power
Since the project began, 67 turbines with a total capacity of 100 megawatts (MW) have been erected at the Jiangsu site, at a cost of more than $130 million. Wind power competes with the cost of conventional generating methods and has significantly fewer disadvantages, according to ABB. Turbines withstand severe wind conditions and frequent drenching with salt water. Because of the region’s persistently strong winds, the farm will feed around 230,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean electricity into the local grid each year and avoid almost 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions (the annual emissions of more than 65,000 cars).

The World Bank estimates that China’s air and water pollution costs the country around $100 billion a year, or 5.8% of gross domestic product (GDP). Wind power offers an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. China aims to double its 2006 wind power capacity to 5,000 MW by 2010.

ABB also recently won a contract to connect the world’s largest offshore wind farm to the German grid.

ABB offers a review on energy efficiency


Voltage stabilization with thyristor switch
In other news, the AMSC multimillion-dollar order from a major U.S. utility for AMSC's Static VAR Compensator (SVC) is a turnkey project, to be commissioned in mid-2008. It will provide 150 mega Volt-ampere-reactive (MVAR) of support to control and stabilize voltage in the utility's power grid. It’s the second such order in as many months. The first SVC order came from Bonneville Power Administration, for a 95 MVAR SVC solution for a transmission line in Oregon.

"Our new transmission-voltage SVC solution leverages the unique and proprietary thyristor switch technology we obtained earlier this year through our acquisition of Power Quality Systems Inc.," said Greg Yurek, founder and CEO of AMSC. "Now armed with a full range of reactive compensation solutions, our Network Solutions team is working with power transmission grid operators around the world to design highly effective solutions to help enhance power grid reliability and increase the flow of power through existing transmission assets. Commercial order activity in the power grid sector has increased markedly in 2007. In addition, we have brought in several important new power grid development contracts focused on superconductor power cables and fault current limiters. While the wind power market is the primary contributor to AMSC's rapid growth today, the power grid sector is now picking up momentum that we believe will contribute strongly to our growth."

Power control: Flexible ac transmission systems
SVCs and D-VAR systems are classified as FACTs (flexible AC transmission systems). Utilities use them to control voltage, maintain high reliability, and prevent grid instabilities on transmission and distribution networks, AMSC explains. The market is expected to continue to grow considerably as global demand for electricity increases and as grid operators invest to improve reliability.

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