Release Date: June 27, 2007
|DOE Provides up to $51.8 Million to Modernize the U.S. Electric Grid System
Superconductor Research Crucial to Improving Power Delivery Equipment
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel W. Bodman today announced that DOE will provide up to $51.8 million for five cost-shared projects that will help accelerate much-needed modernization of our Nation’s electricity grid. This research will advance the development and application of high-temperature superconductors, which have the potential to alleviate congestion on an electricity grid that is experiencing increased demand from consumers. Making investments to modernize our electricity grid; securing a diverse and stable supply of reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy; as well as increasing efficiency, are central to the Bush Administration’s effort to increase energy and economic security.
“Modernizing our congested and constrained electric grid - through the development of advanced, new technologies – is vital to delivering reliable and affordable power to the American people,” Secretary Bodman said. “As demand for electricity continues to grow, we must take steps now to identify potential problems, identify solutions, and deploy new technologies to provide a secure and steady energy supply. We look forward to the success of this research and recognize it will help us realize President Bush’s goal of a more modern and efficient electricity system.”
The selected projects will help advance the future generation of power delivery equipment and aid the development of a highly efficient electricity grid system for the Nation. Two of the research projects will help increase reliability and efficiency of power delivery cables, and the remaining three projects will place an emphasis on fault current limiters. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage these projects, which are expected to last two to five years. Projects will be equally cost-shared between DOE and selected teams, totaling $103.6 million in DOE/team project cost. DOE funding is expected to be allocated in Fiscal Years (FY) 2007-2012, subject to appropriations from Congress, with $10 million from FY2007, and $7 million requested in FY2008.
Selection of these projects allows DOE to build on its past successes in superconductivity, which include operating two distribution-level voltage superconducting cables and utility grids. Superconductors - solid ceramic compounds that conduct electricity more efficiently than traditional copper wires - can be a key to improving the capacity, efficiency, and reliability of electric power equipment. A major challenge prior to commercialization is to develop superconductors that can operate at relatively “high” temperatures, from approximately -320 to -370 degrees Fahrenheit (50 to 77 Kelvin), and in magnetic fields from 1 to 4 Tesla.
DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) will oversee the research projects announced today. OE leads national efforts to modernize the electric grid; enhance the security and reliability of the energy infrastructure; and facilitate recovery from disruptions to the energy supply.
Selected projects are as follows:
POWER DELIVERY EQUIPMENT
American Superconductor - (DOE cost share: $9 million)
FAULT CURRENT LIMITERS
SC Power Systems - (DOE cost share: $11 million)
SuperPower Inc. - (DOE cost share: $5.8 million)