Mar 24 2010
American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), a global power technologies company, and LS Cable Ltd. (LS Cable), the third largest power cable manufacturer in the world, today announced that they have expanded their superconductor power cable strategic business alliance.
Under the new agreement, LS Cable and AMSC will work collaboratively to deploy more than 50 kilometers (km) (31 miles) of superconductor power cables in commercial power grids over the next five years. The original alliance, established in September 2009, called for the deployment of a minimum of 10 km (6.2 miles) of superconductor power cables during that same period.
The agreement was reached at a meeting in Devens, Massachusetts attended by LS Cable President and Chief Executive Officer Jongho Son and AMSC President and Chief Operating Officer Dan McGahn. Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) Vice President J.W. Chang was present to witness the signing. KEPCO is South Korea's only power distributor. The strategic alliance focuses on the full spectrum of superconductor cable projects, including distribution and transmission voltages as well as alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) systems. Superconductor power cable systems manufactured by LS Cable will utilize AMSC's proprietary second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire, branded as 344 superconductors.
"LS Cable is focused on developing and implementing world-class technologies to both meet the evolving energy needs of today's economy and provide the infrastructure necessary to support tomorrow's growth," said LS Cable's Jongho Son. "Superconductor cables offer unique power density, efficiency and security advantages compared to conventional power cables and will play a key role in providing the necessary backbone to support the Smart Grid in Korea and locations around the world. We are pleased to expand this important strategic alliance with AMSC."
Power cables made with AMSC's HTS wire can conduct up to 10 times the amount of power of conventional cables, which are made with copper wire. They can be placed strategically in the power grid to draw flow from overtaxed conventional cables or overhead lines to mitigate grid congestion experienced in urban centers. They also automatically suppress dangerous power surges to create resilient, 'self-healing' Smart Grids that can survive attacks and natural disasters, making them an ideal modernization tool for metropolitan power grids.
"LS Cable, which is one of the world's leading and most innovative power cable manufacturing firms, continues to demonstrate its commitment to advancing the commercialization of superconductor cables as a best-in-class solution to meeting the growing and evolving power demands of the 21st Century," said Dan McGahn of AMSC. "Our companies share this common vision and see tremendous opportunities for commercial deployments of transmission and distribution superconductor cable systems around the world."
In April 2009, AMSC received its first commercial order from LS Cable for approximately 80,000 meters (50 miles) of its 344 superconductors to manufacture a 22.9 kV cable system that will be installed in KEPCO's Icheon substation near the city of Seoul later in 2010. Capable of carrying 50 megawatts of power, the cable system will be nearly a half mile in length, making it the world's longest distribution-voltage superconductor cable system.
J.W. Chang of KEPCO said, "KEPCO has embarked on an ambitious plan to make Korea's power grid the world's cleanest and most efficient. We are utilizing various technologies to realize our vision for a 'Smart Green Utopia.' Chief among these is superconductor power cables. We look forward to energizing the first of these cables in our power grid later this year and to beginning our commercial adoption phase in 2012 with the assistance of LS Cable and AMSC."
Korea Implementing the World's Smartest Grid
In 2009, South Korea's government announced plans to be the first country to convert its entire electricity network to Smart Grid technologies. The project is estimated to cost approximately US$25 billion.
As part of its "KEPCO2020" Mid-to-Long-Term Strategic Management plan, KEPCO has identified the Smart Grid as the utility's next growth engine and is concentrating its research and development on eight "Green Technologies," including High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) and superconductor technologies. These technologies will be used to implement KEPCO's "Smart Green Utopia" in Korea by 2020. KEPCO also is looking to expand its Smart Grid business to foreign markets. In 2009, the South Korean government announced plans to boost the country's domestic industries to capture 30 percent of the global Smart Grid market.