American Superconductor Corp. has received a multi-million-dollar order from a major U.S. utility for its Static VAR Compensator (SVC) solution. The complete turnkey solution is scheduled to be commissioned in mid-2008 and will provide 150 mega volt-ampere-reactive (MVAR) of support to help control and stabilize voltage in the utility's surrounding power grid.
"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 chief executive officer 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."
This is the second SVC order AMSC has received since introducing this turnkey solution in September. The company's first order came from Bonneville Power Administration, which will use a 95 MVAR AMSC SVC solution for one of its transmission lines in Oregon. AMSC said power grid sector commercial orders and product development contracts have increased substantially in the company's current fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2007.
"Commercial order activity in the power grid sector has increased markedly in 2007," said Yurek. "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 going forward."
SVCs are used to regulate and stabilize power grid voltage. AMSC's proprietary thyristor switch technology enables the company to offer turnkey SVC systems that not only have a lower initial cost, but also lower energy and maintenance costs, and a smaller footprint when compared with conventional products.
SVCs and D-VAR systems are classified as FACTs (flexible AC transmission systems). Utilities use these solutions to dynamically control voltage, maintain high reliability and prevent grid instabilities on their transmission and distribution networks. SVCs are a large-scale, centralized, transmission-connected solution, while D-VAR systems are typically connected at the sub-transmission or distribution voltage level. Both solutions are needed and are offered on a turnkey basis by AMSC to address the broad requirements of the utility industry. AMSC estimates that the current annual addressable power grid market for reactive compensation solutions is at least $250 million worldwide. This market is expected to continue to grow considerably as global demand for electricity increases and as grid operators invest to improve the reliability of power grids worldwide.