ComEd has agreed to develop a deployment plan for AMSC’s high temperature superconductor technology to build a superconducting cable system that will strengthen Chicago’s electric grid. The Resilient Electric Grid (REG) effort is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s work to secure the nation’s electric power grids and improve resiliency against extreme weather, acts of terrorism, or other catastrophic events.
“Modernizing our region’s electric grid is part of ComEd’s vision to strengthen power reliability and to connect our customers and this region to the 21st century digital economy,” said Anne R. Pramaggiore, president and CEO, ComEd. “We view this project as a natural extension of the infrastructure improvements and technological upgrades that have been under way for the past two years as we develop and deploy the smart grid. Linking our critical urban infrastructure to this superconductor system would provide added reliability, resiliency and security to Chicago’s Central Business District, an essential economic engine for the state and region.”
The current design of the grid infrastructure in many U.S. cities makes restoration of power after a catastrophic event time-consuming, costly, and unpredictable. Led by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the Resilient Electric Grid is a self-healing solution that provides resiliency in the event that portions of the grid are lost for any reason. The ComEd installation would be the first commercial application of this advanced technology in the United States.
“In addition to providing reliable power and increased security, this installation of more than three miles of superconductor cable would create the most extensive superconductor project of this nature in the world,” said Terence R. Donnelly, ComEd’s Chief Operating Officer. “ComEd’s transformation of our business relies heavily on technology and innovation. In this era of increasingly intense weather events and other potential catastrophic occurrences, this project will not only support the City of Chicago but can serve as a model to enable widespread implementation of the superconductor technology nationally and globally.”
ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population including the City of Chicago.