Westborough, MA, Jan. 30, 2006 — American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC), an electricity solutions company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a public power provider, announced the start of production of two SuperVAR dynamic synchronous condensers. AMSC’s SuperVAR dynamic synchronous condenser is a new product that stabilizes grid voltages, increases service reliability, and can help maximize transmission capacity.
These two SuperVAR systems are expected to be the world’s first commercial high temperature superconductor product to be utilized on the grid, said a recent press release from AMSC. AMSC expects to ship the first of the two SuperVAR machines in late 2006, with the second system to be shipped in early 2007. TVA retains an option to purchase three additional SuperVAR machines.
The two SuperVAR systems purchased by TVA will each be rated at 12 megaVAR (MVAR) – 4MVAR higher than the advanced prototype. The 33% higher reactive power rating was selected to provide a more powerful, more broadly applicable grid solution, said the press release. The skid-mounted system is the size of a container ship cargo box and is able to fit into electrical substations.
The release to production of the 12MVAR machines follows the accelerated life test of AMSC’s advanced prototype SuperVAR synchronous condenser at a TVA electrical substation serving a steel mill operated by the Hoeganaes Corp. in Gallatin, TN. Since it was first synchronized with the TVA grid in January 2005, the advanced prototype SuperVAR synchronous condenser has operated successfully through well over five million voltage sags and surges (2,300 steel mill melt cycles).
SuperVAR machines serve as “shock absorbers” for the grid, injecting or absorbing reactive power (measured in volt-amperes-reactive or VARs) to minimize sudden and large voltage fluctuations. Voltage regulation is critical to the success of a variety of industries that require reliable as well as very high quality electric power; for industrial usage it helps to keep equipment running at high production rates preventing the shutdown of sensitive electronic manufacturing equipment; for utilities it can help to stabilize the grid, and for wind farms it provides the ability to ride through high voltage situations as well as provide the dynamic voltage regulation and control required to meet the interconnection standards.