TVA orders new distributed superconducting magnetic energy storage equipment

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., Sept. 11, 2001– American Superconductor Corporation and GE Industrial Systems, a business of the General Electric Company, announced today that they have received an order from TVA for a D-SMES (Distributed Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage) power grid reliability solution. American Superconductor and GE have a strategic alliance to market and sell the new D-SMES solution as a co-branded product to U.S. utilities.

The D-SMES solution for TVA, comprising one D-SMES unit, will be deployed in the TVA power grid in November 2001. This installation is the tenth American Superconductor D-SMES unit to be installed since July 2000. Superconducting storage devices store large quantities of electricity in a coil of superconducting wire with no energy losses until needed as an electric power supplement at the transmission grid level. American Superconductor’s other D-SMES customers are Wisconsin Public Service, Alliant Energy and Entergy.

“Our D-SMES solution will allow TVA to rapidly meet their customer’s increasing needs for more cost effective and reliable power while increasing the amount of power that can safely flow through existing transmission lines,” said Greg Yurek, chief executive officer of American Superconductor. “The American Superconductor-GE team in collaboration with the TVA team is analyzing the application of D-SMES in other parts of the TVA system to cost effectively increase power transmission while continuing to improve the reliability of the grid. We look forward to continuing to meet TVA’s power reliability and capacity needs with our D-SMES solution.”

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, TVA is America’s largest public power producer. All of TVA’s power systems are self-financed. TVA has 29,469 megawatts of generating capacity and provides power to large industries and 158 power distributors that serve 8.3 million consumers in seven southeastern states. TVA operates a power delivery system composed of 17,000 miles of high voltage transmission lines. For more information on TVA, please see

To learn more about the AMSC/GE co-branded D-SMES power reliability solution, see cap_reactcompen.shtml or

Technical Background

Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) is American Superconductor’s patented means of storing large quantities of electricity in a superconducting electromagnetic coil until needed as an electric power supplement. Combined with proprietary power electronic devices known as inverters, the SMES storage unit becomes an active device for instantaneously solving power reliability and quality problems at the transmission grid level or at individual industrial or data center sites.

Severe weather, traffic accidents and unforeseen equipment failures can lead to momentary sags in the voltage on power lines. In the United States, more than 80 percent of all electric power disturbances are voltage sags that last less than one second. According to industry data, these momentary voltage sags cost manufacturers and digital power users tens of billions of dollars annually in damaged equipment and lost productivity. SMES systems have been in use for several years at industrial sites in the U.S., South Africa and Europe to provide premium-quality power for individual customers that are vulnerable to momentary drops in voltage in the power delivery network.

SMES components are housed in a semi-tractor trailer and attached to transformers at utility substations at strategic locations within a power grid (D-SMES configuration) or installed as an interface between a utility power supply and an industrial or commercial power user to improve power quality (PQ-SMES configuration). When a voltage drop is detected by the unit’s power electronics, SMES instantaneously injects precise amounts of both real and reactive power into the system it is protecting, thereby keeping voltage levels stable. SMES provides a low maintenance, cost effective and flexible solution for utilities, Internet data centers and process intensive industrial users to dramatically improve transmission level reliability and facility power quality.

About American Superconductor

American Superconductor Corporation is a developer and manufacturer of products using superconductor wires and solid-state power electronic switches for the electric power infrastructure. American Superconductor’s products, and those sold by electrical equipment manufacturers that incorporate its products, can dramatically increase the bandwidth and reliability of power delivery girds, reduce manufacturing and operating costs, and conserve resources used to produce electric power. Founded in 1987, the company is headquartered in Westborough, Mass. For more information, visit

About GE Industrial Systems

GE Industrial Systems is a manufacturer of products used to distribute, protect and control electrical power and equipment, and supplying product and service solutions for commercial, industrial, residential and utility applications. GE Industrial Systems is one of GE’s major businesses. GE is the world’s largest diversified technology, manufacturing and services company with a commitment to achieving worldwide leadership. For further information, visit the company at

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