ComEd installs new high-temp conductor cables to improve resilience, boost cybersecurity

cable
Image Credit DHS.

AMSC’s Resilient Electric Grid System now fully operational on ComEd’s electric power grid

ComEd, an electric utility serving more than 4 million customers in northern Illinois, and AMSC yesterday announced the integration of AMSC’s Resilient Electric Grid (REG) system, which uses high-temperature superconductor cables to enhance the reliability, resiliency and performance of the electric power grid.

The key component of the REG system is AMSC’s Amperium wire, which the company says conducts approximately 200 times the electrical current of copper wire of similar dimensions. The REG system combines with other sub-system design elements to increase the reliability, redundancy, and resiliency of urban power grids, according to AMSC, reducing the impact of equipment failure due to cyber threats, physical disasters, aging or weather-related events.

Nexans designed, manufactured and installed the cable using AMSC’s Amperium high temperature (HTS) superconducting wire, which can operate at 12 kV. The cable carries an AC current of 3000 A and can carry up to 62 MVA of power, exceeding what is possible with conventional resistive conductors such as copper and aluminum.

In a presentation, ComEd explained that REG networks connect on the distribution side, effectively reinforcing the transmission system. The system allows utilities to connect urban substations together to mitigate or prevent disruptions. By allowing substations to share excess capacity during emergencies and reroute power as needed and share assets, the likelihood of power outages for customers is reduced, according to a press release issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the project. (The project was partially funded by a DHS Science and Technology Directorate initiative.)

ComEd will monitor and measure the impact of the REG system over the next year and then determine whether to deploy the technology elsewhere in northern Illinois communities.

“The increasingly frequent and severe weather events associated with climate change and need for enhanced cyber and physical security require grid investments that will sustain the high levels of safe and reliable power that our customer depend on,” said Terence R. Donnelly, president and COO, ComEd.

“Our superconductor-based REG system was designed to improve the reliability and resiliency of the grid, reduce the disruption to public infrastructure and save money for utility customers – all in an environmentally-friendly manner,” said Daniel P. McGahn, chairman, president and CEO, AMSC. “We believe this accomplishment opens up opportunities for AMSC to deploy REG systems to other innovative utilities.”

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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