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Energy solutions provider AMSC and Illinois-based utility ComEd have partnered to develop a deployment plan for AMSC's high-temperature superconductor technology to build a superconducting cable system that will help 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,” says Anne R. Pramaggiore, president and CEO of 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.”

Led by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the REG is a self-healing solution that provides resiliency in the event that portions of the grid are lost for any reason. AMSC says the ComEd installation would be the first commercial application of this advanced technology in the U.S. AMSC President and CEO Daniel P. McGahn notes, “As provided in the DHS contract, AMSC will initiate a similar deployment plan with at least two other U.S. utilities.”

“Utilities around the world are investing tens of billions of dollars on smart grid technology designed, in part, to create a more redundant and resilient grid,” continues McGahn. “We believe that the Resilient Electric Grid system, which is enabled by AMSC’s unique high-temperature superconductor technology, has the potential to play a significant role in protecting the infrastructure assets so vital to our electrical systems.”

“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,” says Terence R. Donnelly, ComEd’s chief operating officer. He adds that the project “can serve as a model to enable widespread implementation of the superconductor technology nationally and globally.”




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