The "Brain and Brawn" of Smart Grid
Jack McCall Director, Business Development, Superconductor T&D Systems American Superconductor
on November 14, 2009
Standardized, distributed intelligence will make the power grid smarter. However, massive new transmission capacity is needed to incorporate large renewable energy sources. Current power line technologies using semiconductors require huge towers, with huge footprints, to transmit the necessary amounts of electricity from wind- or solar-rich areas to urban areas.
Superconducting power lines will require vastly less space and achieve better results than conventional lines – a 1-meter right-of-way would accommodate an underground superconducting DC line able to transmit 20 gigawatts, according to Jack McCall, Director of Business Development, Superconductor T&D Systems at American Superconductor, presenting at the US-China Green Energy Forum on October 23, 2009. American Superconductor is in the forefront of developing this “brawn” to match the smart grid’s “brains.” The cost of such cables, which has been an impediment, is decreasing as the technology is scaled up, and the cost effectiveness as compared with conventional lines rises with the distance spanned.
Superconducting lines and equipment, Mr. McCall said, will increase the efficiency and resiliency of grid components while reducing their size and weight.
Jack McCall has over 25 years experience in the utility T&D business holding a variety of product engineering, product management, system engineering, business development, marketing, and strategic planning roles. He has his Master’s in Electric Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and his BSEE from Gannon University, Erie, PA. He is a member of the IEEE and CIGRE, and just joined the AWEA Transmission Committee.
(Summary written by Jacob Croegaert, UC Davis)
Tags: AMSC, US-China Green Energy Forum, smart grid, superconducting power lines