AMSC, a global energy solutions provider serving wind and power grid industry leaders, has announced that AMSC will partner with Black & Veatch to perform a study to evaluate solution options to improve the resiliency of Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) electric grid. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, a San Francisco, CA-based subsidiary of PG&E Corporation serving nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California, is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States.
“Black & Veatch is a world class engineering and energy infrastructure development company,” said Daniel P. McGahn, AMSC President and CEO. “We look forward to expanding our relationship with Black & Veatch as we work to penetrate the electric distribution market with AMSC’s Resilient Electric Grid systems.”
The study was awarded to Black & Veatch by PG&E following a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process and specifically requests that superconductor based technologies, such as AMSC’s Resilient Electric Grid (REG) system, be considered as solution options. The study will focus on evaluating REG as a potential option to backup or replace certain existing pipe-type cable circuits on PG&E’s grid, which were identified as vulnerable in an earlier PG&E study.
Pipe-type cable technology has been the dominant transmission cable type in the United States from the 1940’s through the start of this century with thousands of miles installed. In recent years, utilities have looked to replace these cables, which often utilize large quantities of environmentally harmful oil or SF6 gas, with more benign technologies. AMSC’s Resilient Electric Grid Systems have the potential to help fill this market need.
“Through the RFP for the study, PG&E has indicated interest in evaluating superconductor-based cable technologies as solution options for hardening the San Francisco electric grid against seismic events,” said John Rector, Associate Vice President of Black & Veatch. “Technologies that offer us compact, efficient, low environmental impact, and cost-effective alternatives, such as the Resilient Electric Grid system, are of great interest to U.S. utilities.”
AMSC’s REG system is an innovative approach designed to increase reliability and capacity of the electric grid. By enabling the use of transmission and distribution assets in a way that is not feasible with traditional technologies, the REG system enables significant increases in grid reliability and increases load-serving capacity, while limiting the need for additional grid infrastructure, which mitigates environmental impact.
“The Bay Area is one of the nation’s most critical regions. Safe, reliable and low impact electrical infrastructure is of particular importance to the citizens of San Francisco and the Bay Area,” said McGahn. “We believe that AMSC’s REG system will uniquely help PG&E meet their system resiliency goals and ensure safe and rapid recovery from major events. We are pleased that Pacific Gas & Electric is exploring the use of our REG system in its grid, and we look forward to understanding the needs of the utility.”
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