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Korea's Highway: Embracing Renewables and Smart Grid

Feb 26,2011 - Salvatore Salamone - EnergyBiz.com

In particular, Korea Electric Power Corp. has included superconductor power cables in its Smart Green Utopia plan to convert Korea's entire power grid. The plan includes incorporating renewable energy sources, using smart grid technology, deploying electric vehicle charging stations, developing carbon sequestration systems and modernizing the electrical network.

To accomplish these objectives, KEPCO will use superconducting cables in parts of its transmission and distribution systems. Additionally, the company and its technology partners are exploring the use of direct current superconducting cable for transmitting renewable energy around the peninsula. "This is a very aggressive plan for deploying superconducting cable," said Jack McCall, director of business development T&D systems, at American Superconductor.

To provide the superconducting cable for this and other projects, the South Korean company LS Cable has ordered roughly 1,800 miles of Amperium superconducting wire from American Superconductor. Amperium is a proprietary, high-temperature, superconducting, thin, ribbon-shaped wire capable of conducting more than 100 times the electrical current of a copper wire of the same size. LS Cable will use the wire to make the superconducting cables that will be deployed in the electrical system.

The 3 million meter order is believed to be the largest superconducting wire purchase ever for an electric grid project. "This contract helps ensure we will have the wire we need to complete the superconductor cable projects we have under way with KEPCO in Korea and also take on commercial project opportunities globally such as Tres Amigas in the United States," said LS Cable President Jong-ho Son.