Secretary Richardson, Governor
Roy Barnes Dedicate Largest Superconducting Cable Installation
Partnership Results in
Power Transmission Breakthrough
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2000
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
John B. Townsend II, 202-586-5806
The first industrial application of high-temperature
superconducting cables to transmit electricity were dedicated today
by Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, Georgia Governor Roy Barnes
and Southwire Company Chairman Roy Richards. The three cables will
carry electricity to the Southwire Companys headquarters in
Carrollton, Georgia to power three manufacturing plants.
"This is an exciting first step toward
the practical deployment of superconducting technology which promises
to do for electric transmission what fiber optics is doing for communications,"
said Richardson as he threw the switch activating the high temperature
superconducting cables. "These cables, developed through a
partnership of the Energy Department and the private sector, will
move larger amounts of electricity using the same space or less
space than traditional cable, increasing energy efficiency, enhancing
grid reliability and reducing costs for businesses and consumers."
Superconductivity is the ability of special
materials to carry large electrical currents without resistance
energy losses. The installation dedicated today is the culmination
of a $15.3 million joint venture funded equally between the private
sector and the Department of Energy (DOE). In 1998, the Energy Department
began working in partnership with the Southwire Company to support
research into manufacturing methods for wires cables that would
make the most use of the new technology.
"This announcement is another example of
Georgias leadership in technology" said Georgia Governor
Roy E. Barnes.
"As the global population continues to
boom and the world economy grows, those involved in the distribution
of electricity will have to explore new ways of delivering power
to blossoming customer bases," said Roy Richards, Jr., Southwires
chief executive officer. "Southwire Company is excited to play
a part in one of the solutions - high temperature superconducting
cables. For years, superconductors have represented the promise
of more energy-efficient and cost-effective electrical power delivery.
The live installation of this HTS system is a giant step forward
in making that promise a reality.
Scientists have long known about superconductivitys
potential as an energy source. However, because it required such
low temperatures to function, it was deemed impractical as an electric
transmission medium. In the late 1980s, Nobel-prize winning discoveries
of a new class of superconducting material which would operate at
higher temperatures made it economical to exploit the energy advantages
of superconductivity for the first time.
Following the discovery of the new class of
material, researchers continued to seek a way of converting these
materials into a wire or cable capable of carrying an electrical
current. The material was ceramic in nature and not conducive to
wire fabrication like copper or other metals. Efforts lead by and
funded by the Energy Department resulted in new cable fabricating
technology which allowed use of the ceramics in a wire and thus
made them available for the transmission of electricity.
These new wires have 100 times the carrying
capacity of conventional copper wire and transmit power with much
less loss of electricity along the way. Because the materials are
more energy efficient and require much less area to transmit the
same amount of electricity, the process reduces the need for new
power lines and generating plants.
The DOEs Superconductivity program is
backed by a research budget of $31.4 million in FY 2000. The Fiscal
Year 2001 budget request recently submitted to Congress includes
$32 million for additional superconductivity research and development
Other partners in the project dedicated today
include Intermagnetics Corporation, Plastronics-EURUS, Southern
Company Services, Georgia Transmission Corporation, Southern California
Edison, the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory
and the Department of Energys Argonne National Laboratory.
The Department of Energy researches, develops,
and deploys clean, efficient and renewable energy technologies to
help meet Americas energy needs while protecting the environment
and strengthening the economy. Energy technologies supported and
promoted by the department will play a key role in providing Clean
Energy for the 21st Century.
- DOE -