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ABSTRACT: The development of superconducting systems for electric power is driven by the promise of improved efficiency, smaller size, and reduced weight as compared to existing technologies and by the possibility of new applications. Superconducting power components can also contribute to improved power quality and increased system reliability. This paper addresses historical developments and technology status of four superconducting power applications: cables, superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES), fault-current limiters, and transformers. Today, SMES is the only fully functional superconducting system and it has seen only limited use at grid power levels. A few model or demonstration units exist for each of the other three applications. Superconductivity faces several hurdles on the path to widespread use. Perhaps the most important is the need for operating voltages of 100 kV or more. Though progress in this and other areas has been rapid, considerable development is needed before superconducting devices perform reliably in the utility environment. As a result, today, most initial installations are aimed at niche applications and will be installed where space is limited, where power demands are increasing over existing corridors, and/or where initial development costs can be offset by enhanced power grid performance.
Proceedings of the IEEE 11/2004; · 5.47 Impact Factor