AMSC Korea formed to focus on wind energy
American Superconductor Corporation has formed AMSC Korea to serve South Korea’s rapidly growing wind energy and power grid markets. Headquartered in Busan, South Korea, the new division will provide local applications engineering, sales, business development and field service support for AMSC customers, which include LS Cable, KEPCO, KEPRI, KERI, Doosan Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
“Korea has long been a key area for AMSC given its focus on energy technology innovation and manufacturing excellence,” said Dan McGahn, senior vice president and general manager of AMSC Superconductors. “The country is investing billions of dollars to bolster its power grid and become a leading exporter of clean energy technologies such as wind turbines. With the formation of AMSC Korea, we can accelerate the adoption of our power electronics and superconductor solutions in the region while providing our local customers additional value-added support.”
In January 2009, the Korean government unveiled its national renewable energy plan under which renewable energy sources will account for a steadily increasing share of the energy mix between now and 2030. The plan, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy’s (MKE) New and Renewable Energy Division, covers such areas as investment, infrastructure, technology development and programs to promote renewable energy. The initiative, the MKE reported, will cost 111.5 trillion won (about US$85.8 billion) between now and 2030, of which nearly a third will come from the government. Of that amount, 100 trillion won (about US$76.9 billion) has been allocated for the promotion of renewable energy and 11.5 trillion won (about US$8.8 billion) will be used to develop green technologies. Korea also is expected to be one of the world’s largest exporters of renewable energy technologies, including wind turbines.
Over the past decade, South Korea’s peak power demand has increased approximately 68 percent, placing significant strains on the country’s power grid. The country is investing aggressively in grid technologies to support Korea’s economic growth and its increasing supply of renewable energy.
AMSC has close relationships with several South Korea-based enterprises engaged in the development of superconductor technologies and wind energy systems. Among them is the Korea Electric Power Research Institute (“KEPRI”). AMSC announced that it had been contracted by KEPRI to perform transmission planning studies to optimize 22.9kV superconductor solutions for the Korea Electric Power Company’s (“KEPCO”) Icheon substation. KEPRI is wholly owned by KEPCO, South Korea’s only electric power distributor.
AMSC also has a long-standing relationship with LS Cable Ltd., Korea’s largest power cable manufacturer. AMSC announced separately that it has formed a strategic alliance with LS Cable to advance commercial sales of superconductor cables. AMSC has supplied LS Cable with its proprietary high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire for a series of superconductor power cable demonstrations since 2005.
Engineering, procurement and construction contractor Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd. (Doosan) is another AMSC customer. Doosan has utilized approximately 5,000 meters of AMSC’s HTS wire to develop and demonstrate a compact, high-efficiency superconductor motor for civilian and military applications. In addition, AMSC’s wholly owned AMSC Windtec™ subsidiary is in the process of developing a 3 megawatt (MW) full conversion wind turbine for Doosan.
In 2008, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), one of the world’s largest companies, licensed AMSC Windtec’s proprietary 1.65 MW and 2 MW doubly fed induction wind turbines. HHI installed and commissioned its first reference 1.65 MW wind turbine in June 2009 and plans to begin shipping wind turbines to customers by the end of 2009. HHI recently purchased 17 sets of wind turbine electrical systems from AMSC for its initial wind turbine production.