American Superconductor is making 100 superconducting generator sets for China.
DEVENS, Mass. --Jan. 22, 2009--American Superconductor Corporation, a leading energy technologies company, today announced that it has received a multi-million-dollar order for 100 sets of its wind turbine core electrical components from China's CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Research Institute Co.(CSR-ZELRI), Ltd. The company will use the components in 1.65 megawatt (MW) wind turbines designed by AMSC's wholly owned AMSC Windtec™ subsidiary. Under the terms of the contract, AMSC expects to ship all of the core electrical components by the end of calendar 2009 to support CSR-ZELRI's increased production of wind turbines.The advantage of superconducting generators is that they weigh less. And the less the weight at the top of the tower the less material that is needed to make the tower. Doing more with less. Since capital costs are a very big component of the cost of wind energy lowering them lowers the cost of wind energy.
AMSC's core electrical components include the company's proprietary PowerModule™ PM3000W power converter and enable reliable, high-performance wind turbine operation by controlling power flows, regulating voltage, monitoring system performance and controlling the pitch of wind turbine blades to maximize efficiency. Introduced in late 2008, the PM3000W is a fully programmable, flexible and modular power converter developed specifically for wind turbines with power ratings up to 6 MW.
China has big plans for wind.
According to the Chinese Wind Energy Association [written in Chinese], China will grow its base of wind power from 5.9 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2007 to more 10 gigawatts in 2008. In its Global Wind Energy Outlook 2008 report, the Global Wind Energy Council estimates that China's installed base could grow to 101 GW by 2020 under its "moderate" outlook scenario and 201 GW under its "advanced" scenario.I think you have to divide those numbers by 3 to get the average power output. So 101 GW installed is equal to about 33 - 1 GW coal or nuclear plants. Not bad.
According to the Global Wind Energy Outlook 2008 report about 30% of the US investment in new electrical generating capacity is going into wind. And Turkey is ordering wind turbines like crazy. Wind is an excellent hedge against rising natural gas prices as the two types of generation are complimentary.
Cross Posted at Classical Values
Update: 02 Feb. 2009 02:41z
Commenter Keith says there are no superconductors involved. He is right. I let my wishful thinking run away with me. He does say AMSC is developing a 10 MW generator for offshore wind. Something I would not have known without my error. A 10 MW job is just about the limit with current blade technology. So that is very welcome news.