S&C Wins EDF Smart Grid Wind Contract, Studies New Markets

S&C Electric Co., a Chicago maker of electric power systems equipment, won a smart grid contract on a Scottish wind park from a unit of Electricite de France SA and will target new markets with its voltage control technology.

S&C Electric Company Europe Ltd. will supply a system that helps smooth the power supply from the Fallago Rig wind farm developed by EDF Energy Renewables Ltd., S&C said today in an e-mailed statement.

Wind farms, promoted by nations including the U.K., Germany and France, produce more variable supplies of electricity than traditional fossil fuel plants.

Smart grid technology, developed by companies including American Superconductor Corp. and ABB Ltd. can help integrate wind power to the grid by controlling voltage, preventing outages and intermittency as demand surges. Smarter electricity networks are essential to transition to a low-carbon economy, Energy Minister Charles Hendry said April 24.

S&C’s system increases the quality of electricity, adding only a “couple of pence” to its cost over the lifetime of the wind farm, Andrew Jones, managing director of S&C Electric Europe, said by phone. The technology prevents effects such as light-switch flickering or damage to electrical appliances in homes by keeping voltage flat, he said.

The Fallago Rig project in the Scottish Borders could power 90,000 homes with 144 megawatts of capacity when built, according to the statement. Britain could generate 13 billion pounds ($21 billion) for its economy by upgrading its power network with smart grid technology by 2050, according to a report this month by consultancy company Ernst & Young LLP.

S&C plans to grow its business in South Africa, Romania, Greece and Turkey where clean-energy developers are increasingly adding projects, Jones said. The company, which has worked on more than 2,000 megawatts of wind worldwide, is currently doubling the size of its Franklin, Milwaukee-based factory to cope with global growth, he said.

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