AMSC, a Devens company specializing in energy technology, said Thursday that it is unveiling a new wind turbine design that is better suited for low-wind areas, such as those close to cities.
Many high-wind areas are already saturate with wind farms. And among other things, the new design has the potential up new markets in regions with less wind, the company said.
Current wind farms are often located in windy rural areas far from population centers. But bottlenecks in the transmission system can make delivering energy over long distances a challenge, said AMSC, which is formally known as American Superconductor Corp.
The new AMSC turbine design seeks to reduce that problem by allowing wind farms to be located closer to where the energy will be used. In theory, shorter distances means fewer bottlenecks and the more efficient delivery of electricity.
The new design also means wind farms can now be “economically compelling” in areas not known for high winds, the company said.
Some current AMSC wind turbine designs for high wind areas have a rotor diameter of 93 meters. The new design has a rotor diameter of 113 meters, said AMSC, which sells turbine designs to wind-turbine manufacturers as well the components that connect a wind farm to the power grid.
One analogy used by the company is that in comparison to current wind turbines, the new low-wind turbine design is like equipping a sailboat with a larger sail.
“Low wind speed turbines are expected to open up new markets in regions that are already saturated with wind farms, such as southern Germany and parts of the United States and emerging markets such as the Middle East and Africa,” AMSC said in its press release.
The release included a statement from company chief executive Daniel P. McGahn, who said: “We believe that AMSC’s new low wind speed turbine makes it possible to achieve a low cost of energy at the low wind speed sites that were previously inaccessible or not economically compelling. The new low-wind speed design is expected to lower the cost of energy by as much as 12 percent compared to previous AMSC designs, increasing its competitiveness with traditional fossil fuels.”
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