AMSC Acquisition Strengthens Grid Reliability for Renewable Energy

American Superconductor Corporation has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire Power Quality Systems, Inc. (PQS), valued at approximately $3.8 million. The acquisition is expected to close in April 2007.

PQS offers reactive compensation products known as Static VAR Compensators (SVCs), based on proprietary thyristor switch technology. Thyristor switches are the heart of many power electronic-based reactive compensation products, including SVC systems. These systems are used to regulate and stabilize power grid voltage, which increases grid reliability and allows more power to be transmitted over existing power transmission lines. Using PQS’s proprietary thyristor switch, AMSC expects to offer SVC systems that not only have a lower initial cost, but also lower energy and maintenance costs and a smaller footprint when compared with conventional products. “The proprietary technology PQS has developed and marketed over the past 10 years will significantly enhance AMSC’s reactive compensation product offerings,” said Greg Yurek, founder and chief executive officer of AMSC. “By combining PQS product offerings with AMSC’s control system technology and transmission grid engineering expertise, we expect to be able to more effectively address larger-scale SVC order opportunities from utilities. The addressable market for large-scale SVC solutions in the U.S. alone is approximately $100 million annually, and it is increasing rapidly as electric utilities focus on strengthening the nation’s transmission infrastructure.” AMSC’s current reactive compensation offerings for electric utilities include Dynamic-Volt-Ampere-Reactive systems, or D-VAR systems, and a dynamically controlled SVC solution, also known as a Dynamic VAR Compensator, or DVC system. Power Quality Systems has an installed base of more than 60 SVC systems with ratings of up to 28 megaVAR (MVAR) in North American utility grids and industrial sites.
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