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Power transmission constraints resulting from the slow growth of transmission
systems relative to the large growth in the demand for power have played a
major role in higher electricity prices and reduced reliability in many areas across
the United States in recent years. This report summarizes the results of two
RAND studies that investigated the potential effect of high-temperature
superconducting (HTS) technologies on the U.S. power grid.
In the first study, which was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
and performed under the auspices of RANDs Science and Technology Policy
Institute, RAND reviewed the evolution of the U.S. electricity market under
deregulation, identified electricity transmission constraints, and made
engineering comparisons between conventional power components and those
based upon HTS technologies. That study was begun in July 2000 and concluded
with this report. In the second study, which was supported by the National
Renewable Energy Laboratory, RAND analyzed the effects of HTS transmission
cables in realistic grid situations using power-flow simulations performed for
RAND by PowerWorld Corporation. HTS cable manufacturer Pirelli Cables and
Systems provided engineering data required for these simulations.
The second study was conducted from June 2001 to January 2002. This report
integrates the results of those two studies to draw conclusions concerning ways
in which HTS cables could be deployed in the future to increase grid reliability
and power transfer capacity. This report also compares the energy use and
acquisition and operating costs of HTS and conventional power technologies.
This report should be of interest to individuals and organizations that generate,
transmit, distribute, use, or regulate electric power, all branches of government
that deal with electric power systems, and individuals and organizations that
sponsor or perform research and development on superconducting and related
Originally created by Congress in 1991 as the Critical Technologies Institute and
renamed in 1998, the Science and Technology Policy Institute is a federally
funded research and development center sponsored by the National Science
Foundation and managed by RAND. The Institutes mission is to help improve
public policy by conducting objective, independent research and analysis on


policy issues that involve science and technology. To this end, the Science and
Technology Policy Institute

supports the Office of Science and Technology Policy and other Executive
Branch agencies, offices, and councils

helps science and technology decisionmakers understand the likely

consequences of their decisions and choose among alternative policies

helps improve understanding in both the public and private sectors of the
ways in which science and technology can better serve national objectives.

Science and Technology Policy Institute research focuses on problems of science

and technology policy that involve multiple agencies. In carrying out its mission,
the Institute consults broadly with representatives from private industry,
institutions of higher education, and other nonprofit institutions.
Inquiries regarding the Science and Technology Policy Institute may be
directed to:
Helga Rippen
Science and Technology Policy Institute
1200 South Hayes Street
Arlington, VA 22202-5050
Phone: (703) 413-1100 x5574