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Departments of Homeland Security and Energy Join ComEd to Showcase Power of Innovation

High-temperature “Superconductor” technology designed to enhance grid resiliency for customers

CHICAGO (Sept. 30, 2021) – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) participated today in an event hosted by ComEd to spotlight technology that will enhance grid reliability for ComEd customers experiencing more frequent and severe storms due to climate change and reduce the impact of cyber and physical threats.

Developed by the American Superconductor Company (AMSC) and funded in part by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, the Resilient Electric Grid (REG) system uses a high-temperature superconductor wire that can carry 200 times the voltage of standard copper wire. This requires a refrigeration process that cools liquid nitrogen to minus 337 degrees Fahrenheit. The system injects the liquid nitrogen into the wire assembly to keep it cold enough to achieve superconductivity, which eliminates electrical resistance and energy loss. ComEd is the first utility in the nation to install the AMSC REG system into the grid.

"ComEd is providing our customers record levels of reliability, but we need to embrace innovation to continue to enhance the power grid and deliver the results families and businesses depend on," said Terence R. Donnelly, president and COO, ComEd. "We are grateful to DHS for its investment in this technology, and we are proud to be the first utility in the nation to permanently install it into the grid."

"Today's conference highlights how investments in science and technology can pave the way for new capabilities and new innovation," said Alexander Joves, regional director, DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. "We all know how critical the grid is to our everyday life, our economy, our national security and our well-being. Strengthening the security and resilience of critical infrastructure is a major mission of DHS."

ComEd will test and monitor the superconductor-based system over the coming year and evaluate connecting it to multiple substations, which would create a back-up system to keep power flowing in the event of a major power grid interruption.

Daniel P. McGahn, chairman, president and CEO, AMSC, believes the REG system enables electric utilities to think about the grid more like other networked infrastructure. "Traditional grid design has called for isolating substations, which enables utilities to protect their systems but that prevents them from being able to reroute power from one substation to another," he said. "The REG system allows for substations to be interconnected, creating the flexibility to provide a pathway to move power from one substation to another. Utilities that have deployed innovative technology, like ComEd, are well positioned to benefit from the REG system and enhance service to customers."

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Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit ComEd.com, and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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