American Superconductor, Going Deeper Into Wind Power, Makes Moves in India and U.K.

One of the giants of the New England cleantech scene is making waves—or should I say, wind. Devens, MA-based American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC) said today it has received a new order for 17 wind-turbine electrical control systems from Inox Wind, based in India. Financial details weren’t given, but the company is touting it as a significant development.

Normally this wouldn’t really be news for us—the Inox partnership itself isn’t new—but the order is the latest in a series of moves that signify AMSC’s rise to prominence in the global power technology scene. Last week, the company said it had paid $8 million in cash to acquire a 25 percent ownership stake in Blade Dynamics, a U.K.-based maker of wind-turbine blades. And in bigger news for the company, fiscal year 2009 was AMSC’s first full fiscal year of profitability. The majority of the company’s revenues—which have been growing from quarter to quarter for about the past three years—come from its wind power business.

American Superconductor first entered the wind market in 2006-2007 when it acquired Windtec, an Austrian wind turbine and electrical systems company. In 2008, the company scored a $450 million contract to make power converters for Sinovel Wind Corporation in China. In 2008, AMSC also licensed its wind turbine design to Ghodawat Industries in India (which also placed a $20 million order for electrical control systems from AMSC last April). So Inox is AMSC’s second big wind turbine manufacturing customer in India.

AMSC was founded in 1987 by four MIT professors, including current CEO and chairman Greg Yurek. Before getting heavily into renewable energy and wind power, the company was best known for making high-temperature superconductor wire, which can carry more power than copper wire and can be applied to various smart-grid problems. AMSC has approximately 800 employees and has a strong presence in China and India.

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