An energy answer is blowing in the wind

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Palm Bay company works on ways to boost power from turbines

Executives at Advanced Magnet Lab Inc., a 14-year-old company based in an industrial area here, see great opportunities in the national push toward clean energy, particularly when it comes to wind technology.

Advanced Magnet Lab believes it has developed the technology to pack lighter and smaller but more powerful superconductor systems to operate large wind turbines that could provide up to 10 megawatts of electricity — enough to provide power to more than 5,000 homes.

The company’s efforts in this area comes as clean energy is increasingly in the spotlight. During his prime-time news conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama mentioned boosting investments in clean energy and has made it a high-profile part of his first year in office, and a bill calling for the cap-and-trade of greenhouse gases has made its way through the House.

Currently, wind power generates about 1 percent of the electricity produced in the United States, but the Department of Energy’s goal is to boost that to 20 percent by 2030.

Advanced Magnet Lab is “in the right place, at the right time with the right technology,” said Mark Senti, Advanced Magnet Lab’s president. If wind power catches on, it would greatly boost the company’s fortunes and add another clean-energy sector to Brevard County and Florida’s fledgling portfolio of renewable power ventures, which already include solar research and bio-fuels.

“Their technology enables an entirely new class of renewable energy systems and presents an opportunity for a new industry,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and chief executive office of the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, who has reviewed the company’s technology and business plans.

“AML’s magnet technology is like nothing else available,” she said.

“Florida is the optimum renewable energy state,” Senti said. “We have the optimum solar and biomass resources. Florida’s offshore (wind) equals the total available solar and doubles even the most optimistic bio-mass potential.”

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