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One of the most important functions in a superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) system when used for power conditioning, is the ability to charge the super-conducting coil as fast as possible to ensure that it is ready when it is next required. This paper describes a novel controller for a high-temperature SMES (HTS-SMES) that can ensure: 1) fast return of energy to the superconducting coil under constant-current mode and 2) a constant and sinusoidal input supply current irrespective of the varying load demand with and without harmonics. In the new HTS-SMES proposed, two hysteresis controllers are used, one to control the magnitude, phase and the waveform of the ac supply current, and the other is to control a dc chopper to regulate the SMES coil current. The first hysteresis controller ensures that as far as the power utility is concerned, the load appears to the utility system as a constant sinusoidal load with unity power factor irrespective whether the load is distorted or varying in nature. The second hysteresis controller has been designed to regulate the energy in and out of the superconducting coil. A special feature of this controller is its ability to smoothly charge the superconducting coil using constant current charging so that it can be ready for the next discharging operation as soon as possible. Analysis of the circuit operation under hysteresis control is presented in details. Simulation and experimental results are presented demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed power conditioning system.