Digital substation provides autonomy and operational reliability

tor 14 feb 2019 09:30:00

Empower and the Austrian company Sprecher Automation will realize the Fingrid's first digital substation in Finland at Pernoonkoski, near Kotka. This is a pilot project for Fingrid, Finland’s transmission system operator, and the goal is to garner experience and outline the possibilities of digital technologies in a substation environment. The value of the agreement signed in January 2019 is approximately EUR 3.5 million.

During the renovation of the Pernoonkoski substation, two digitalised fields will be built at the station alongside the traditional system, whereby the protection and control systems of the cable output fields are implemented with a fibre optic network and optical current transformers besides the traditional systems. Fingrid’s first digitalised substation will be taken into use in the autumn of 2020.

– Our objective is to develop a reproducible digital station concept for both new substations and old ones being renovated. In a digital station, all data moves in a local area network, via fibre optic connections, which decreases the amount of traditional cabling by up to 90 percent. At the same time, systems can be packed in a smaller space and the number of devices can be reduced, says Daniel Kuosa, construction manager at Fingrid.

A reduced need for space means a substation that is more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, in terms of both construction and maintenance. Furthermore, fibre optic connections guarantee rapid data transfer and enable autonomy of devices in terms of condition control. Customers can see enhanced condition control as a decrease in interruptions of electricity distribution.

– One of our key goals is also to have the digital substation monitor itself and alert if something is about to break down. For customers and society at large, this ultimately means greater cost-efficiency and fewer interruptions, Kuosa continues.

The digitalisation project of the Pernoonkoski station is a significant step forward for Empower in next-generation electrical grid solutions, enabling the integration of new and old competence into a new type of package. The group has solid expertise of the implementation of both connectivity and electrical grid solutions, and the digitalisation of the Pernoonkoski substation illustrates well how essentials of a smart society must be combined to implement an efficient whole.

– Implementing sustainable energy solutions requires increasingly faster data communication links, which enable us to use sensors to collect data that can be analysed in maintenance, to move from time-based to maintenance-based measures on situational awareness and signals, and to ensure an electrical grid with greater reliability of operation. For instance, the system at the Pernoonkoski substation can be programmed beforehand to simulate different situations occurring at the substation, ensuring that the station can control itself even during exceptional circumstances, says Pertti Menonen, Head of Projects at Empower.

– Digitalisation of the substation environment provides an opportunity for learning and experimenting with new things, alongside traditional electrotechnical implementation. In this project we will test, in practice, optical devices from various manufacturers for comparison purposes. Future implementation of substations require a new kind of competence, and the Pernoonkoski projects also gives us an excellent opportunity to develop our own expertise, says Ville Seppänen, substation project manager at Empower.

We are very proud that Fingrid selected us as the technology supplier for the digitalisation project at Pernoonkoski. This trailblazing project will provide valuable experience of technologies and automation needed for digitisation, and have an impact on future development, says Stefan Hofer, area sales manager at Sprecher Automation.