Latest Technology Developments

Latest Technology Developments

Improve your site options for substations with the latest developments in technology

Electrical Engineering recently posted an article on site selection considerations for a future power substation. It discussed key criteria such as footprint, location and site evaluation considerations from an economical, technical and community impact perspective.

Factors that influence site selection can be driven by the components within key assets of a substation. Transformers in particular, play a large role in footprint layout and in turn the site that is selected.

Product technologies can also have a positive effect on the economical, technical and environmental requirements for the construction of a substation. Exploring the elements mentioned in the article further, we look at how recent technologies can beneficially impact the criteria for choosing an ideal substation site.

  • Land, Vegetation and Soil – Natural esters allow for tighter tolerances in transformer design and specification thus leading to smaller transformers which in turn reduces the amount of land required. As natural esters pose a much lower fire risk, alterations in construction can be made to yield smaller transformers which have a smaller overall footprint. overall footprint. Composite dry insulation bushings can reduce the risk of leaks as no oil is contained in the bushing. High temperature transformers can reduce the amount of safety clearance required around substation assets, thus allowing you to build more compact designs within smaller land spaces. With smaller less restricted construction comes the advantage of a broader choice of land options and a reduction in the regional distance required for a site. 
  • Topography – If circumstances confine you to building within flood prone areas you can mitigate the risk with the use of biodegradable natural esters.
  • Water – Due to their biodegradable, non-toxic and non-hazardous characteristics, natural esters are suitable for use in areas where soil and water impact are of concern.
  • Protected Areas – Natural esters are environmentally friendly.
  • Community Planning – Smaller transformers can reduce the space required which can be quite attractive for urban areas. The risk to nearby infrastructure and population are also decreased.
  • Community Involvement – natural esters from a public safety perspective and minimal impact to public land.
  • Access - few access requirements due to the installation of smaller transformers and number of associated assets. 
  • Pollution – Due to the environmentally friendly characteristics of natural esters, if there is a spill, the impact on the environment is minimal and spill rectification costs are reduced.

In addition to the above two other aspects to consider would be:

  • Fire - Fire mitigation measures can be minimised with use of natural esters - as an alternative to mineral oil - due to the decreased risk of fires as a result of the higher flash point.
    • As a flow on effect from the reduced fire risk the level of deluge measures required can be reduced. Thus minimising the need for bulk water tanks and filtration systems to remove deluge water via bundings.
    • Composite dry insulation bushings can reduce the risk of fires as no oil is contained in the bushing. 
  • Capacity – The benefit of smaller footprint transformers is that they can run at a 20% higher capacity when natural esters are used. Subsequently, you can consider reducing the number of transformers and/or allocated space required when planning for additional transformers. Thus providing you with future growth and redundancy on smaller land leading to economic benefits now and in the future.

The financial benefits that can be gained from the implementation of new technologies include;

  • A decrease in the rate of asset replacement
  • Reduction in routine maintenance
  • A potential reduction in insurance premiums due to increased fire safety
  • Optimisation of inventory management
  • Support of supply chain sustainability