ABB to enable UK’s first digital substation – in Scotland

Az Zour 275kV Substation
Az Zour 275kV Substation

ABB has been selected to enable the first digital substation in the UK as part of SP Energy Networks’ Future Intelligent Transmission NEtwork SubStation (FITNESS) project.

ABB, a leading global technology company in power and automation, will contribute its grid automation technology to this project, which will enable a digital substation scheme to protect, monitor and control the transmission network in parts of Scotland.

The FITNESS project will see two bays of the existing Wishaw 275-kilovolt substation in Scotland being equipped with new fully integrated digital protection and control systems, which will also enable improved system visibility, diagnostics and operation. This area is of special interest as large quantities of wind power could be integrated into the grid.

Claudio Facchin, Power Grids division President, ABB, said: “This project will demonstrate how digitalized communications within a substation can increase controllability, facilitate the integration of intermittent renewables and improve safety by replacing copper cabling with fiber optics.

“A key element of our Next Level Strategy is to focus on enabling the automation of the grid in line with our Internet of Things, Services and People approach to help utilities improve reliability and ensure safe and clean energy supply to consumers.”

A digital substation is a key component enabling a smarter grid. Digital communications via fiber optic cables will replace traditional copper connections using analog signals, increasing safety, flexibility and availability, while reducing cost, risk and environmental impact.

Priyanka Mohapatra, Senior Project Manager, SP Energy Networks, said: “SP Energy Networks endeavors to deliver value for money for UK customers through the FITNESS project and bring innovative digital substation solutions that also enable optimization of asset investments.

“We are also expecting a saving in overall substation costs when digital technology is adopted as the UK norm, and a footprint reduction of around 15 percent.”

The digital substation aims to demonstrate the interoperability of ABB’s technologies with those of the other project partners. Methodologies to facilitate grid automation and interoperability through standardization, system design and testing are also becoming increasingly critical for the utility industry.

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