Substations overcome urban space constraints in Singapore

2015-09-24 - Compact gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) technology enables substations to “hide” in the city, while boosting transmission capacity and enhancing grid reliability.

Singapore is the second smallest country in Asia, with over five million people living on just 710 square kilometers. Modest in geographical size but an economic powerhouse, the city is one of the most densely populated metropolises in the world. Singapore’s annual electricity consumption is estimated at around 43 billion kilowatt hours and is expected to rise at over three percent per year over the next five years.

Singapore’s electricity network is one of the best performing power systems with the least and shortest electricity outages in the world. SP PowerGrid, a member of Singapore Power Group, manages this network, reliably and efficiently supplying energy to industrial, commercial and residential customers.

One of SP PowerGrid’s major challenges is to find space for the electrical substations needed to meet Singapore’s growing demand for power – for this is a city where transmission towers or overhead lines are nowhere in sight. The uniqueness of Singapore’s power system is that the transmission and distribution grid is fully hidden underground. This is made possible by urban substation solutions utilizing GIS technology, which supply power for the city to thrive on while overcoming space constraints and maintaining the aesthetics of the cityscape.

Network renewal for greater reliability

To address the increasing electricity demand, six new turnkey substations utilizing ABB’s compact 66-kilovolt (kV) GIS technology will be constructed across the island, including an underground substation. ABB will design, supply, install, test and commission the substations which include ELK-04 type GIS, IEC 61850 compliant automation, control and protection, and ancillary equipment.

The scope also includes replacement of aging equipment as part of the network renewal program for existing substations to cater for the increased peak demand, especially in commercial districts. Scheduled for completion in 2017, the substations will enhance grid reliability and mitigate transmission congestion.

Compact GIS technology enables a footprint reduction of up to 70 percent in the space occupied by a substation compared to conventional air-insulated switchgear installations. When deployed as an underground substation, up to 98 percent of the installation’s volume can be hidden underground. These innovative and proven indoor and underground solutions enable the most stringent requirements for power supply within urban areas to be fully met while allowing for easy maintenance access and future expansions.

ABB has been providing turnkey GIS substation solutions to SP PowerGrid since the 1970s. These include Singapore’s first 400/230 kV substations and numerous key high-voltage installations supplying reliable power to major industrial facilities in the chemical, water reclamation, refuse incineration, chemical and data center sectors, as well as the popular Sentosa Island resort that attracts more than 20 million visitors annually.

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