India is today a global hub for digital services, and transitioning from conventional to the digital power grid is the need of the hour. A digital substation will improve reliability, efficiency and safety supporting India’s Smart Grid Mission and Smart City vision.
Technopark, the largest IT park in India, located in Kerala with an area spanning 9,30,000 sq m, has installed India’s first 110 kilovolt (kV) digital substation and it is delivered by ABB India. Due to the nature of the industry, the campus is highly dependent on reliable, round-the-clock power to serve the 350 companies employing more than 50,000 people.
The IT park is on an expansion mode and is envisioned to become a self-contained township with potential to employ 1,00,000 people working in the fields of IT, biotechnology and nanotechnology, increasing the need for reliable power supplies for commercial and residential consumers.
How digital substation works
A digital substation is more compact, flexible, reliable, safer, cost effective over the lifecycle and simpler to maintain and extend than a conventional one. It is another example highlighting the integration of information and operational technologies (IT and OT) and will leverage digital communications via fibre optic cables that will replace traditional copper connections using analog signals.
It will improve flexibility, availability, reliability and safety, while reducing installation costs and environmental impact. The digital substation will also enable the drive for power management efficiencies by turning real time data into actionable intelligence and bringing cost efficiencies. It will be IEC 61850 compliant, ensuring open communication architecture.
Using fibre optic cabling instead of copper enables reduced cost through the direct savings on copper, optimised panel design and less civil work required to lay the cables. Thousands of traditional analog copper signaling wires between the high voltage equipment and the control room are also substituted with a few fibre optic digital communication buses (process bus). All this reduces installation cost.
Digitising signals at their source reduces the risk of electrical hazards to operators, creating a safer work environment. The substation equipment is also enabled for digital communication, which allows Technopark to monitor and maintain the equipment in an easier manner through real-time data.
A key component of the digital substation is ABB’s Standalone Merging Unit (SAM600), built to withstand the harshest environments. It fits alongside primary equipment, collecting information close to the source in the field, and converting it into IEC 61850 digital formats for control, monitoring and protection applications.
Image Courtesy: Technopark_India