ABB is to participate in the FITNESS ("Future Intelligent Transmission NEtwork SubStation") project of SP Energy Networks, a UK-based DSO, along with other partners. ABB will contribute its grid automation technology to the project, which will enable a digital substation scheme to protect, monitor and control the transmission network in parts of Scotland.
A digital substation is part of the ‘smarter grid’ concept. Digital communications via fibre optic cables will replace traditional copper connections using analog signals, which should increase safety, flexibility and availability, while reducing cost, risk and environmental impact. Digital substations also incorporate Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs)with integrated information and communication technology. An IED is a microprocessor-based protection and control device for power equipment, such as circuit breakers, transformers and capacitor banks.
The FITNESS project will see two bays of the existing Wishaw 275 kV substation being equipped with new fully integrated digital protection and control systems, enabling improved system visibility, diagnostics and operation. This area is of special interest as large quantities of wind power could be integrated into the grid. ABB will deliver a suite of digital substation components, including IEDs, non-conventional instrument transformers, merging units, and phasor measurement units that are nterfaced with the IEC 61850-9-2 process bus architecture and with the wide area monitoring platform.
"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 fibre optics" said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Grids division. "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%" said Priyanka Mohapatra, senior project manager, SP Energy Networks."
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 standardisation, system design and testing are also becoming increasingly critical for the utility industry.
The FITNESS project, will run for four years from April 2016 with the aim to demonstrate a fully integrated multi-vendor digital substation solution with associated protection, control and monitoring. The project will deliver the UK’s first live digital substation automation system and is funded as part of the RIIO Network Innovation Competition.