ABB to help enable first digital substation in Latin America

ABB will install Latin America’s first digitally-enabled substation in the city of Juazeiro, northeastern Brazil. The 230-kilovolt (kV) substation and connection bay at the Juazeiro II substation will deliver power from a 156-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic (PV) power plant under development in the area.

The Juazeiro solar project is owned and operated by UK-based investment firm Actis and its renewable energy arm in Latin America, Atlas Renewable Energy. Atlas oversees more than 1,500 MW of solar PV assets in operation, construction or advanced development. When fully operational, these projects are intended to produce enough clean energy to power more than 350,000 households, reducing CO2 emissions from conventional generation by more than 1.5 million tons.

ABB will deliver the entire Juazeiro substation and provide a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) for protection and control as well as SAM600 merging units in the switchyard, all conforming to the IEC61850 open communications standard. Copper cables will be replaced with digital fiber optic cables. The digital substation is an ABB Ability based technology.

A substation works like the heart of a power grid, transmitting and distributing electricity to distant locations, so safety, security, reliability and efficiency are essential. Switching to digital fiber optic connections can reduce the quantity of copper wire needed in a substation extensively. Digital substations also require less space, and increase safety for personnel because system supervision with digital equipment reduces the need for manual intervention.

In 2017, ABB completed an upgrade of a similar project in a substation in New York City, where digital technologies have been applied to the system supplying power to hundreds of thousands of customers in Manhattan. ABB also recently won an order from TAURON Dystrybucja SA, one of Poland’s leading power utilities, for the first digital substation installation in Poland.

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