ABB technology to help resolve power outages within an hour by 2030

2014-03-26 - ABB’s latest smart grid technology to improve detection of fault location and help prevent outages in the city center of Tampere in Southern Finland.

The Finnish utility company Tampereen Sähköverkko (TSV) is aiming to resolve outages within an hour by 2030 by using the latest ABB smart grid technology to find causes for power distribution disturbances and outages faster and to make fault localization easier and operations faster.

Pre-empting faults

In a joint pilot project with the Tampere city distribution system operator, automation cabinets will be integrated into 24 secondary substations, including distribution transformers, which are located around the city center. Sensors measure network voltages, electrical currents in the cables and detect possible defects. The sensors also measure and monitor changes in the temperatures of transformers and secondary substations caused by the load, sending timely information on possible overload directly to a control center. Automatic fault isolation will work even faster and will allow problems to be fixed before blackouts occur.

"Distribution grid automation is the quickest way to resolve faults without using any additional resources because more problems can be resolved from the control room," says Hannu Hoivassilta, Project Manager from TSV.

Frequently occurring overloads may also be a sign that a transformer is at the end of its life-cycle and the sensors will now allow TSV to actively manage its condition more precisely and organize maintenance programs more effectively.

Reliable power to critical areas

The secondary substations selected for the pilot will supervise and secure the power supply to areas such as the university hospital, commercial buildings and department stores, and the ice hockey stadium. The aim is to complete the work before the summer. In the future, automation upgrade will also extend to the overhead line networks in the city area.

"We have a total of 1,500 secondary substations in the medium-voltage network. Our goal is to upgrade about 200 of them to include intelligent automation. This pilot will create the technical and economic basis for the upgrade of the existing stations," says Hoivassilta.

Well-established cooperation

TSV started to automate its network together with ABB in the 1980s when the Becos 30 distribution control system manufactured by Brown Boveri Company was changed to ABB’s MicroSCADA system and the reliability of the rural areas’ overhead line network just outside Tampere city was also improved at the same time with ABB's automation solutions.

ABB and TSV experts have worked closely together to design the solutions for this pilot project. The products are standardized and well-documented ensuring that TSV is able to add new devices and functions in the future.

"Our partnership with the ABB team has worked very well. It has been useful that the designers and installers are working in the Tampere region, which enables checkups on sites on short notice," says Hoivassilta.

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