Mountaineering – ABB substation masters challenging terrain in Northern India

2016-11-23 - ABB recently commissioned a hillside 400/220 kilovolt (kV) substation in the southern Himalaya range of Uttarakhand to evacuate hydroelectric power from the region

Terraced substation in Khandukhal, Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand’s gross domestic product has more than doubled in the last 10 years and its booming service industry and agricultural sector are fueling the demand for electric power. To meet the rising energy needs, state utility PTCUL (Power Transmission Corporation of Uttarakhand Limited) awarded ABB a contract to construct a transmission substation in Khandukhal, Uttarakhand. The substation has recently been successfully commissioned, and serves to evacuate power generated from the rivers of this northern Indian state and integrate it into the national grid.

Challenging logistics and terrain

The remote site and hilly terrain required innovative solutions and careful planning to master the challenges of moving heavy equipment and arranging the substation on uneven grounds.

The transport to site of equipment such as transformers weighing up to 120 tons was all the more difficult as roads had been damaged and bridges weakened by disastrous floods in 2012 and 2013, necessitating the reinforcement of roads and the connecting bridge at Khandukhal.

The AIS substation was built across 25 tiers with 34 meters difference in elevation

Accommodating the air-insulated switchgear (AIS) substation on the hill’s slope with an elevation difference of 34 meters between the highest and the lowest points was facilitated by a customized approach to design and structure. The solution included spreading the equipment across 25 tiers with walls up to 12 meters high and 2 meters wide to stabilize the tiers of the terraced substation.

“We commend the ABB team on their creative and problem-solving approach and their commitment to executing this challenging project at multiple tiers taking all safety measures,” said Deep Sah, Chief Engineer (Projects) at PTCUL.

As part of the turnkey contract, ABB designed, supplied, installed and commissioned the 400/220 kV substation including switchgear, power transformers as well as a reactor. Reactors are used for reactive power compensation, helping to increase energy efficiency on long transmission lines. The substation is also equipped with IEC 61850-compliant automation, protection and communication systems to enable local and remote monitoring and control of all substation assets.

ABB has previously built a 400 kV substation at Kashipur, Uttarakhand, successfully and commissioning the project on time, which laid the foundation for the award of the Khandukhal project.

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