ABB (NYSE: ABB), the leading power automation technology group, has won an order worth around $26 million for high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) from SP Energy Networks, the Scottish Power company that owns and operates the power transmission and distribution network in southern Scotland.
ABB will design, supply and commission its recently introduced 420 kV GIS solutions at new substations being constructed in Hunterston and Wishaw and support the upgrade of the existing substation at Torness.
Scotland has traditionally relied on fossil and nuclear fuels and some hydroelectric sources for its electricity supply. This project is part of the government’s efforts to increase the share of wind power as part of its renewables portfolio. Scotland has abundant renewable sources and met 35 percent of its electricity demand from a generation mix including hydro, wind, wave, tidal, solar and biofuels in 2011.
Renewables will continue to play a key role in the future energy mix. Scotland has an estimated 25 percent of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal wave potential and 10 percent of the continent’s wave energy potential. Going forward, substantial investment will be required in transmission and distribution infrastructure to integrate renewable energy sources and transport power efficiently and reliably across the country.
“These substations will help integrate and deliver clean wind energy to the people and strengthen the transmission grid in the region, said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. ”We are pleased to support the development of Scotland’s power infrastructure with some of our latest offerings.”
In a power system, switchgear is used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment, thereby enhancing the reliability of supply. With GIS technology, key components including contacts and conductors are protected with insulating gas. Compactness, reliability and robustness make this a preferred solution where space is a constraint (e.g. busy cities) or in harsh environmental conditions.
ABB’s latest 420 kV GIS features a smaller footprint and also reduces the amount of SF6 insulating gas required, making it more eco-efficient. Another significant advantage is that it is factory assembled, tested, and shipped as one bay in a container instead of multiple assembly units, saving site installation and commissioning time compared with traditional designs.