ABB will 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 new 230-kV substation and connection bay at the Juazeiro II substation will deliver power from a 156- MW 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.

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 state-of-the-art 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 which helps enhancing controllability and reliability while optimizing the customers’ costs.

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, which is a significant cost saving. Digital substations also require substantially less space, and increase safety for personnel because system supervision with digital equipment reduces the need for manual intervention and eliminates the possibility of dangerous electrical shocks in the substation control room.

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.