Our modern lives are not conceivable without electricity. It runs everything from our workplaces to our homes and everything in between. Unfortunately, relatively few people are aware of how electricity is produced or how it gets to their houses. The substation holds the answer to both of these queries.
What are Substations?
An integral part of an electrical power system, a substation is critical in the transmission and distribution of electricity from the power plant to residences and businesses. It is a building that houses electrical apparatus for controlling the voltage and current of electricity flowing through the power system, including transformers, circuit breakers, switches, and relays. Power plants' high voltage, low current electricity is converted by substations into low voltage, high current electricity that may be used by households and businesses. Additionally, they guarantee that the power system's electricity is reliable, effective, and secure.
Types of Substations
There are various substation types, each with special characteristics and purposes. Following are a few of the most typical substation types:
A step-up substation is a structure that raises the voltage of electricity leaving a power plant so that it may be transmitted over greater distances more easily. Large transformers in these substations, which are often found close to the power plant and have the capacity to change the voltage from hundreds of thousands to millions of volts, are present.
A step-down substation is a structure that lowers the voltage of energy coming from the power plant so that residences and businesses may use it. The transformers at these substations, which have transformers that can reduce the voltage from millions of volts to hundreds of volts, are typically found close to residential and business areas.
A facility known as a distribution substation is one that distributes electricity to various components of the power system. These substations, which contain transformers, circuit breakers, and switches to control the flow of electricity, are typically found in residential and commercial settings.
A building that regulates the flow of electricity in the power system is known as a switching substation. These substations, which are often positioned at key intersections within the electrical grid, are equipped with switches, relays, and circuit breakers that can be used to connect or disconnect various electrical components as required.
A building that changes one type of electricity into another is known as a converter substation. These substations typically sit close to the wind and solar power plants and other renewable energy sources, and they are equipped with converters that can transform DC current into AC electricity or the other way around.
How does an electricity substation work?
The conversion of electricity into various voltages is one of the primary functions of substations. This is required so that power may be transmitted throughout the nation and into our residences, places of business, and other structures. Substations are equipped with specialized machinery that changes (or "switches") the voltage of electricity. Transformers are pieces of equipment that are located on the premises of a substation and are used to step up or step down the voltage. Electrical transformers use a fluctuating magnetic field to transmit electrical energy. They consist of two or more coils of wire and the difference in how many times each coil wraps around its metallic core will affect the change in voltage. This makes it possible to raise or lower the voltage.
Depending on where electricity is in its transmission path, substation transformers provide a variety of voltage conversion functions.
Substations are essential parts of the power system, and it is impossible to stress how important they are. Power grids require the ability to transmit electricity across vast distances, which is made possible by substations. Without substations, there would be substantial power losses and electricity would not be able to travel where it was intended to. Substations also aid in voltage regulation and guarantee that power is distributed evenly throughout the power system. This assists in avoiding costly and hazardous disruptions like power outages.
Trends and Developments
Substation automation has become more popular recently in conjunction with IOT. Technology is used in substation automation to reduce operational and maintenance costs while simultaneously enhancing plant output. It offers energy efficiency, dependability of the current electrical supply, high performance, safety of the electrical power network, and the incorporation of additional renewable energy into the current network.
Automation of energy substations requires the use of technology, such as specialized software, distinctive sensors, and apparatus that enables two-way communication. The intelligent electrical equipment employed includes a digital transducer, programmable logical control, and protective relays. This kind of device can be used to monitor and manage substation equipment. Such equipment also contributes to a reduction in the frequency and duration of power outages.
Smart grid technology helps to save energy and lessen energy losses during transmission and distribution while also maintaining and safeguarding distribution networks. Governments in many developing countries are now concentrating their expenditures on smart grid technology as a result of the considerable losses experienced by conventional electricity networks. Many of these benefits have led to major funding for smart grid development globally.
For instance, in September 2021, Relion relays from ABB aided Enel in automating and improving power distribution operations. The usage of Relion protective relays can reduce the frequency of power outages and downtime. It is estimated that the problematic network component's isolation time will be cut by 20%. Relays can communicate data via a communication network and are made for digital substations to increase operational safety.
The GE Group intended to oversee the installation of the increased digital monitoring, controls, and software systems found in the digital substation that GE and Bond announced in February 2022. GE would provide the connection and power balance required between the offshore wind farm and the point of connection to the New York power grid.
The foundation of electrical power systems is the substation. They are essential in the efficient and secure transmission and distribution of power to buildings and businesses. Anyone interested in electrical engineering or who wants to learn more about how electricity works needs to understand the many substation kinds and their purposes.