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Smart Power Transformer Station

File image.
by Staff Writers
Barcelona, Spain (SPX) Feb 27, 2009
Grupo ZIV's Zamudio Technological Park (Vizcaya) branch has endorsed the CIAD (Smart Centre for Distribution Automation) Project presentation. This project, which is being carried out by seven corporations and three Basque Country Technological Centres, will yield the first-ever Smart Power Transformer Station.

The execution period covers the period of October 2008 to December 2010, the budget for which is 4.47 million Euros. This R and D project is part of the ETORGAI Programme run by SPRI (Industrial Promotion and Restructuring Corporation) and the Department of Industry, Commerce and Tourism of Basque Country.

The CIAD XXI Project is lead by the companies ZIV PandC and INCOESA Consultores. Other participating companies include Usyscom, ZIV Medida, INCOESA Trafodis, GUASCOR Ingenierķa and ASIRIS, as well as the LABEIN, GAIKER y ZIV IandD Technological Centres. Forty (40) researchers will invest more than 70,000 hours of work into the project.

According to project managers, the vast majority of Transformer Stations - more than 300,000 in the Spanish power grid - are currently completely non-automated. Thus, "they are an insurmountable obstacle to automating the grid that connects the Stations to Medium-Voltage substations (MV) and Low-Voltage (LV) clients. This increases the cost and difficulty of operating the grid and has a negative effect on the electrical supply quality."

Benefits For Users
They further explain that currently, in the event of a failure in a Transformer Station (normally underground), "an entire block of houses are left without power and the power company only realizes this when they are notified by a user. The CIAD project's objective is to automate the entire grid - thousands of kilometers of underground transmission lines - and when there is a failure, to locate the problem and repair it, whether this is done by the Station itself or automatically."

The consortium members also point out that "until now, there had been a lot of talk about automating the power grid, but no one had invested in it. We aim to apply the automated technology existing in High-Voltage substations to the Low-Voltage grid through this project. Furthermore, we are doing so at a time when the number of power generators in homes and buildings is increasing. This means that stations will continue to grow and become more complex. We must not forget that before, users were just consumers, but now we are power generators, as well."

The benefits of the new Smart Transformer Station include making it possible to improve the quality of the power supply to end users, facilitate electrical distribution network operation, reduce the maintenance cost of new transformer stations and reduce power consumption.

"We hope that the project results in financially feasible systems that communicate more efficiently and gradually become more widely used," concluded the consortium entity managers.

Technological Objectives And Developments
In regard to the technological objectives and developments, the CIAD Project includes:

and Designing the control hardware components.

and Designing the system for connecting the Low-Voltage micro-grid to the Medium-Voltage grid through the Transformer Station.

and Designing the communications and protocols architecture.

and Analysing Transformer Station signals.

and Designing and developing necessary management software.

and Providing security and monitoring different "hot spots" through digital cameras. These are capable of detecting potential problems through digital image processing.

and Verifying functionality in the field in different types of power grids. Applying experience gained in this project to a project that covers all of Europe (SmartGrids) within the EU Seventh Framework Programme.

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