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First digital transformer substation activated in Lithuania

A digital high-voltage transformer substation, the first of its kind in the Baltic countries, was connected to Lithuanian power system. The substation is Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator’s Litgrid pilot project, aimed at assessing the benefits of digital substations for the power system.
“The process of moving towards digital substations worldwide is slow, however, in the future they will become a backbone of transmission networks as they provide maximum security and can accumulate a lot of information. This is very important for a transmission network that carries electricity in huge amounts and across long distances. Digital changes reflect a technology revolution taking place in the energy sector which seeks to improve the existing energy transmission methods and to introduce innovations that meet the increasing requirements for the network security, reliability and efficiency”, - says Daivis Virbickas, Litgrid’s CEO.
All copper cables connecting high-voltage equipment were replaced with optical fibre cables in a small 110 kilovolt (kV) switchyard of Vidiškės substation located in the Ukmergė district. The reconstruction of the switchyard took over two years. Normally, between ten and twenty copper cables with the length varying from 50 m to 600 m are used in a switchyard. Both the number and length of optical fibre cables connecting the elements of the switchyard have been reduced considerably.
“Optical fibre cables mean that automatic communication between equipment takes place at a much higher level. Our engineers faced the task of implementing such technology for the first time but the benefits of digitalisation became apparent even before the end of the reconstruction. The new equipment is more compact, lighter and safer”, says Daivis Virbickas.
More accurate and reliable information reaches the control centre via the digital equipment of the Vidiškės substation. There is a real-time control of the equipment status, the data is analysed remotely by the diagnostics system, and recommendations for required repair works are provided automatically.
It is estimated that the digitalisation of a large transformer substation can cut costs by 20 to 30 %, and the period of reconstruction is shorter due to a smaller volume of design and installation works. There are over 230 transformer substations (110 to 330 kV) in Lithuania, with the majority of them constructed several decades ago.
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