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Power Substation Types

Updated on January 2, 2014

Power Substation:

An Electrical Power Substation receives electric power from generating station via transmission lines and delivers power via the outgoing transmission lines. Substations are integral parts of a power system and form important links between the generating stations, transmission systems, distribution systems and the load points. Various power substations located in generating stations, transmission and distribution systems have similar layout and similar electrical components. Electrical power substation basically consists of number of incoming circuit connections and number of outgoing circuit connections connected to the busbars. Busbars are conducting bars to which number of circuit connections is connected. Each circuit has certain number of electrical components such as circuit breakers, Isolators, earth switches, current transformers, voltage transformers, etc.

In a Power Substation there are various indoor and outdoor switchgear and equipment. Transformers are necessary in a substation for stepping up and stepping down of a.c voltage. Besides the transformers, the several other equipment include busbars, circuit breakers, isolators, surge arresters, Substation Earthing System, Shunt reactors, Shunt Capacitors etc . Each equipment has certain functional requirement. The equipment are either indoor or outdoor depending upon the voltage rating and local conditions.

In a large power System large number of Generating stations, Electrical Power Substations and load centers are interconnected. This large internetwork is controlled from load dispatch center. Digital and voice signals are transmitted over the transmission lines via the Power substations. The substations are interlinked with the load control centers via Power Line Carrier Systems (PLCC). Modern Power System is controlled with the help of several automatic, semi - automatic equipment. Digital Computers and microprocessors are installed in the control rooms of large substations, generating stations and load control centers for data collection, data monitoring, automatic protection and control.

Functions of Electrical Power Substations are:

  • Supply electric power to the consumers continuously
  • Supply of electric power within specified voltage limits and frequency limits
  • Shortest possible fault duration.
  • Optimum efficiency of plants and the network
  • Supply of electrical energy to the consumers at lowest cost

Types Of Electrical Power Substations:

Based ON Nature Of Duties:

Step up or primary Electrical Power substation:

Primary substations are associated with the power generating plants where the voltage is stepped up from low voltage (3.3, 6.6, 11, 33kV ) to 220kV or 400kV for transmitting the power so that huge amount of power can be transmitted over a large distance to load centers.

Primary Grid Electrical Power Substation:

Such substations are located at suitable load centers along with the primary transmission lines. At primary Grid Power Substations the primary transmission voltage (220kV or 400kV) is stepped down to secondary transmission voltages (110kV) . This Secondary transmission lines are carried over to Secondary Power Substations situated at the load centers where the voltage is further stepped down to Sub transmission Voltage or Primary Distribution Voltages (11kV or 33kV).

 Step Down or Distribution Electrical Power Substations:

Such Power Substations are located at the load centers. Here the Sub transmission Voltages of Distribution Voltages (11kV or 33kV) are stepped down to Secondary Distribution Voltages (400kV or 230kV). From these Substations power will be fed to the consumers to their terminals.

Basis Of Service Rendered:

Transformer Substation:

Transformers are installed on such Substations to transform the power from one voltage level to other voltage level.

Switching Substation:

Switching substations are meant for switching operation of power lines without transforming the voltages. At these Substations different connections are made between various transmission lines. Different Switching Schemes are employed depends on the application to transmit the power in more reliable manner in a network.

Converting Substation:

Such Substations are located where AC to DC conversion is required. In HVDC transmission Converting Substations are employed on both sides of HVDC link for converting AC to DC and again converting back from DC to AC. Converting Power Substations are also employed where frequency is to be converted from higher to lower and lower to higher. This type of frequency conversion is required in connecting to Grid Systems.

Based on Operation Voltage:

High Voltage Electrical Power Substation:

This type of Substation associated with operating voltages between 11kV and 66kV.

Extra High Voltage Electrical Power Substation:

This type of Substation is associated where the operating voltage is between 132kV and 400kV.

Ultra High Voltage Electrical Power Substation:

Substations where Operating Voltages are above 400kV is called Ultra High Voltage Substation

Based On Substation Design:

Outdoor Electrical Power Substations:

In Outdoor Power Substations , the various electrical equipments are installed in the switchyard below the sky. Electrical equipment are mounted on support structures to obtain sufficient ground clearance.

Indoor Electrical Power Substation:

In Indoor Power Substations the apparatus is installed within the substation building. Such substations are usually for the rating of 66kV. Indoor Substations are preferred in heavily polluted areas and Power Substations situated near the seas (saline atmosphere causes Insulator Failures results in Flashovers)

Indoor Substation
Indoor Substation

Based on Design Configuration:

Air Insulated Electrical Power Substation:

In Air Insulated Power Substations busbars and connectors are visibe. In this Power Substations Circuit Breakers and Isolators, Transformers, Current Transformers, Potential Transformers etc are installed in the outdoor. Busbars are supported on the post Insulators or Strain Insulators. Substations have galvanized Steel Structures for Supporting the equipment, insulators and incoming and outgoing lines. Clearances are the primary criteria for these substations and occupy a large area for installation.

Gas Insulated Electrical Power Substation:

In Gas Insulated Substation Various Power Substation equipments like Circuit Breakers, Current Transformers, Voltage Transformers, Busbars, Earth Switches, Surge Arresters, Isolators etc are in the form of metal enclosed SF6 gas modules. The modules are assembled in accordance with the required Configuration. The various Live parts are enclosed in the metal enclosures (modules) containing SF6 gas at high pressure. Thus the size of Power Substation reduces to 8% to 10% of the Air Insulated Power Substation.

Hybrid Electrical Power Substation:

Hybrid Substations are the combination of both Conventional Substation and Gas Insulated Substation. Some bays in a Power Substation are Gas Insulated Type and some are Air Insulated Type. The design is based on convenience, Local Conditions available, area available and Cost.

Gas Insulated Substation
Gas Insulated Substation


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      Ramesh kumar 3 years ago


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      raju 6 years ago


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      sightglass 7 years ago from Helsinki

      Great informative piece when power is your thing.