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Classifications of Electrical Power Substation

Updated on December 8, 2014

Installing an electrical power substation is a very challenging task and requires a lot of effort as well as knowledge. A very few number of people know about the whole process of installing power substation. Since I am not an expert in electrical engineering and my field is not either electrical substation, but I am a huge fan of electrical components especially on the electrical transmission and distribution department. This article for intended for a mature learners who want to develop their knowledge of power sector.

The definition of an electrical power substation

An electrical power substation receives power from different sources of power generating stations (hydroelectric, solar, wind, solar, coil etc) and responsible for delivering the power to different end points through transmission lines. Usually substation receives high voltage electricity from power generating station and convert it to lower voltage electricity to the consumers. An electrical power substation is combined various types of electrical component, for example, Busbar, power transformers, switch gear, auxiliaries and so on. These components are sequentially connected to each other so that it can operate smoothly or can shut down under any unavoidable circumstance for example, short-circuits or unwanted firing. In short, electrical power substations are the central part of a power system and responsible for making connection with power station, transformers, transmission system and different load points.

Electrical power Substation


Classification of electrical power substations

There are four major types of substation can be categorized based on application, configuration, voltage level, outdoor or indoor uses.

Mobile Substation


Electrical power substation based on the Applications

  • Step up substation: This type of substation is associated with electrical power generating station where low power voltage is stepped up to high power voltage (3.3, 11 or 33 KV to 220 or 440K) so that it can transmit power to the long distance.
  • Primary grid electrical step down power substation: This type of substances is responsible for stepping down different ranges of voltage and generally located at the load center along with the main transmission line.
  • Distribution electrical power substation: This type of substations are located at the user end and responsible for step down voltages for feeding required voltage to consumers.
  • Industrial substation: This type of substations is similar to distribution substation, but dedicated only for industrial purposes where bulk voltages are needed.
  • Mining substation: These types of substations are mainly purposes for harsh environment and need special precautions. Mining substations can step voltage down from 36KV to 3.3KV or 250KV to 11KV.
  • Mobile substation: Mobile substation is required for temporary purposes where emergency voltages are needed for example construction sites.

Hybrid electrical power substation


Electrical power substation based on design

  • Air insulated Electrical Substation (AIS): This type of substation circuit breakers, Isolators, current transformer, transformer are installed on the outside. However, the connector and the Busbar are visible from outside.
  • Gas-insulated substation (GIS): This type of transformer uses dielectric gases called SF6, at a moderate pressure. In a GIS system circuit breakers, switches, voltage transformers and current transformers are kept in the SF6 intact environment. In GIS the active parts are protected from deterioration of air, moisture, and contamination of the external environment. Thus, it is called that GIS is more suitable than AIS system.
  • Hybrid Electrical Power substation: The hybrid system is a combination of both AIS and GIS technology and offers a greater flexibility of substation design. The Busbars of hybrid technology are comparatively cheap and the uses of SF6 gas makes all equipment intact and requires lower maintenance cost.

Electrical power substation based on voltage level:

  • Electrical Power Substation: A HVDC Electrical power substation converts direct current (DC) to Alternating current (AC) or the vice versa. Almost all the HVDC system converts the current in either direction. Power conversion from AC to DC is called rectification and Conversion of DC to AC is called inversion.
  • High Voltage Electrical power substation: High voltage Electrical substation is the node point of complex power transmission distribution. This type of substations operating voltage is between 11KV to 66 KV. They play a key role in transmitting large amount of power.
  • Extra High voltage (EVH) Electrical power substation: This type of substation operates between 132KV to 400KV.

Indoor Substation


Electrical Power substation based on indoor or outdoor

  • Indoor Substation: Indoor substation is generally installed inside the building and operates and 11KV to 33 KV. This type of substation is generally placed in the heavily polluted area or Harsh environment such as near the sea.
  • Outdoor Electrical power substation: This type of power station is installed in the open space where clean environment is available.
  • Underground Substation: This type of substation is located at the underground level where it is difficult to install a substation in the congested space.

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© 2014 Mohammad Tanvir Ibne Amin


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