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T&D Around the World

The electricity industry has enjoyed a 60-year period of centralized state control. The past decade of regulatory reforms and market liberalization has brought about positive gains but not without considerable challenges. The International Energy Agency (IEA) study on security of supply in 2002 raised concerns on transmission system capacity in most IEA countries, especially the lack of investment on interconnections between regions.

Forecasts of investment in the power sector indicate that a total of US$10 trillion is required worldwide from 2001 to 2030. In Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, the estimated investment of US$4 trillion is divided among generation (50%), transmission (15%) and distribution (35%). Funds are being spent on T&D projects around the world as utilities focus on increasing system capacity and improving system reliability.


Libya is experiencing a growing demand for electrical energy and plans are in place to enhance network availability. A further long-term objective is a link-up of the Libyan grid with the UCTE European interconnected network. In October 2004, the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) signed a contract with Siemens for the supply of five network control centers, the order worth some 180 million euros (US$240 million) being the largest order received by the power systems control business in the Siemens Group.

In accordance with GECOL's expansion and modernization plans, in 2005 Siemens will begin to install new turnkey control centers in the regions of Tobruk, Benghazi, Tripoli, Zawia and Sebha. These five new control centers will collate the information from the remote terminal units (RTUs) installed in the regional 66/30/11-kV substations. Switching operations will be performed remotely from a main control room, enabling improved response to system disturbances and limiting the risk of blackouts.


Eletronorte, a generation and transmission operator with assets in the northern part of Brazil, decided in the year 2000 to interconnect its EHV network with the states of Acre and Rondonia in the western part of the country, close to the border with Bolivia. The benefits of this HV interconnection project are twofold:

  • To improve the energy balance between the states of Acre and Rondonia.

  • In the future, to bring the electricity produced in these remote areas closer to the main consumers in the central part of the country.

The project consists of constructing 230-kV transmission lines some 1300 km (808 miles), extending from Rio Branco and Porto Velho in the west to Vilhena in the east. It also includes the installation of 22 EHV substations. As part of this huge project, AREVA T&D (formerly ALSTOM's Transmission and Distribution sector) was chosen in September 2001 to supply the related telecommunications equipment for the EHV grid interconnection project.

The turnkey contract included implementation tasks such as network design and detailed studies, and equipment procurement, as well as final field tests and customer training.

The Eletronorte network also comprises a telecom remote management system located in Brasilia and local management systems in Rio Branco and in Porto Velho. All the remaining phases of the project will be completed by the middle of 2005.


The national utility Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) plans to refurbish the existing control center in the Qatari capital city Doha. In August 2004, AREVA's T&D division was awarded a 20 million euros (US$27 million) contract to install a modern SCADA distribution management system designed to efficiently manage the state's 11-kV/415-V electricity distribution network. The contract, due for completion in August 2006, also includes the supply and installation of 129 RTUs at each of the network's 129 primary and secondary substations. At the heart of the control system is AREVA T&D's powerful e-terra distribution software for managing electricity distribution networks.

This contract follows a previous successful contract in Qatar, under which AREVA T&D installed the National Control Centre that enables KAHRAMAA to efficiently manage its 220/132/66-kV transmission system.


The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) is constructing a 400-kV transmission line approximately 475 km (295 miles) long between Purnea in the state of Bihar in eastern India via Muzafarpur to Gorakhpur in the state of Utta Pradesh in the north of the country. This line will transit surplus energy from eastern India to the conurbations around Delhi, where the current demand exceeds the existing generation capacity. Siemens is supplying two thyristor-controlled series compensation systems and two fixed-compensation systems that will enhance the transmission capacity of the interconnector and ensure the stability of the 400-kV grid system. The contract is valued at around 25 million euros (US$33 million), and the installed systems are scheduled to commence operation in 2006.


In February 2004, ABB won a turnkey contract worth US$43 million to install Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) technology to help prevent power blackouts in Mexico. The contract, awarded by Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), the Mexican state-owned utility, will improve the efficiency of the transmission system and increase grid reliability in Mexico City and northern parts of the country.

The project includes the design, manufacture, testing, erection and commissioning of the entire system in three regions. The project is scheduled for completion in 17 months. The order includes ABB's Static Var Compensator (SVC) technology, which is part of the FACTS portfolio and helps to avoid grid overload. During the past 10 years, ABB has delivered 12 SVCs to CFE.


The Serbian State Power Supply Companies of Elektroprivreda Srbije and Elektroistok (based in Belgrade) have awarded Siemens a 34 million euros (US$45 million) contract for the installation of three 400-kV substations and the upgrade of an existing substation. The contract for the three new substations — Belgrade 20, Jagodina 4 and Sombor 3 — and the voltage upgrade of Sremska Mitrovica 2 substation includes 400-kV and 110-kV switchgear, power transformers, control, protection and communications equipment. All substation civil works and connections to the Serbian 400 kV and 110 kV form part of the main contract on which Siemens also proposes to use a number of local Serbian contractors. Construction on the four turnkey substations is scheduled to last about 27 months.

Serbia is currently expanding and modernizing its power supply network to be ready for future interconnection to the European Interconnected Network (UCTE).

South Africa

FACTS technology is to be installed to increase system transfer capacity in South Africa. Eskom Holdings Ltd., South Africa's national power utility, plans to invest US$16 million to replace the ABB series compensation equipment that was installed at Komsberg in the Western Cape in 1974 with four FACTS. The two installations in Komsberg at the 400-kV Bacchus and Proteus substations are scheduled for completion between December 2005 and May 2006. The optimal design of the series capacitors will increase the system transfer capacity.


Transmission system development in Venezuela will increase the country's power supply by more than 10%. To respond to Venezuela's growing demand for electricity, the state-owned power company, CVG Electrificación del Caronĺ, C.A. (EDELCA), is currently completing the development of the 400-kV transmission system that will ultimately increase the country's available power supply by more than 10%. In May 2002, three contracts were awarded to ABB to design and build a 400-kV substation and four 400-kV transmission lines that will connect the 2160 MW Caruachi hydropower plant with the country's transmission network.

The scope of the project includes:

  • The supply of all high-voltage equipment, associated switchyard equipment, computerized protection and control equipment.

  • Responsibility for the electrical and mechanical design for the substation.

  • Civil works, erection and the commissioning associated with each contract.

The total value of the project that had a scheduled completion date of March 2004 is US$41 million. When the power plant at Caruachi is fully complete in 2006, it will increase the country's generating capacity by around 10%. ABB supplied three similar substations and transmission lines to EDELCA as part of the interconnection between Venezuela and Brazil. These circuits were commissioned in 2001.


ELECTRICA, the electricity distribution and supply company in Romania, is structured with eight regional subsidiaries supplying more than eight million industrial, commercial and domestic customers. The company is investing in two major projects to improve the management of the utility and customer service.

  • An integrated information system (IIS) project started in 2002 with a two-year implementation period. It is a centralized system that will have a central and eight subsidiary data processing centers that are based on the use of IBM RISC and IBM INTEL servers.

  • The distribution automation system (DAS) project is designed to acquire, process and present data on the state and performance of the distribution network for the remote control and automatic reconfiguration of the network in the event of a fault. The DAS will significantly improve the operation, system efficiency and reliability of the distribution system, lowering the costs and enhancing the quality of services. For example, the current average system outage time following an MV overhead line fault is 350 minutes. With installation of the DAS installed, the outage will be reduced to five to 10 minutes per fault. ELECTRICA started system automation with the installation of auto-disconnectors followed by auto-reclosers. The current three-step DAS project in all eight regional subsidiaries is expected to be complete in 2025.


Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) is increasing the country's generating capacity and extending the existing 500-kV national grid. In December 2003, EVN awarded VA TECH a 40 million euros (US$53 million) contract to supply the equipment and construct the Phu My and Nhabe 500/225 kV substations and extend the existing Phulam 500-kV substation. The substations will be equipped with VA TECH 500-kV switchgear and VA TECH SAT digital control systems. The latter was one of five major 500-kV substations designed and installed by Schneider Electric, now VA TECH, in 1994 as part of EVN's 500-kV transmission system linking the north to the south of the country.

VA TECH T&D in France is the consortium leader working in conjunction with its Japanese partner, the Nissho Iwai Corp. All civil works on the project are nearly complete. Erection has started, and when commissioning is complete in June 2005, almost 3000 MW produced by Vietnam's largest power plant Phu My will be transmitted to the 500-kV national grid.


The state utility of Morocco, the Office National d'Electricité (ONE) awarded a 69 million euros (US$92 million) contract to AREVA T&D in March 2003 to supply on a turnkey basis three 400-kV substations and upgrade an existing substation. The three new 400/225-kV substations will be located at Mediouna, near Casablanca; Toual, near Meknes and Bourdim, near Ouda. Local contractors will be used for site civil and plant erection work. Equipment to be installed includes circuit breakers, power transformers, shunt reactors, control and protection equipment. The existing substation included in the contract located at Meloussa near Tangier will be extended.

This project is a further step to strengthen the country's transmission system and improve links with neighboring countries. Site work is well advanced, the project now being two-thirds complete.

Going Forward

With the emergence of a global economy, it is becoming clear that a robust power-delivery infrastructure is critical to a nation's commerce. Expect to see countries continue to build out their power grids using the latest in technologies to meet the needs of growing economies.

As a result of the increasing investment in T&D, it is evident that nations are now keen to seek the benefits of interconnection to the established intercontinental networks such as UCTE. These networks offer member states the opportunity of power-sharing and improved system utilization, thereby overcoming in the short-term the problems created by a lack of investment in generation capacity.

About the Organizations

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) encompasses 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. In addition to providing statistics, the OECD addresses economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is the energy forum supported by 26 industrialized countries. IEA member governments are committed to taking joint measures to meet oil supply emergencies. They also have agreed to share energy information, to coordinate their energy policies and to co-operate in the development of rational energy programs. These provisions are embodied in the agreement of an International Energy Program, which established the agency in 1974.

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