Strengthening grid reliability in Africa

May 5, 2017 - ABB provides the largest installation of gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) in Africa to enhance power reliability in Johannesburg.

From a small mining township that was founded on the discovery of gold over a century ago, Johannesburg has developed into a bustling city and financial hub. It is a relatively young city compared to many of the world’s major cities and is the largest metropolis in South Africa today.

As growing urban center, Johannesburg’s power demands have substantially increased as its economy and population have grown. Investments have been made in building newer power infrastructure and upgrading existing installations, to provide reliable electricity to its people. Currently, over nine million people live in and around Johannesburg and, by 2030, the UN expects this to grow to over 11.5 million people.

The Sebenza substation, operated by City Power, a municipal utility owned by the City of Johannesburg, forms an integral part of the infrastructure development being witnessed by the metropolis. The Sebenza substation will help deliver the 30 percent additional electricity expected to be brought in to the grid. It is also expected to serve as the new interconnection point for Johannesburg’s north-eastern region and the national transmission grid. In addition to supporting the increase in power capacity, it will also strengthen the reliability and stability of the grid.

The Sebenza substation includes 38 bays of 132 kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) from ABB, the largest installation of GIS at this voltage level to be commissioned in Africa. Further supplies at the substation from ABB include 132 kV, 275 kV and 400 kV circuit breakers, surge arresters and point-of-wave controllers that remove electrical transients in the network. ABB will supply the equipment to Consolidated Power Projects (CONCO), an engineering, procurement and construction, company who is executing the overall project.

“Our robust high-voltage switchgear is designed to enhance grid reliability in all kinds of environments. ABB’s compact GIS solution helps minimize the footprint, optimize lifecycle costs and mitigate environmental impact. The 132 kV GIS bays for Sebanza were specially deployed to save precious space in the city, while meeting the growing electricity demands of the people,” said Giandomenico Rivetti, Managing Director of ABB’s High Voltage Products business unit, a part of the company’s Power Grids division.

ABB is a global leader in high-voltage technology, offering a comprehensive range of AC and DC products up to 1,200 kV that help to enhance the safety, reliability and efficiency of power networks while minimizing environmental impact.

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