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Aramon thermal plant draws on former experience

Better protection no matter the source


Thermal power plant Aramon has been generating power since 1977, and in 2009 fed 240GWh of power into the national grid, but aging protection hardware needed replacing as part of a major refit to the station. The owner, EDF, wanted to replicate a new high-specification installation delivered to its other facilities by ABB.

Aramon is located in southern France, and produces electricity from oil to provide essential flexibility to the generated supply. While the bulk of France’s electricity comes from nuclear sources, other, more flexible generation sources are needed to keep pace with changes in demand for electricity. This is where high-performance fossil-fuel stations like Aramon come into play.

The protection system used at Aramon had been supplied by Brown, Boveri & Cie (BBC), and was based on GSX5 generator protection hardware. In 1988 BBC merged with ASEA to form ABB, so EDF came to ABB looking for a replacement.

ABB solution

The decision to use ABB wasn’t based on the historical work, but rather on more-recent installations at EDF’s other generation facilities. Those installations comprised REG670 generator protection devices, which comply with the highest regulatory standards, ie, for use in nuclear fuelled plants. While Aramon is not a nuclear plant, EDF wanted the highest-spec protection devices for the oil-fired power plant.

Two REG670 relays have been installed at Aramon to protect the main transformer in the station, with two more protecting the generator. The auxiliary transformer and generator are similarly protected, making for a total of four REG670 installations across the plant, providing full redundancy.

Customer benefits

With the GSX5 equipment at the end of its operational life, the customer needed an effective replacement, fitted with the minimum of operational impact. With the REG670 the customer got a good deal more.

As part of the Relion family the REG670 supports the core values of the IEC 68150 standard, providing additional functionality as well as future-proofing the installation.

ABB advantage

It was ABB’s experience with high-spec installations that impressed EDF, along with the professionalism of the installers and the operational effectiveness of the equipment. ABB was able to bring in the engineers who had fitted out a nearby high-spec facility, bringing not only their irreplaceable experience of installing and operating the equipment, but also photographs of the installed hardware to simplify the siting and physical design.

With that technical knowledge, and experience working with EDF, the installation of the new REG670 IEDs was accomplished with the minimum of disruption.

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