ABB's eco-efficient AirPlus™ technology delivered to Norwegian smart grid

ABB's eco-efficient AirPlus™ technology delivered to Norwegian smart grid

In the Stavanger region, Lyse Elnett is rising to the challenge and is making the city’s aging electricity network smarter and greener.

The Norwegian power utility Lyse Elnett is running the largest smart grid pilot project in Norway, where 25 secondary substations are automated in the city of Stavanger. For this project, ABB is the partner of choice to supply smart medium-voltage switchgear, low-voltage fusegear and the network management system. This smart grid is a great milestone for the network operators industry, but it is also a groundbreaker in another area, as Lyse Elnett installed eco-efficient gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) with ABB’s innovative AirPlus technology.

The coastal town of Stavanger attracts a lot of visitors, both for business and pleasure. The city is known as the oil capital of Northern Europe. It has been a major contributor to the Norwegian economy through oil exploration in the North Sea since the 1970s. It is also a hub for tourists with perhaps even more visitors coming to the region to embark on cruises to enjoy the stunning rugged scenery of the fjords.

In the city, the fourth largest in the country, the local utility is facing the challenge to upgrade and make the city’s aging electricity network smarter, so that it can handle growing demand. After 40 years of service, the existing medium-voltage equipment is about to reach end-of-life. Adding further to the challenges is that energy generation and consumption have become more volatile as the amount of renewable energy and electric cars connected to the grid are increasing.

To ensure safe, reliable and efficient operation of the network and optimize use of available space, ABB installed the compact SafePlus medium-voltage GIS into the existing substations. The SafePlus GIS allow fully motorized operation and remote control from the control center, which helps the utility to significantly reduce time spent to clear faults in the network. With sensor technology, accurate low-loss measurements and easy data management can be achieved.

Lyse Elnett has a firm commitment to making environmentally sound choices. To meet their requirement, ABB has equipped some of the gas-insulated switchgear with the eco-efficient AirPlus technology.

AirPlus is a gas mixture for GIS and is a climate-friendly alternative to traditional SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride), which is a potent greenhouse gas and traditionally used in gas-insulated switchgear. AirPlus is the first ‘green’ alternative gas on the market for medium-voltage switchgear and is part of ABB’s ongoing strategy to develop eco-efficient technologies. The switchgear units with AirPlus installed at Lyse Elnett offers the same reliability as conventional GIS, but with an insulation gas that has a global warming potential (GWP) of less than one.

“Sustainable development and limiting the impact on the environment is vital when developing the infrastructure of tomorrow. We wanted to be a pilot user of ABB’s climate-friendly gas-insulated switchgear with AirPlus to learn about this new technology first hand,” said Siri Torgersen Ravndal, Department Manager Smart Grid at Lyse Elnett. “For us, it was also important to get the same functionality as conventional switchgear, without the need to change our operation processes.”

Visit ABB at CIGRE, which will be held on August 26-31 in Paris, France to learn more about ABB’s eco-efficient switchgear offering and the AirPlus technology.

Notes:

GWP: The global warming potential describes how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain mass of the gas in question to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. GWP is expressed as a factor of carbon dioxide. 

Photo courtesy of Lyse Elnett AS

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