For fifty years, ABB’s GIS installations have supported UNESCO landmarks and iconic structures
Fifty years ago, ABB pioneered GIS technology, which enhances power supply while conserving space and urban aesthetics, and it continues to shape how power is transmitted in 30,000 bays across the globe.
Hidden in plain sight within buildings, underground or on rooftops, ABB’s GIS technology is working behind the scenes to supply reliable power where it is most needed. A compact metal encapsulated switchgear that uses pressurized insulating gas, it enables safe operations in confined spaces while significantly reducing equipment size. A key enabler for urbanization, it can occupy only 10 percent of the space of an air-insulated substation (AIS).
Powering and conserving aesthetics in iconic locations
ABB’s GIS can be found protecting electrical networks, boosting power supply and preserving urban aesthetics in some of the world’s most iconic locations, from the spectacular Petronas skyscrapers that light up the skyline of Kuala Lumpur to underground substations in bustling Beijing and Frankfurt, to rustic and remote UNESCO world heritage sites.
One of ABB’s most recent GIS installations is in the Canary Islands, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve visited by more than 16 million people each year. ABB technology will help upgrade the electricity transmission infrastructure throughout the archipelago to secure reliable power in support of the tourism sector.
Another area of renowned natural beauty where ABB’s GIS is installed is the mighty Jungfrau, which, at 4,158 meters, is a must-visit Swiss tourist attraction. ABB’s GIS installed in the Jungfrau’s Wilderswil substation is securing electricity to the entire region, including transporting a million passengers each year on the Jungfrau Railway to the Top of Europe.
On the other side of the world, the Historic Sanctuary of Macho Picchu is another iconic mountainous hiker’s paradise where ABB’s GIS technology is helping supply reliable power with a reduced carbon footprint.
Other sites protected by ABB’s GIS include large metro areas like Singapore, Jakarta and Delhi, a city of 14 million where GIS substations are installed seven meters underground near the aesthetically important area of the official residence of the president and the presidential gardens. ABB’s GIS is also helping secure power for the Haraiman high-speed rail that will link the pilgrimage cities of Mecca and Medina.
Pushing boundaries in innovation
The first high-voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) was installed by ABB (erstwhile BBC) in the 1960s in an underground substation in the heart of Zurich, Switzerland.
Over the decades, ABB has continued to push innovation boundaries to provide safety and reliability in power networks to address growing power challenges. In Anxi County, in the Fujian Province of eastern China, an innovative application of GIS technology is helping to keep an 18th Century tradition alive. The mountainous area is known as the Tea Capital of China as it produces world-class teas. Here, ABB is deploying a mobile GIS solution mounted on a trailer to help the town meet energy peaks during high-demand tea-harvesting seasons. The same robust but mobile solution will also help the area keep electricity flowing in the event of an earthquake.
The most recent innovation is the first of its kind, an ultra-high voltage 1,000-kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated line (GIL) that will be installed 75 meters under the Yangtze River. GIL filled with insulation gas is the ideal solution to transmit power underground at high capacity with minimum transmission losses. This innovative solution will help China ensure energy security and support economic and social development in the Eastern part of the country.
And one of ABB’s latest advances in this field is possibly its most important-- a digitally capable version of the world’s first GIS with eco-efficient gas mixture as an alternative to SF6. This breakthrough solution, which is in successful operation at a substation in Zurich, Switzerland, enables a reduction of global warming potential (GWP) by almost 100 percent compared to SF6. Equipped with advanced digital controls, supervision and monitoring, this latest GIS is ready to enable digital substations, key to the development of smarter grids.