Finnish utility selects ABB’s centralized control and protection solution to take their substation to the next level

Parikkalan Valo has selected ABB’s SSC600 to gain reliability and optimize their asset management.

ABB has delivered the ABB Ability™ Smart Substation Control and Protection for electrical systems SSC600 to Finnish utility Parikkalan Valo. With this innovative approach all protection and control functionality needed for managing the substation is centralized, instead of using multiple devices.

Parikkalan Valo has an 80-year history of delivering reliable electricity to homes and businesses in Parikkala and its surrounding municipalities in Eastern Finland. Their power distribution network predominantly covers rural areas.

In 2018, the company initiated a project to refurbish the Punkasalmi substation. The substation, originally constructed in 1986, is located about 35 km from the town of Savonlinna in Finnish Lakeland – the largest lake district in Europe with its 55,000 lakes.

For the renewal project, the utility was looking for a leading-edge solution to ensure safe and reliable power supply, and the possibility to efficiently manage their electrical network and its assets; ensuring flexibility to meet future needs as requirements change.

To meet these requirements, the customer chose ABB’s centralized protection with SSC600. With this solution all protection and control functions of the substation are managed via the same IEC 61850 protocol-compliant device. This simplifies managing the network and supports device life cycle management, which in turn, increases the reliability of the substation in everyday operations and also makes it easier to perform software updates.

According to Parikkalan Valo’s Network Manager, Olli Mattila, who has been active in the industry for about 30 years, the SSC600 device brings a range of benefits. “During my career I have seen all kinds of devices. Nowadays devices age faster than before, which is also the case in substations. We have now chosen to install an entirely new system to be one step ahead.” He continued, “In addition, with SSC600 we no longer need to manage an installed base consisting of protection devices of different types and ages. With the new SSC600 device, we can update all the protection and control functionality in one go.”

“One of the SSC600 solution’s key advantages is that it makes upgrading easy” said Mika Kukkola, Regional Solution Center Manager, in ABB’s Distribution Solutions division. “With all the security and control functions of the substation centered on one single device, managing the protection functionality is easy throughout the entire lifetime of the switchgear.”

According to Kukkola, centralized protection is also a safe choice. Although the SSC600 device is new, it has been researched and piloted at Finnish electricity distributor Caruna for about three years. In addition, ABB has been developing the technology used in the device for over 20 years. “The SSC600 is safe and reliable and it enables tailor-made solutions. The protection itself can also be implemented in a more versatile and secure way compared to conventional systems” Kukkola explained.

Kukkola lists some other major benefits “The SSC600 is truly a cost-efficient, next-generation device. With SSC600 you gain protection functionality that previously required the users to install several separate protection devices.”

The local company SLT Consults was in charge of the Punkasalmi substation renewal project, and they also see notable benefits. “The centralization of protection and control as well as the smooth and easy updates are certainly beneficial” said Kimmo Kärki, Managing Director at SLT Consultants. “In addition, with the help of these new devices we get increasingly more information about the current state and operation of the substation. This data can be used to react, before a bigger problem develops. This is a major benefit.”

“We are very happy with the outcome and our collaboration. Our staff also gained valuable knowledge about the new technology during the course of the renewal project” Kärki said.

A solution for the future

Both Olli Mattila and Kimmo Kärki believe that the SSC600 solution is a technology that we will see more of in the future. “Increasingly smarter systems are gradually becoming more common,” Kärki said.

According to Mattila, the protection system was adapted to suit their specific needs and meet the challenges of operating a rural electricity network. With SSC600 new protection functionality can be easily activated when requirements change. “During commissioning a few changes were made to meet our specific needs and thanks to these tailor-made adaptations, we ensured that the SSC600 was a perfect fit for our needs” Mattila said.

Mattila added “It has to be said that having a direct line to ABB’s support is also important for us in case any questions or problems arise.”

“This type of support is a natural part of the package” said Mika Kukkola “ABB offers full support from start to finish.”

Next year Parikkalan Valo will renew another substation, which was built in 1972. “I’m pretty confident that ABB’s SSC600 solution will be our technology of choice also in that location” Mattila concluded.

Olli Mattila is convinced about the benefits of ABB’s SSC600 solution for protection and control. He is already planning the renewal of the next substation.
Olli Mattila is convinced about the benefits of ABB’s SSC600 solution for protection and control. He is already planning the renewal of the next substation.

Parikkalan Valo is adding SSC600 to an existing installation, which will provide the entire substation with the latest technological developments within protection and control. In new installations, customers only need to install bay-level merging units in addition to the SSC600 device. To ensure reliability, Parikkalan Valo is adding another SSC600 device in the substation to gain full redundancy of the system.

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