Generator control modernization

ABB’s Generator Control integrates protection, excitation, synchronization and control in a single standardized module. A solution for a 25-year-old unit at a small municipal hydropower plant in Switzerland exemplifies Generator Control’s many benefits.

Arosa Energie is a small independent municipal energy company with just 23 employees. Its task is to generate and distribute electric power to the municipality’s 2,800 inhabitants in Switzerland. The company operates two hydropower plants - Lüen and Litzirüti – which have a combined
output of 12 MW.

The Lüen hydropower plant comprises three Pelton turbines, two of which are 100 and 86 years old respectively. The most recent of the three was installed in 1990, and was recently in need of modernization. ABB was contracted to modernize the generator control and regulation systems of the 3.7 MW unit and retain the 25-year-old control cabinets as part of the solution.

The solution is based on ABB’s Generator Control, which combines excitation, protection, synchronization and control in a single, standardized module. It integrates three highly successful ABB product families - UNITROL (excitation), Relion (protection) and SYNCHROTACT (synchronization) - all undisputed market leaders in their respective areas. ABB installed the solution onsite in the existing cabinets; it included an easy-to-read control system on a 15-inch touch panel.

Fast and efficient installation

Prior to installation, ABB experts in Baden, Switzerland, had engineered the solution and prepared the module ready for delivery. On October 1, 2013, Arosa Energie shut down the Lüen power station. The installation work and inspections were completed within two weeks, despite an early outbreak of winter that briefly blocked access to the power station.

On October 17, the unit was started up again at rated speed and on October 18, the commissioning tests were completed. That same evening the generator resumed commercial operation. ABB was able to successfully modernize the generator control system in such a short time thanks to the following four factors:

  • Excellent collaboration with the customer
  • Use of a standardized solution
  • Use of experienced project personnel
  • Lean project organization

Generator Control is an integrated solution that covers all the control requirements of small to large generators for hydro, industrial and utility power plants. It is highly modular and can be easily adapted to meet customer requirements. The solution package includes an interface with the plant’s distributed control system and a local operator interface.

Electric power for Arosa

Arosa Energie is an independent company with 23 employees and is owned by the municipality of Arosa. Its core business is to produce and distribute electric power and to ensure a reliable power supply. Its retail supply area takes in the municipality of Arosa. Arosa Energie operates the Lüen and Litzirüti power stations, which have a total output of 12 MW.

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In Control - 02 | 2014

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