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Increasing renewable integration in Mongolia through functionally integrated protection and control devices

Historically, Mongolia’s economy has been based on agriculture and herding, which contributes around 16% to the gross domestic product. However, the growth in the country’s mining sector has fueled an increase in energy demand and increased the need to have renewable resources contribute to the energy mix. 

With 250 days replete with sun each year in the home of the Gobi Desert, policy initiatives are prompting authorities to tap into Mongolia’s vast solar power potential. As per the energy policy of 2015, the sector has a target to generate up to 30% of its power needs from renewable sources by 2030. That equates to a contribution of 900 megawatt of renewable energy out of a total targeted capacity of 3 gigawatt. Authorities also hope to limit the use of coal-fired power plants and contribute to the global fight against climate change. 

The Darkhan solar power plant, located around 200 kilometers from the country’s capital Ulan Bator, is one project where ABB and its partner Monhorus LLC have joined forces. The two partners will implement a cost-effective solution for the protection and control of a connection point, linking the solar power plant to the transmissions grid. 

Typically, this connection point – comprising a step-up transformer and an overhead line – would have required a total of seven intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) with a conventional automation and protection solution. However, using ABB´s latest Relion® multi-functional protection and control IEDs, the desired automation and protection functionality was fully achieved with only four IEDs, with no impact on redundancy. Availability was also improved. 

ABBs solution

The integration of a collection of different functionalities such as earth fault protection, voltage and current monitoring and disturbance recorder in a device that can cover application areas like transformer or line protection and control, is known as functional integration. The collection of several different functionalities in the same physical device has been a trend ever since numerical relays with microprocessor technology were introduced. 

Thanks to that, it became possible to design a protection relay specialized for a certain application, containing protection functions tailored for it, with additional backup and protection related features.
ABB debuted functional integration over a decade ago and today the technology has not only been tested across more than 150,000 devices, but also engineered for the digital future. 

In its aim to enable smarter and environmental friendly power grids, ABB continues to offer solutions for the smooth integration of solar and wind power plants, such as for the Darkhan project. Customer benefits such as smaller environmental footprint of the installed equipment, lower initial commissioning and maintenance costs and improved safety are visible upfront, making multi-functional IEDs valuable assets to a power network.

Read more about ABB’s flexible IED solutions here. 

  Article by:

   Marko Kovacic    Anukool Korde
  Marko Kovacic
  Anukool Korde

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