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Upper Kotmale Hydro power plant

Talawakele, Central Sri Lanka


The Upper Kotmale Dam (also known as the Upper Kotmale Hydro-Power Project, or UKHP), located in Talawakele in the Nuwara Eliya District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, is the third largest hydroelectric dam in the country. It is the first station with IEC 61850 in Sri Lanka. A total capacity of 150 MW will be transmitted to the national grid via the substation Gampola located in the Atabage area.

The entire project covers an area of approximately 540 km2 and is developed in five phases. One special feature of this project is that the line protections for Main 1 and Main 2 are from different manufacturers. 

In Upper Kotmale substation the protection panels are located 800 meters underground, whereas the station level equipment is located above ground.


ABB has been commissioned with supplying the IEDs, providing the engineering know-how, training the Colombo Electricity Board (CEB) engineers, and with providing remote support during commissioning. The company has delivered the protection and monitoring system of the substations Kotmale and Upper Kotmale.

The solution for both stations consists of a MicroSCADA Pro  system defined as Protection Monitoring System (PMS), communicating with the protection units via a IEC 61850 ring. A remote station communicating with both stations is installed in the Colombo Central Headquarters of the Ceylon Electricity Board.
Device Function
RED670 Line differential protection
REL670 Distance protection
REC670 Autorecloser
REB500 Busbar and breaker protection
REB500Sys Busbar, breaker protection and cable differential 
7SA52 Relays (distance back-up protection)

Customer benefits

This is the first IEC 61850-based system in the country with remote monitoring from the protection head office in Colombo. It features proven high-end technology for the line protection and bus bar protection systems fully compliant with the new global standard IEC 61850.

The CEB engineers were trained at ABB University in Baden, so that the customer can now on their own properly operate and maintain the protection system of the hydro power plants.

ABB scope of supply

ABB has delivered the line protection and bus bar protection cubicles and protection monitoring systems for two 220 kV line switchgears in the Upper Kotmale and Kotmale Hydro Power Plant stations consisting of Relion® and 3rd party devices.

ABB has delivered two Substation Automation Systems (SAS) for monitoring purposes consisting of one MicroSCADA Pro server with Master Local Workstation and Remote Workstation, Laptop Local Workstation, Satellite GPS receiver and Fiber Optic Ethernet Switches for the IEC 61850 network.

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