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Workshop on Low Cost Substation & Transmission solutions

By ANC, 7 June 2017

Tagged substations, CIGRE, Working Group,

A Workshop on Low Cost Substation and Transmission Solutions was held during the week of March 13 to 17, 2017 at the Eskom Research and Innovation Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The workshop was part of the efforts of CIGRE’s Working Group B3.43 “Contemporary Substation Design for Developing Countries”, which started its endeavor on 5 November 2015 in Baden, Switzerland to provide technical guidance to support developing countries in securing access to an affordable, reliable and sustainable energy supply that is vital to end extreme poverty and promote economic prosperity. 

The article as published in CIGRE's ELECTRA magazine can be view HERE , a summary is presented below.


As background for reporting on this event, according to the National Academy of Engineering, a survey of the Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century revealed that the number one accomplishment that changed the world is "Electrification", the basic electrical service we all take for granted.  Yet according to the World Bank, around one in seven, or 1.1 billion people in the world (roughly the population of India), mostly concentrated in Africa and Asia, live without access to electricity.  To support the efforts to electrify these regions where significant challenges exist regarding development of infrastructure, CIGRE commissioned Working Group B3.43.  They were given the objective to identify opportunities to lower the cost and risk, while improving the efficacy, of new greenfield substation assets for deployment in developing and under-developed countries, as well as remote locations in these countries. 

Once identified, the group will provide guidance to ease the design of cost-effective practical substations utilizing currently available equipment.  This will be done with consideration to the construction, operation and maintenance of these substations with respect to currently available technologies, practices and the limited resources locally available in these developing areas.  Sustainability of the facilities and electrical service for these regions will be a key consideration.    

The Workshop

The main purpose of the workshop was to create an environment where members of WG B3.43 can interact with members from local African utilities to discuss and address the issues related to expanding electrification into underserved areas.  The WG received a better understanding of the needs, risks, practices and opportunities of the African utilities to aid in finalizing a Technical Brochure by 2018.


The World Bank Kwawu Gaba, Lead Energy Specialist and Global Lead - Power Systems Solution Group for the Energy and Extraction Industries Global Practices spoke about the organization's activities in general such as their visions and goals, their portfolio of projects, global emerging trends, and key areas for focus.  He also spoke of their collaborations with industry organizations such as CIGRE and The World Bank clients in adopting cost effective T&D solutions.   

CIGRE Terry Krieg, Chairman of Study Committee SC B3 “Substations” gave presentation on global challenges, key drivers, and industry trends in electrification.  

Eskom’s General Manager, Power Delivery Engineering, Prince Moyo, made a presentation about Eskom’s organization, infrastructure and electrification history.    He described Eskom’s design standardization and practices, which contributed to their successful electrification program.  This serves as an excellent example to workshop participants to emulate.  

CIGRE Tutorials

In keeping with the theme of the WG B3.43 desired design outcomes, which are low-cost, valueengineered, design-optimized substations, tutorials were selected to this meet criteria.

"Substation Design Optimization" - Colm Twomey, Manager, Substation Design with ESB International

"Overhead Lines General Concepts" - Riaz Vajeth, Sharon Mushabe, Lebo Maphumulo, Arthur Burger, Dr. Rob Stephen, and Bertie Jacobs, all of Eskom’s Lines Engineering Services, presented a group tutorial on based on CIGRE Technical Brochure on "Overhead Lines" (December 2015

"The Shield Wire Scheme (SWS) on Transmission Lines for Rural Electrification" - Franklin Gbedey, Power Engineer and Senior Energy Specialist at the World Bank, presented a tutorial based on The World Bank (ESMAP) Manual titled "Grid-Based Rural Electrification with Shield Wire Scheme in Low-Income Countries - Manual for Planning, Engineering, Design, Specification, Construction and Operation"

Eskom Substation Tours Eskom conducted a tour of local substations for the members of WG B3.43. The purpose was to observe standard designs and practices as well as the environmental conditions and challenges faced in implementing electrification projects.

 The article as published in CIGRE's ELECTRA magazine can be view HERE , a summary is presented below.