Bright future ahead for gas insulated substations

Increasing cost of land and demand for compact power systems are the primary drivers boosting the market for gas insulated substations


Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are expected to drive the global market for gas insulated substations (GIS) which is set to reach $35.83bn by 2024, according to a recent report by Transparency Market Research.

The gas insulated substation market revenue stood at $14.75bn in 2015 and is projected to reach $ 35.83bn by 2024 at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 10.31% from 2016 to 2024, according to the research report.

Increasing need for compact and low maintenance power systems has led to the emergence of gas insulated substations. These substations were developed in Japan since the country is located in a high seismic zone and there was a need for substations, which could be installed in small confined spaces.

Gas insulated substations are much more reliable and more efficient than their counterparts, air insulated substations. These high voltage substations can be installed in a small sealed environment with sulfur hexafluoride gas acting as the insulating medium. Demand for increased power generation in urban areas has led many countries to adopt high voltage substations.

Gas insulated substations also work reliably at high voltages and require less operation and maintenance services. Air insulated substations are susceptible to rising pollution levels, thus such substations can effectively be substituted with gas insulated substations for continuous operations.

The market for these substations is anticipated to rise at a substantial pace in the near future due to increasing environmental concerns and scarcity of land in urban areas. Increasing cost of land and demand for compact power systems are the primary drivers boosting the market for gas insulated substations. In urban areas, where availability of land is a rising concern, gas insulated substations can be installed in small areas within a building.

The total space required by a gas insulated substation is approximately 10% of that required by a conventional substation. In harsh environmental areas, such as deserts and arctic regions, these substations provide reliable operating performance.

The GCC is expected to expand at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Industrialisation, and growth in manufacturing and power generation would drive the demand for gas insulated substations in these countries, said the report

The gas insulated substation market is segment by voltage into medium (≤ 72.5 KV) and high (>72.5 KV). High voltage gas insulated substations are primarily used for transmission and distribution of electricity at high and extra-high voltage.

Last year, Asia Pacific was the largest market for gas insulated substations globally, accounting for 54% of the market. China was the leader in terms of revenue realisation from gas insulated substations, followed by India.

Europe was the second-largest market for gas insulated substations, while CIS countries, such as Russia, spearhead the gas insulated substation market in Europe with modification and expansion of aged electricity infrastructure.

North America was the third-largest market in terms of market share, in 2015. The U.S. and Canada were the leading countries with highest revenue realisation. The report suggested that the market in Rest of World would to witness significant growth in the near future, with growth in the manufacturing and processing sectors and increasing demand for electricity.

With GCC renewable energy investments expected to top $100bn by 2036, demand for digitalised substations is projected to increase to cope with the intermittency from this source of electric power.

The level of connectivity provided by the Internet of Things (IoT) has found its way into substations and switching stations, as utilities integrate more equipment with interconnectivity capability. The digital substation concept has been getting a lot of traction with utilities around the world, although digital technology is not a new concept to the electric power industry.

Early this year, ABB said it has successfully energised a major substation that will help evacuate power from the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MBR) Solar Park in Dubai. The 400/132 kilovolt (kV) gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) substation has been built for Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), the UAE’s leading power utility, to connect the second phase of the MBR Solar Park and integrate 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the transmission grid.

Also in April, Siemens was awarded an order to supply two mobile substations to National Grid SA, the transmission operator of Saudi Electricity Company. Based on the unique specifications from National Grid SA, Siemens has combined its existing mobile substation modules together to design and manufacture two 380kV mobile substations able to fit and suit in any network area of the kingdom.

With a rating of 502 megavolt amperes (MVA) each, these two high-voltage mobile substations will be the most powerful ever built in a single feeder configuration.

A mobile substation is mounted on a special trailer and can easily be transported wherever needed. They are a fast and versatile solution for emergency power restoration or fast-track grid connection that also guarantees the utmost reliability. They also support heavy maintenance or renovation work as an interim bypass substation that can be easily set up to reduce or eliminate power outages.

A recent Transparency Market Research report has shown a significant increase in the market for transformer oil.  According to the report, the global transformer oil market was valued at $1.99bn in 2015 and is anticipated to reach $3.26bn by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 5.7% between 2016 and 2024.

GCC countries are expected to increase their spend on substations as new power projects come online. India based Larsen & Toubro’s (L&T) Power Transmission & Distribution Business recently won several substation orders in Oman and UAE worth more than $175mn.

DEWA has already announced plans to build 97 new 132/11kV substations during the course of the next three years at a total projected cost of $2.72bn. Locations of the facilities include Hassyan, Jebal Ali, Al Aweer, and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, according to DEWA.

Also in April, GE said one of its units had signed a new agreement with the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to set up four new 132kV substations and renovate four existing 132kV substations in bid to boost the kingdom’s distribution infrastructure.  They will be upgraded using the advanced technology solutions of GE

As per the deal, GE Energy Connections will deliver the four new substations as turnkey projects that include engineering, design, civil work, supply of gas insulated switchgears (GIS), power transformers, and control and automation.


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