On May 28-29, Ukrenergo delegation consisting of the experts in international cooperation, investment, dispatching, market development and IT made a working visit to the French company RTE, the largest transmission system operator in Europe. The itinerary of the trip was very eventful and covered a wide range of issues, including the integration into ENTSO-E and joint projects, standards and grid maintenance mechanics, modernization of substations, new approaches to market operations, demand management technology and visits to substations.
In particular, our experts visited a smart substation Blocaux*, the first substation of its type in Europe. By 2030, RTE plans to invest more than 3 billion euros in full digitization of 2,800 substations all around the country.
“We reached the parameters when digital intelligence on the substation is much more effective and expedite compared with human capabilities. Everything we are currently doing at this substation is no longer possible with the participation of a human, no matter how intelligent and quick they are. To stand aside from these technologies means to leave the company in the past,” Thierry Buhagiar, the manager of this project, commented on the RTE infrastructure digitalization.
The Ukrainian delegation also had an opportunity to learn more about the French experience of market balancing and the model of separation of generation from a transmission system operator (TSO). France chose the ITO model, according to which the RTE national dispatching center is separated from EdF, the RTE main shareholder, in compliance with the system of transparent rules and requirements.
The visit ended with the meeting of Ukrenergo delegation with Oleh Shamshur, Ambassador of Ukraine to France, and François Brottes, Chairman of the RTE Management Board, during which the parties discussed the existing state of integration of the power system of Ukraine into ENTSO-E.
“RTE is a European electricity transmission giant, one of the ENTSO-E legislators, a pioneer in substation automation and a company with experience in unbundling. This is why its experience is very valuable for us. Moreover, our vision shares a new philosophy of RTE, which aims at transforming the company into a flexible think tank to meet the new needs of the electricity market. This is how we see the future of Ukrenergo,” said Mykhailo Bno-Ayriian, Deputy CEO for communications and international cooperation.
* For reference
In 2013-2016, substation “Blocaux,” built in the 70’s, was fully reconstructed. Alstom (General Electric) was chosen as the main manufacturer of primary and secondary power equipment. The project was funded at the expense of the Government of the French Republic.
The substation received optical current transformers and low voltage load transformers, unique monitoring systems for high-voltage S-gas switches and power transformers, relay protection and automation devices from Alstom DS Agile and three three-wound power transformers 225/90/20kV. The substation significantly reduced the number of copper cable connections due to the transmission of all signals, both analog and discrete, through optical connection lines.
MMS, GOOSE and SV protocols – a kind of data exchange rules, including a data hub and procedures for exchanging them – were fully implemented.
The issue of reliability and reservation of relay protection and automation equipment is one of the key aspects in the project. Complete duplication of the RPA scheme of each connection was successfully accomplished. In the case of a failure of more than two elements for each subsystem, an additional relay protection and automation device can replace any of the failed components.
This is the world’s first prototype of a smart substation. The facility is equipped with fiber-optic systems and sensors that measure all types of data used to regulate real-time power flows and spend up to 30 percent more energy from renewable sources on existing lines. This allows reducing the need for building new lines.