Wide Area Monitoring System for Eskom
ACTOM Protection & Control (P&C), leading suppliers of protection, control and metering equipment, has won a ground-breaking R31-million contract to design, supply and install state-of-the-art Wide Area Monitoring System (WAMS) equipment for Eskom.
The WAMS will enable Eskom to monitor local and national disturbances in its transmission network. Disturbances may often lead to widespread system outages. WAMS also provides advance warning of possible system deterioration so that corrective action can be taken to avert a crisis situation from arising.
“The WAMS, which will be one of the largest of its kind in the world and the first in Africa, is a dedicated system that provides high-speed information about the real-time behaviour of the transmission network to enable Eskom to manage the grid most effectively”, explained Brian van Rensburg, P&C’s Business Development Manager.
Phasor Measurement Units (PMU’s) will be installed at key nodes in the transmission network. “The PMU’s will constantly monitor key system metrics such as power angle and frequency and communicate the data to Eskom’s National Control Centre, where the operators will be able to determine the power system state with the aid of advanced visualisation and stability monitoring software applications,” he said.
Any system disturbance that affects system metrics such as damping, frequency and system phase angles will be made visible on the Human Machine Interface (HMI) display and thus preventative action can then be taken. “For example, any abrupt phase angle or frequency shifts will indicate that the transmission network is under strain and preventative action can be taken in these circumstances. Depending on the severity of the problem, additional power generation will be brought on, load will be reduced in co-operation with large consumers, or, as a last resort, controlled load-shedding will be implemented,” Van Rensburg stated.
As with the WAMS, Eskom’s Energy Management System, which has been in operation since the beginning of 2008, was supplied by P&C in conjunction with its technology partners.
The WAMS contract, awarded in early July 2010, comprises two phases – an initial R10-million design phase and a R21-million production phase. During the design phase P&C’s technology principal, Alstom Grid (formerly Areva T&D), will adapt and customise its standard WAMS to meet Eskom System Operator’s requirements.
The subsequent production phase will involve the rollout of the full system, including supply of a number of PMU’s and Substation Phasor Data Concentrators (SPDC’s) to be installed at 28 locations on the network around the country. The SPDC’s perform the function of collating and transmitting information from multiple PMU’s at a substation to the National Control Centre. The contract also encompasses development, supply and integration of the Phasor Point software by Psymetrics, a Scotland-based engineering company specialising in such systems.
P&C, the lead contractor, will undertake local assembly and assist with integration and testing of the system.
ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is the largest manufacturer and distributor of electrical equipment in South Africa, employing about 6 000 people and with an annual order intake in excess of R5bn. It is a black empowered company with 27operating units, 22 production facilities and 25 distribution centres throughout South Africa.
ACTOM partners Alstom France for environmental equipment and in serving the maintenance, upgrade and retrofit market for larger boilers, as well as for railway transport activities.
ACTOM holds exclusive distribution, technology and representation rights for Alstom Grid (formerly the Transmission business of Areva T&D) in Southern Africa and maintains management, technical and commercial links to Alstom Grid business units in Europe.
Following the acquisition by Schneider Electric of the global Distribution business of Areva T&D, the distribution, technology and representation agreements that existed between ACTOM and Areva will remain in place until such time as a new agreement has been concluded.
ACTOM formerly traded under the name Alstom South Africa and re-branded to ACTOM in September 2009.
Caption: A diagram of the architecture of the WAMS system that ACTOM Protection & Control has been contracted to produce and install for Eskom.