Grid operators in the Netherlands are responsible for the transmission and distribution network of both high voltage and medium voltage. Today they face the massive challenge of getting the electricity grid ready for the transition in the energy market. The majority of businesses and homes will be moving away from natural gas in the coming years, which means more electricity is needed. But solar panels and wind turbines are often difficult to connect to the grid due to the limited capacity. And we haven’t even started on electric vehicles, which will create even more bottlenecks. Grid operators are doing everything in their power to make the grid future-proof, but are restricted mainly by the shortage of technical staff. A large part of the work involves replacing outdated components and installations to increase power reliability and flexible capabilities. Another area that is becoming more important consists of expanding and strengthening the grid, for example to build new wind and solar farms and for the electrification in industry.
The high-voltage substations are an important element in the transmission and distribution grid, as several high-voltage lines and cables converge here. But they also house transformers that lower the voltage for the distribution grid. High-voltage components, such as circuit breakers, disconnectors and transformers, are the primary components. The control and readout of these components is done by the secondary installation. It is also essential for the grid operators to be able to control and read out the data remotely. What’s more, the secondary facility has several security layers to ensure that the grid continues to operate safely and that action is swift in the event of problems.
Vicoma’s role: engineering and providing work packages for implementation
Vicoma specialises in the complete secondary facility of high-voltage substations and industrial plants. But our specialists also have extensive expertise in other related areas, such as building-related and primary installations. The engineers in the Electrical & Instrumentation (E&I) department work hard every day on secondary engineering for the high-voltage substations of virtually all grid operators. The work includes detail engineering and creating work packages for renovation and expansion projects. During the actual implementation, our engineers are often deployed as a source of information for the technicians. We also regularly take care of processing the as-built section of the drawing package, so that the customer has up-to-date oversight of the installation. In addition, we deal with many other issues, such as IO lists, work descriptions, detailed conversion plans, bills of materials, cabinet designs, power distribution boards, cable calculations, building-related installations, site lighting and more. Our specialists also provide advice when complex issues arise.
Result: extensive experience in the field of high-voltage substations and industrial high-voltage installations
In recent years, we have carried out secondary engineering projects for almost all high-voltage substations in central and northern Netherlands. The experience we have gained in recent years has given us extensive knowledge of the requirements, working methods and power facilities of different customers and across different regions. Besides working a lot for grid operators, we have considerable experience with industrial high-voltage installations. Some examples of work we do include selectivity studies, arc calculations and transformer calculations.