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New Energy World magazine logo
New Energy World magazine logo
ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

First fully digital electricity substation in US comes online


The digital substation’s cable bus and standardised modular equipment structures Photo: Business Wire/One Energy
View of One Energy’s digital substation’s cable bus and standardised modular equipment structures

Photo: Business Wire/One Energy

A fully digital, plug-and-play transmission-voltage substation has entered commercial operation in Ohio, reportedly the first of its kind in the US.

The ‘proof of concept’ digital substation, intended to power a megawatt hub, has come online at One Energy’s Findlay headquarters in Ohio.


Commenting on the development, One Energy CEO Jereme Kent says: ‘It is time we completely rethink how substations are designed so that the industry stops making the same mistakes they have been for the last 50 years. Traditional substations are not secure, they can fail during inevitable severe weather conditions, lack basic condition monitoring, and rely on thousands of small wires to send status and control signals back to the control building. This is why we’ve designed our fully digital substations at One Energy to be secure, digital, resilient, embrace real-time condition monitoring and survive every conceivable weather event.’


The all-digital substation uses Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories’ TiDL system, reportedly marking the first time a substation has been connected entirely by fibre optics using this system in the US. According to One Energy, it chose the TiDL system over ‘the IEC 61850-style digital architecture that is gaining traction in Europe’ due to the ‘simplicity of physical security that comes with [its] point-to-point fibre communication’.


The substation’s 30 MVA transformer, built by Hitachi Energy, includes a Coresense M10 real-time dissolved gas analyser and condition monitoring system. It performs a full dissolved gas analysis on the transformer every 10 minutes, compared to most substation transformers that only test oil once a year, continues One Energy.


‘The first of its kind all-digital, high-voltage substation One Energy built is not just best-in-class for utility-scale substations, it is the only one in its class,’ says Jon Wellinghoff, former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) and One Energy board member.


New US transmission line breaks ground
Meanwhile, in other US news, the Biden-Harris Administration has been celebrating groundbreaking of the new SunZia electricity transmission line which, when completed, will transport up to 4,500 MW of primarily renewable energy from New Mexico to markets in Arizona and California, furthering President Joe Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electricity grid by 2035.