First digital substation implementing IEC 61850 with Process Bus

  • The Majuelo 66/30 kV substation is energized, IGNIS’s first substation applying this pioneering system that enhances efficiency and sustainability in energy distribution.

IGNIS has achieved a milestone in Spain’s electrical infrastructure by completing the first substation based on IEC 61850 at the process bus level. It not only represents a significant technological advancement but also a commitment to efficiency and sustainability in energy distribution.

The IEC 61850 standard at the process bus level is already a reality in numerous electric substations built worldwide, but in Spain, it’s a pioneering project, constituting a success from the perspectives of functionality, reliability, and interoperability. IGNIS has aimed to go beyond the station bus contemplated by the standard and additionally implement the Process Bus, which marks a significant leap in substation design and the application of the IEC 61850 standard in its entirety. September 2023, this objective has been achieved with the energization of the Majuelo 66/30 kV substation (Zamora), which has been designed and built based on the aforementioned standard.

 What does “process bus” mean?

This project proposes a communication network within a substation that connects the primary field equipment, such as circuit breakers, transformers, etc… with the protection and control devices located in the substation’s control room. This communication network utilizes fiber optic cables for transmission. In summary, it’s a paradigm shift in how measurements and signals are captured. Its main difference from conventional substations is the reduction in the use of copper wiring and civil works conduits used for measurement and control signals, as they are replaced by fiber optics.

This innovative solution involves adding a communication network between the protection and control IEDs (bay level) and the primary field equipment (process level), placing a merging unit at the equipment level to record all analog and digital values. The merging unit digitizes the analog values and sends them to one or more IEDs located in the control room (bay level) through sample values (SV) via fiber optics. Protection no longer needs to work with analog values but uses digital values directly.

One of the most significant advantages of the digital substation, compared to the conventional substation, is the reduction in the use of copper cables for measurement and control signals, as they are replaced by fiber optics. Additionally, commissioning times are significantly reduced, and minimal maintenance is required afterward.

This achievement was possible thanks to the work of a team of professionals experienced in IEC 61850 and collaboration with other partner companies (GE Grid Solutios, Garaysa, and Ain Active).