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Paper for CEA Technologies Inc.

Understanding and Managing Underground Transmission and Distribution Cables Workshop Richmond, B.C., June 10-13, 2001 120 KV CABLE INSTALLATION AT BEAUHARNOIS POWER STATION
By: Summary: Hydro-Qubec has installed 24 circuits of high voltage 120 kV XLPE insulated cables to connect the transformers to the new SF6 substation and to the overhead transmission lines located at the west end of the Beauharnois power house. The design, installation and testing of these new cable circuits are described. Major challenges were met by maintaining the power house operational during all the construction, installation and testing phases. A second phase including 34 cable circuits is in progress and will be completed by 2003 to cover the east end substation. Martin Choquette, Eng. of Hydro-Qubec (1) and Ray Awad, Eng. of Hydro-Qubec (2)

Figure 1: Aerial views of Beauharnois Generating Station KeyWords: High Voltage XLPE Cable, non-flammable conduit, ampacity, type testing, cable installation, dry-type SF6 termination, temperature monitoring, field testing, Gas Insulated Substation, SF6 Substation.
About the authors: (1): Groupe Ingnierie, approvisionnement et construction (IAC) , Direction principale Expertise (2): Transnergie, Direction Expertises et support technique de transport (DESTT)

Introduction Beauharnois hydroelectric power generating station is situated 40 kilometers southwest of Montral. It was constructed in three separate phases between 1929 and 1961. The overall length of the station is approximately one kilometer. This "run of river" power plant with some 24 meter water head harnesses the hydraulic energy of the St-Lawrence River between lake St-Franois and St-Louis. The Beauharnois derivation canal is 1 km wide and almost 25 km long and has a maximum water flow of 8200 m3/s. This represents 80% of the total StLawrence River water flow. The station is equipped with thirty-six turbine generator units as well as two smaller units for auxiliary services.

This station is ranked fifth among all Hydro-Quebec generating stations for its installed capacity of 1673 MW and second for its energy output. In 1997, it delivered a record of 12,740 GWh. In 1990, Hydro-Quebec completed a feasibility study on the rehabilitation of this strategic installation. The main objective was to extend the useful life of the station's infrastructure by 50 years and its building, mechanical and electrical equipment by 40 years. The construction of a new power station was compared to a complete restoration solution. The feasibility study concluded that the restoration was approximately 40 % more economical than a new construction. Hydro-Quebec completed restoration studies in 1994. the detailed

The following challenges had to be met: Make the rehabilitation at the lowest cost; Minimize production losses and maintain at all times a 80% minimum operational load factor; Determine optimal locations for SF6 substations and 120 kV cable circuits; Resolve the logistics of rerouting eighteen overhead lines and transferring the power from thirty six machines to the new substations; Ensure constructibility of all new designs.

Figure 2:

Turbine generator units Beauharnois power house.


The generated energy is transported through the Hydro-Qubec network using eighteen 120 kV overhead line circuits.

The studies determined that an investment of approximately 1.5 billion dollars was needed for the full restoration of the power station. The strategy that was retained consists of dividing the work into three blocks, each with a different time frame and group of generating units. The type of work is the same in all three blocs, with the exception of the first bloc, which also includes the construction of 2 new 120 kV SF6 insulated substations and some 56 new 120 kV XLPE insulated cable circuits. This bloc represents an investment of 750 million dollars. This paper describes the design, prototype testing, installation, testing and monitoring of the cable circuits associated with the west end SF6 substation. The completed cable engineering of the east end substation will also be covered. Beauharnois West SF6 substation and associated 120 kV cable circuits The work on the SF6 substation started in May 1997 with the construction a new building. The project was completed in April 2001 with the connection of the last turbine generator unit to the substation. The west end SF6 substation is located on the top of a new 32 meter tall building which is a 78 meter extension to the power house. This station replaces the old outdoor station located downstream.

Figure 3:

New west end SF6 substation located on the top floor of a new building. The lower floors include various offices and machine shops.

Figure 4:

Old west side outdoor substation to be dismantled

A total of twenty-four 120 kV cable circuits were needed for this substation. Fourteen cable circuits are used to connect the transformers (T23 up to T36) to the substation, while ten larger capacity cable circuits would bring the power to overhead lines.

120 kV Cable Installation Technique Various cable installation techniques were examined both outside and inside of the powerhouse. Metallic cable trays, duct banks, ducts cleated in air, or a combination of these techniques were considered. It was finally recommended to install the cables in ducts cleated in air. Cables and ducts in trefoil formation would be vertically and horizontally stacked on metallic structures. The major portion of the ducts is located inside the powerhouse below the ceiling of an existing mezzanine.

Figure 6:

Cable ducts in mezzanine of the power house.

The following advantages were achieved using this technique compared to other installation techniques; Ease of cable installation, repair and maintenance; Light weight and compact structure; Economic; Improved protection against climatic conditions; Improved fire protection. Figure 5: Cross-section of Beauharnois power station and ducts in mezzanine.

Cable Design The 120 kV cable circuits were needed to replace the following equipment: Overhead bus bars located on the roof of the powerhouse; Spans of overhead line conductors between the power house and the outdoor substations.

Cable and Project Details

Unit In connection with Load Load factor Conductor size Conductor type

mm2 MCM -

Figure 7:

120 kV cables circuits (right) will replace overhead bus bars (left) on power house roof.

The cable loads were as follows: 1600 A for cables between SF6 substation and outgoing overhead lines. 350 A for cables between transformers and SF6 substation; The load factor used for calculations is 100 % as opposed to 75% which is typically used for underground lines in urban areas. Cross-linked polyethylene insulated cables were selected. Hydro-Qubec has adopted this cable type at 120 kV voltage level since 1990. Current carrying calculations were made using an in-house computer program. This confirmed copper conductor sizes to be 1600 mm2 and 380 mm2. 5

Conductor diameter Insulation thickness Lead sheath thickness Polyethylene jacket Overall diameter Cable weight Working Electrical stress at conductor shield at Uo=69 kV Cable capacitance Total cable length installed Number of circuits Average circuit length Maximum circuit length Number of SF6 terminations installed Number of outdoor terminations installed

mm mm mm mm mm Kg/m KV/m m pF/m m m m -

Overhead lines 1600 A 100% 1600 3158 Segmental with aluminum central core 50.7 18 3.2 4.0 111.9 32.3 4.6

Transformers 350 A 100% 380 750 Compact Round

23.1 21 3.2 4.0 88.4 17 5.0

271 1250 10 42 76 30

128 9811 14 233 381 42



Table 1 : Details of cables used in connection with west end SF6 S.S.

1600 mm2

380 mm2

Figure 8:

120 kV XLPE cable cross-sections.

Duct selection The reduced insulation wall of 18 mm for the 1600 mm2 conductor size when compared to AEIC-CS7 recommendation of 21.6 mm led to smaller cable dimensions and weight while it maintained electrical working stresses within acceptable limits. This permitted the use of ducts with 152 mm inside diameter. Semiconducting water swellable tapes is applied over the insulation shield to prevent longitudinal moisture propagation in case of cable damage. The lead sheath acts as the metallic shield and an impervious barrier. The outer anti-corrosion jacket is polyethylene. Fiberglass ducts were selected. This material features superior mechanical characteristics and is much lighter than PVC. Phenolic was preferred to Epoxy as the reinforcing resin. It offers the advantage of very low flammability thus eliminating the risk of a major fires. The ducts had to meet the following additional tests to ascertain that flame retardant and smoke toxicity properties are satisfactory: Vertical flame test FT4: CSA-C22.2 No. 211.3-96 - UL1684 Maximum index rating of 5: Flame spread test according to ASTM E-162 DS at 4 minutes = 50 and DM maximum = 250: Smoke density test according to ASTM 662 Low smoke toxicity according to ASTM E800/SMP800-C test. The following figure shows how the PVC and Epoxy reinforced fiberglass ducts compare to phenolic ducts when subjected to the vertical flame test.


Figure 9:

Cross-section of 120 kV XLPE 2 with 1600 mm copper conductor.




Figure 10:

Various types of ducts exposed to vertical flame test. Phenolic ducts do not sustain flame and remain virtually undamaged.

Cable Terminations design SF6 terminations as well as Outdoor terminations were required for each cable circuit. New totally dry design SF6 terminations were selected and introduced. They are composed of a rigid insulator and a prefabricated EPDM stress cone. The interfacial pressure between the stress cone and the cable insulation is ensured by a series of torque calibrated springs.

Outdoor terminations include a porcelain insulator and a prefabricated polymeric EPDM stress cone. The termination is vacuum treated on site before it is partially filled with silicone oil. Sealing tapes and gaskets prevent the oil from entering the cable or leaking out.

Figure 12: Cross section of 120 kV outdoor termination and actual view of three terminations and lightning arresters.

Figure 11: Cross section of 120 kV SF6 termination and actual view of three terminations. The dry SF6 termination offers a great advantage when introduced in a Gas Insulated Substation (GIS) as it eliminates the need for periodic maintenance and potential leaks normally associated with insulating fluids.

Qualification tests on cable system Qualification tests were successfully carried out on samples of cables and terminations taken from regular production runs. The qualification test assembly included one length of cable as well as one termination of each type (Outdoor and SF6) for both cable 2 2 sizes (380 mm and 1600 mm ). In addition, the GIS manufacturer supplied one set of SF6 termination enclosures to be integrated in the test assembly. This represented the actual project cable and termination installation. The following tests were successfully carried out: 1. 30 heating cycles under 150 kV voltage at conductor temperature of 95C 5C 2. Power factor and partial discharge measurements throughout the heating cycles and prior to other electrical tests 3. HVAC test at 230 kV for 1 hour 4. HVAC test at 275 kV for 1 minute 5. Hot impulse tests at 650 kV BIL with a conductor temperature of 95C 5C 6. HVAC test and Hot impulse test until breakdown (for engineering information). The 275 kV HVAC test for 1 minute is a requirement associated with the presence of SF6 terminations.

Figure 13: Test assembly under Qualification tests at cable manufacturer HV Laboratory. 8

Short circuit type test A special short circuit test was also performed at Hydro-Qubec research facilities (IREQ). This test would ascertain the mechanical integrity of the interface between the cable termination and the GIS metallic enclosure. The test assembly included one length of cable and one SF6 termination installed into the GIS metallic enclosure. Figure 15: SF6 leak test after a short-circuit current surge.

Ducts fastening and supports The duct supports have been designed to withstand a three-phase short-circuit current level of 40 kA for 0,5 second. The repulsing forces have been c alculated for both the trefoil and the flat duct formations. The trefoil arrangement represented the most severe forces. Their magnitude were estimated to be in the order of 17 kN. In order to safely withstand this force, the trefoils of ducts have been solidly cleated to a metallic structure at 2.6 meter intervals. Fastening stainless steel straps have also been installed at 0.9 meter intervals.

Figure 14:

Short-Circuit Test assembly.

The assembly was subjected twice to a shortcircuit current of 26 kA for 3 seconds thereby simulating the network requirement of 40 kA - 0.5 second single phase short-circuit. Immediately after each current surge, the assembly was carefully monitored for SF6 leaks. None were observed.

Figure 16:

The trefoil of ducts are solidly cleated and strapped for three phase short-circuit forces.

Cable pulling and termination installation The cable pulling and termination installation have been carried out by Hydro-Quebec crews. These specialized crews include 25 HV well seasoned splicers who belong to Transnergie, a division of Hydro-Qubec. For the last 30 years, these crews installed almost all the new underground cable circuits and carried out all repair and maintenance work on the network. They have developed a solid expertise both with oil filled and XLPE insulated cables. The tight project schedule required that cable pulling operations be carried out 6 days a week and be completed in less than 3 months. A total of 72 cable lengths were pulled in ducts with very restricted space conditions. An average of 6 cables per week was achieved. The cable connected to the transformers were pulled towards the SF6 substation. The winch was located in the SF6 room above the cable room.

Figure 18:

Cable pulling operation in cable room.

Figure 19:

Cable room with all cables installed.

Figure 17:

Pulling direction and general arrangement for cables connected to transformers.


In the case of the cables connected to the overhead lines, the winch was located outside on the balcony of the building.

Special flexible duct joints had to be designed at the interface between the foundations of the new west building and the old power house to take into account alcali aggregate reactions in the old power house concrete. These joints were required to accommodate projected relative displacements of up to 150 mm between foundations over the next 50 years. They combine expansion joints with flexible EPDM rubber sleeves.

Figure 20:

Winch located balcony.



Stainless steel conduits were used for the two 45 degrees bends between the west building and the power house. This prevented the winch steel rope from damaging the inner radius of the bends.

Figure 22:

Special flexible joint required for alkali aggregate reactions in old power house concrete.

Figure 21:

Stainless steel conduits used for 45 bends.


SF6 terminations installation The SF6 termination installation was carried out simultaneously by another team and started shortly after the first cables had been pulled into position. This work was completed within 4 months. An average rate of 4,5 terminations per week was then attained. A total of 72 SF6 terminations were installed. The spacing between adjacent terminations is 400 mm.

Figure 24:

Reer view of completed cable SF6 terminations.

Figure 25:

Front view of completed cable SF6 termination.

Figure 23:

Forest of cables in SF6 room prior to termination installation.

Figure 26:

Side view of completed SF6 substation with cable terminations on left.


Outdoor termination installation Outdoor termination installation at the transformers had to be carried out on supporting steel platforms typically 20 meters apart. This arrangement required extensive mobilization work for each new cable transformer circuit. A total of 72 outdoor terminations were installed on 24 separate metallic platforms. At the transformers, the termination have been positioned on the side in such a way that electrical working clearances with existing bus bars were met without any power interruption. Figure 28: Dismantled existing bus bars and H.V. circuit breaker.

A standardized tarpaulin shelter has been developed in order to minimize the preparation and dismantling work. The shelter would be carried over from one termination structure to the other and fastened to the predetermined anchoring points.

Figure 27:

120 kV Cable terminations at transformers.

The outdoor terminations located below the overhead lines are similarly located on steel platforms. However these are situated on a 24 meter high balcony on the perimeter of the building.

Figure 29:

120 kV Cable terminations below overhead lines and standardized tarpaulin shelter developed by Hydro-Qubec (right).


The table below shows the tight project schedule that was met by HQ cable crews.

The metallic sheath grounding cable runs

Cables and Terminations Installation Schedule - Year 2000

Duration (weeks) April May June July August September October

Cable Pulling SF6 Termination Outdoor Termination High Voltage Tests

12 12 9 3

Table 2:

Cable project schedule.

Cable Sheath Grounding Single point grounding configuration was used. All cable metallic sheaths are solidly grounded at the SF6 terminations. The open end of the sheath located at the outdoor terminations is connected to a 3 kV class Metal Oxyde Varistor (MOV) surge arrester. These surge arresters are designed to withstand all overvoltage conditions associated with switching operations and lightning.

through a current transformer. This configuration enables a more accurate fault detection. When the upstream and downstream cable CTs show identical short-circuit current readings, the fault would originate from overhead line. In the contrary, it would be originating from the cable circuit itself. In the case of the cables connected to the transformers, the same arrangement with the surge arrester is used without current transformer.


Figure 30:

Metallic sheath surge arrester below the overhead lines.

Figure 31:

Metallic sheath surge arrester at the transformers.


Commisionning tests The following commissioning tests were carried out on each cable circuit: Jacket tests (25 kV after cable pulling and 10 kV after termination installation); Conductor resistance measurements; Capacitance measurements; Acoustical resonance tests; High voltage AC Test at 130 kV for 15 minutes. The jacket tests revealed the presence of some faults. These jackets were damaged by rubbing against metallic structures at the end of the runs. Conductor resistance tests and capacitance measurements displayed results within acceptable values. These data are used for protection relay calibration. High Voltage AC tests have also been carried out by Hydro-Qubec. An Hypotronics series resonant test set was used.

The test voltage has been applied to the cables using a special SF6 test bushing. The SF6 equipment switching ability enabled the testing of all cables with three connecting points only.

Figure 33:

Test bushing and suspended HV source conductor.

The acoustical resonance tests consisted of applying a special acoustical probe on the metallic envelopes of the SF6 terminations. This test did not reveal any partial discharge problems in the cable terminations. However, it detected insulation weaknesses in some of the GIS voltage transformers as abnormal acoustical noise was found.

Figure 34: Acoustical resonance test in progress on cable SF6 terminations. Figure 32: Series resonant set used by Hydro-Qubec for cable testing.


With actual cable current values, the system can make calculations such as the time duration a given overcurrent can be applied or the overcurrent value that can be safely transported over a given period. All fiber optic cables have been terminated in an optical fiber dispatcher housed in a telecommunication control cabinet. The dispatcher enables the selection of one or more cables to be monitored. Figure 35: Overall view of the completed SF6 substation with cables on the left.

Real time cable temperature monitoring Fiber optic cables were pulled along with high voltage cables to monitor real cable thermal loading in ducts. When coupled with a Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) unit, the fiber optic makes it possible to know the duct air temperature at any point along the cable route. A computer software using finite element techniques would process these temperature values and convert them into conductor temperatures based on cable thermal model. Should the conductor temperature exceeds the allowable value of 90 degrees Celsius at any point along the route, an alarm would be triggered. This monitoring can be either continuous or occasional. Figure 37: All fiber optic cables are terminated in a telecommunication control cabinet in the SF6 room.

Figure 36:

Fiber optic cable splice casing near transformers.


Beauharnois East SF6 substation associated 120 kV cable circuits


This substation will be housed in a separate 96 meter building located 29 meters east of the power house. It includes a 25 m high vertical shaft. A total of thirty-two 120 kV cable circuits are needed for this substation. Twenty two circuits are used to connect the transformers (T1 up to T22) to the substation, while ten larger capacity circuits would bring the power to overhead lines.

Figure 38:

Inclined duct bank on power house consisting of 66 ducts.

Figure 37: General arrangement of cable circuits connected to transformers for the east end SF6 S.S. Cable installation techniques The cables connected to transformers will be installed in duct banks on the power house. The duct bank had to be inclined at 20 towards the substation to avoid an elevator.


Figure 39:

Cross-section of Beauharnois poser station an duct bank location.


The conductor of the cables located in the central ducts would reach a temperature in excess of 85C under the most severe summer conditions.

The ampacity calculations for the cables connected to overhead lines confirmed the need for an increased spacing of 300 mm between cables in the buried duct bank. Cable design The design of the larger cables connected to 2 overhead lines (1600 mm ) is given in Table 3. However, the design of the cables connected to the transformers has been optimized. The insulation thickness has been reduced from 21 mm to 15.2 mm. This optimization led to important savings and resulted from an internal study to reduce the cost of new HV underground cable project.

Figure 40:

Close-up view of inclined duct bank on power house.

Cables will be installed in Phenolic ducts in a flat formation in the horizontal gallery. In the cable room, a combination of ducts in air, duct banks and metallic trays will be used for cable installation. The cables connected to overhead lines will b e generally installed in ducts in the cable room and in buried duct banks outside the building towards the overhead line towers. Ampacity calculations


Figure 41: Ampacity calculations for this unique arrangement of a 66 duct bank in air could not be carried out by traditional analytical methods. An in-house special "finite element techniques" computer based program had to be used. The ampacity calculations for this very large size duct showed that the optimal copper conductor 2 size is 380 mm . 18

Cables connecting to the 2 transformers with 380 mm copper conductors.

Cable and Project Details

Unit In connection with Load Load Factor Conductor size Conductor type

units to the new west end substation and to 10 overhead transmission lines have been described. These cables have been successfully tested and commissioned. The optimized design and future installation for the cables and accessories that will connect the remaining 22 turbine generator units has also been detailed.

mm2 MCM -

Conductor diameter Insulation thickness Lead sheath thickness Polyethylene jacket Overall diameter Cable weight Working Electrical stress at conductor shield at Uo=69 kV Cable capacitance Total cable length to be installed Number of circuits Average circuit length Maximum circuit length Number of SF6 terminations to be installed Number of outdoor terminations to be installed

mm mm mm mm mm Kg/m KV/m m pF/m m

Overhead Transformers lines 1600 A 290 A 100% 100% 1600 380 3158 750 Segmental Compact with Round aluminum central core 50.7 23.1 18 15.2 3.2 3.2 4.0 111.9 32.3 4.6 4.0 74.9 14 7.0

Biographies Martin Choquette was born in Montreal in 1963. He obtained his B. Sc. degree in electrical engineering from cole Polytechnique in 1986 and his Masters Degree in power engineering at McGill University in 1993 in Montral.. Upon graduation, he joined Pirelli Cables Inc. as a high voltage cable design engineer. Since 1990, he works for HydroQubec as a Project Engineer in high voltage underground lines and power electrical apparatus.

271 2665 10 89 140 30

170 26041 22 395 586 66

m m -



Table 3 : Details of cable project for east end SF6 S.S. Conclusion An important HV cable project included in the major restoration program of the Beauharnois generating station has been completed. The design and installation of cables and accessories used to connect 14 turbine generator

Ray Awad obtained his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Cairo university in 1966 and M.Sc. from Concordia university in 1973. He joined Pirelli Cables in 1969 as cable engineer. When he left Pirelli in 1979 he was Manager of Cable Design Group for Canada. At Hydro Quebec, he is involved in all major HV cable projects. He is also representing Hydro-Qubec on various international committees. 19