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E. Mikes *

Ch. Tschannen ALSTOM LTD Carl-Sprecher-Strasse 3 5036 Oberentfelden, Switzerland

P. Hadorn

Ph. Ponchon ALSTOM T&D SA 1, rue Paul Doumer 73106 Aix-les-Bains Cedex, France

Gas insulated switchgear (GIS) is often built to its final extent in several stages. The motives for upgrades and extensions are principally economical if well planned and are related to the expected or future network growth. Typical extensions are additional bays, bus section disconnectors, double cable terminations. Transmission system growth may lead to higher requirements with regard to short circuit current and/or nominal current ratings after the initial GIS installation. Upgrade of busbars, circuit breakers and meter ing transformers may have to be investigated. Upgrades may also consist of secondary technology change from electromechanical to electronic equipment, including measures to achieve EMC conformity. Addition of isolated earthing switches for off-line monitoring, voltage indicators, partial discharge sensors etc. are further upgrade possibilities. The planning for an extension or upgrade option should begin during the initial GIS design stage. Layout and provisions in the main and auxiliary circuits as well as space requirements, should be considered in order to achieve a safe, economical erection and commissioning of the modification, while maintaining safe partial operation of the existing GIS. In case of unplanned extensions and upgrades, all existing and new functional and service requirements are to be investigated and discussed by the user and manufacturer thoroughly. For the execution of an actual modification, service requirements, and operating limitations to the existing GIS should be defined and, if necessary, negotiated among all parties involved. In many cases, a large part of the extensions can be independently erected and tested. The subject of the paper is the discussion of various executed GIS extensions and the subsequent erection and commissioning. It is based on the evaluation of over 30 years of experience with a high number of GIS in operation. Examples from different countries with emphasis on the rapidly expanding networks in the Far East are shown and explained. (Key words: GIS, network expansion, substation upgrade)


The availabilty of electricity is one of the key factors in our life today. The integrity of power supply is determined by reliable operation and high availability of equipment. Todays HV switchgear, especially GIS (Gas Insulated metal enclosed Switchgear) technology has a high level of in service performance and is built and tested according to international standards. More and more GIS substations are in use mainly in highly populated urban areas, fast growing industrial zones and sites with specific environmental and operational requirements (sand. salt, snow, wind). Ecological considerations and nature conservation laws are increasingly decisive for the selection of smaller and less Fig. 1: conspicuous switchgear. Fig. 1: Double-busbar substation from 1988/89 in Singapore, extended twice (19 + 11 + 4 = 34 bays).

72,5(145) kV GIS in Senoko Power Generating Station, Singapore Power

60 100 kV 100 200 kV 200 300 kV 300 500 kV

Report 1992 Bay years Failure rate % 38471 0,13 23845 1,1 12955 1,1 4735 4,3

Report 1998 Bay years Failure rate % 56844 0,05 32048 0,45(1,45) 16040 0,86 6371 2,81

Fig. 2

Reliability of the GIS, based on Cigr SC 23 [1] [2]

The worldwide GIS experience of more than 30 years has contributed to reliable and safe energy supplies by low number of disturbances and the long lifetime of GIS installations. The Cigr SC 23 figures are clearly showing an improving reliability, if an older system in the 100 to 200 kV range is excluded (Fig. 2).

The need to make better use of resources has forced the attention to the availability aspect, thus reduced maintenance and outage costs. These questions become mandatory as a result of transmission system growth leading to network extension and upgrade and/or system performance uprating. The availability and reliability of power supply in general are influenced by various factors related to station designer, manufacturer and user. Maintenance cannot compensate poor quality. Better availability of the GIS is the result of proven quality products, design solutions, flexibility and variability of a modular system.


The following observations are based on our in-house experience in regard to planned and executed extensions with more than 8400 GIS bays worldwide in operation, 3200 GIS bays are in Asia. T he Substation projects of the last 3 - 4 years are also showing that rules of economics, cost considerations, liberalisation of the energy markets are forcing the users towards planned or unplanned extensions after the initial installation of the transmission system (Fig. 3). 2.1 Extension reasons For planned extensions the mid and long range forecasts and expectations regarding the following are decisive: growth of population and/or growth of industrial, commercial activities in a certain region, resulting in increase of consumption of electric energy new industrial, economical areas and zones need for new energy supply points added generating points, increasing the output of generating stations improved redundancy, availability of the energy supply layout and concept changes of the high voltage network.

Fig. 3 Typical example for planned S/S extension, double busbar station (DBB), extension from 6 to 9 bays

Fig. 4

Flexibility, extension of 145 kV SBB GIS

The reasons for unplanned extensions are usually similar to those of the planned ones, caused by initially not predicted and not expected changes in the transmission system. Additional reasons for unplanned extensions arise by changing local legislation and laws imposing new constructional, environmental, communal limitations. Depending on the planned or unplanned reasons the extension may lead to an upgrade or a combined ext ension and upgrade of the existing GIS resp. transmission system. Thus the users of modern SF6 switchgear are specificly interested in the flexibility of the used equipment (Fig. 4). All possible configurations and single-line layouts are expected from the GIS. Rules of economics, primary investment vs. life cycle cost assessments are increasingly taken into consideration, when (as a result of the very flexible and modular GIS designs) different substation concepts (AIS, hybrid and GIS) are possible.


Upgrades of systems

The following changes of the transmission, subtransmission systems are to be considered as upgrades: Change, enhancement of the transmission voltage (52/72,5 110 kV, for example) by changing from AIS to GIS or hybrid substation system technology Increased transmitted loads change from single to double/triple cables, CT changes Increased short circuit currents in the system change of switching components Technological developments, new technologies [Non-Conventional Instrument Transformers (NCIT)] Added features for monitoring, ease of maintenance isolated earthing switches (off-line monitoring), sensors for voltage, partial discharge detectors, gas density, internal arc detection. Upgrades are in most of the cases purely economically driven. The cost element of operation, maintenance, repair, service interruptions, decomissioning expenditures are very much dependent on the country and local conditions. 2.3 Extension and upgrade types, solutions

HV substations are being built throughout the world with different electrical layouts. Cigr investigations [1] [2] show for smaller S/S single busbar, bigger S/S double busbar solutions, 1 1/2 breaker schema being more present at higher voltages in North-America and the Pacific region. The traditional choice of the S/S layout is less dependent on redundancy due to the high reliability and long maintenance intervals, thus offering the users wider network operational choices. The system operator can flexibly combine or isolate network parts with double-busbars, busbar sectionalizing and couplings. Modern GIS constructions are usually easily expandable, i.e. extensions and changes in substations in service are possible with minimum of operational limitations. Depending of the choosen architecture one of the busbars or a busbar section can remain in operation while additional bays are installed and tested [3]. Typical solutions are: bay at the end of busbar(s) bay in the bus-run insertion of bus section disconnector(s) auxiliary busbar additional main-bus(es) coupling bay(s) circuit breaker with or without feeder disconnector and current transformer to existing bus disconnector earthing switches at suitable location additional cable terminations (single to twin cable) connections to bushings, transformers and cable terminations voltage transformer and lightning arresters at suitable locations Very typical GIS extensions have been made at MTP Cogeneration Co. Ltd. building a 30 bay, 145 kV double busbar substation in 4 steps (Fig. 5). Fig. 6 shows installed bays waiting for cables to be connected. Fig. 5/6 145 kV GIS in Coco S/S, Thailand 2.4 Timescale, periods

The flexibility of the modern GIS designs, the very good service experience with GIS worldwide and the staggered availability of capital investments led to an increase of the planned extensions. We observe today foreseen extensions at over 50% of GIS projects. Proper forecasts together with the initially planned substation

are good prerequisites in obtaining efficient extensions and/or upgrades resulting in uninterrupted energy supply to the customers. The usual periods between initial erection and extensions are 5 to 15 years. A high number of GIS S/S have been extended several times, step by step. Fundamentally, any type of extension is possible with modern GIS concepts [4] (Fig. 7). In case of substations, when space is really limited as in crowded city centres or at high altitude mountain locations, underground GIS substations, need very precise initial planning, but todays HV technology offers also excellent solutions: modular, small flexible GIS, with HV cable connections, power transformers, heat exchangers, etc. are allowing for hidden underground substations (Fig. 8/9). Fig. 7 Types of extensions, stepwise executed on an actual 245 kV GIS

Fig. 8

170 kV, 40 kA S/S built in 1978/80 to be extended with one bay for third transformer


The decision to build a substation to is final extent initially or to plan future extensions is based on economic and future service conditions. Because of the number of parameters involved, each substation should be looked at individually. The considerations to be made in case of unplanned extensions and upgrades are similar [4]. Items, to be considered: time schedule, possible steps of the extensions based on network growth projections possible restrictions of service flexibility cost of additional allowances, elements for fut ure works vs. execution to the final stage if initially executed

Fig. 9

Underground 170 kV, 40 kA substation 7 (+1) bays

additional expences for engineering, travelling, transport and handling, assembly and new tests implementation of changing constructional, environmental regulations, right-of-ways for lines, etc. safety requirements, operational and weather conditions. All factors and steps to be taken have to be carefully planned and negotiated by the planner, user and manufacturer of the equipments. The aim is to provide the best possible situation for any future extension or upgrade, with a minimum of impact to service, using the flexibility of modern GIS constructions. Particular care is required if an extension relates to different types, generations or even manufacturers. The tasks in this concept are: the optimisation of the station layout and bay sequence to allow for easy future extensions provide 1 or 2 bus sectionalizers and or busbar disconnectors for new bays to be added and tested avoid the need for extensions within the switchgear provide free space for at the ends for unplanned extensions, maybe extending the switchyard/building provide separate gas compartments for reduction of the interference with the existing main components during the execution of the additions consider the integration of controls and protection for the final stage during initial installation and the execution of bay-overlapping controls, protection to avoid wiring work and control changes. 3.1 Interfaces to the main circuit GIS and the extension. To comply with functional and and short-circuit currents, gas moisture and tightness, works, gas monitoring and

The crucial subject for extensions is the main circuit interface between the existing allow extensions listed under 2.3 the interface has to serve for connections and service requirements. Hereby all functional parameters (dielectric, continuous electrodynamic and thermal properties, compensation of weight, forces, expansion, pressure relief, EMC, etc. ), but also service requirements (accessibility for all visibility of all indicators) are to be taken into consideration.

Planned interfaces for the same type of GIS or one of the same manufacturer is the straightforward solution. Unplanned extensions and/or upgrades with alternative manufacturers equipment will necessitate very careful investigations (details of interface, availability of space, need for future maintenance and overhauls, functional and service requirements as listed above). The data of the initial installation has to be accessible. 3.2 Example of an executed extension, outdoor 525 kV

The extension of Paiton GIS, Indonesia, is a good example of extensions performed on an outdoor 525kV-4000A-50kA GIS, built 1991 to 1993. The thermal power plant included 4 generating units connected to the frst stage of the GIS and 4 i additional generating units connected as an extension to the GIS. The extension of the GIS from 12 to 22 breakers, one and a half circuit breaker diagram, was commissioned in 1997. Connection points between the existing GIS and the extension were only at the level of each busbar. The mechanism of apparatus are autonomous, so that there was no need for extension of central auxiliary systems.

Fig. 10

525 kV, 50 kA GIS in Paiton Thermal Power Plant, Indonesia

Due to the size of the project, specific precautions have been made while extending the substation: maintaining the existing GIS in service during extension works (bus-tie with a busbar disconnecting switch and intermediate SF6 compartment, already in the first stage) solving of dilatation problems For the connections in the GIS, a total of about 2000 m length of busducts is installed. To compensate the dilatation of such lengths of busbars, the following provisions were applied: bellows on each busbar change of direction (lyre) and additional bellows on the bus-tie, so that the dilatation of the extension is independent from the first stage.

the bus-tie at six points between the initial GIS and the extension is supported by steel structures and is designed to take dilatation and seismic requirements into account. testing of the new substation while the existing GIS remain in service The test equipment, including HV reactor and divider has been connected through overhead bushings to perform dielectric test on each complete diameter (1 c.b. solution). Sufficient space was provided close to the gantries. In fact, in the one and a half circuit breaker diagram, the transfer of charge on the other busbar while testing a portion of busbar, has allowed the existing GIS to be kept in service, and the bus-tie has not been permanently submitted to the rated voltage during dielectric tests. providing sufficient information for the civil works sufficient space had been planned in the first stage. In the third planned stage of the extension busducts and SF6/air bushings for connection to the two new overhead lines shall be installed to allow the delivery of the total power produced by the 8 units of Paiton power plant to be HV network. 3.3 Interface of the auxiliary equipment

The questions regarding auxiliary circuits, local controls, interlocking system, metering and the protection system incorporated in the local control are very extensive due to the variety of philosophies regarding of auxiliary equipments worldwide. In general, as a basic rule, the auxiliary circuits of the initial GIS and extensions must fulfill the same functions. After 10 to 15 years maybe suitable alternative components must be selected, if the initial auxiliary elements are not any more available. The planning of upgrades and extensions with different manufacturers of main and auxiliary circuits require very close cooperation and coordination not only during planning, but also in the process of erection and commissioning at site (interfaces, auxiliary equipment, bay related and bay overlapping components). Additional functions and components will be normally needed to be incorporated into the initial circuit when extending the GIS, if they not have been previously provided for. The user has to coordinate all activities of the manufacturer(s) regarding service condition changes during the erection and commissioning stages, if parts of the existing GIS remains in service.


1972 Double pressure c.b. B 112 108 kg SF6

The ecological, environmental and economical trends worldwide have forced the general technological development and better use of materials resulting in more and more compact, light weight, with less SF6 filled GIS solutions. The proven reliability i.e. the possibility of disturbances and incurred costs for maintenance, repair should remain equal or even be improved. Modern GIS concepts offer single-phase or threephase encapsulated solutions in the lower voltage ranges, single-phase encapsulation being dominant at higher voltages due to constructional and cost considerations.The combination of both types is also possible. The remarkable developments in circuit breaker technology with thermal and/or double motion arcing chambers are obviously present in newer GIS solutions [5]. Subsequently with less drive energy needed, the operating mechanisms are mechanically less imposed and the long-time behaviour improved. Pure mechanical spring (or mecano-hydraulic solutions) are today widely used for GIS circuit breakers. Economical solutions with one break up to 420kV/50kA are available [3] (Fig. 11 and 12).

1985 Puffer c.b. B 212/2 (B 95) 30 kg SF6

1999 Thermal c.b. B 65 18 kg SF6

Fig. 11

Reduction of SF6 gas filling for 145 kV, 40 kA GIS circuit breakers by factor 6 in 27 years

Fig. 12

245 kV, 50 kA GIS B 105 with independent pole FK 3-2 type spring mechanism operated circuit breakers

Similarly, the developments at disconnectors, earthing Fig. 13 145 kV hybrid-GIS transformer bay switches makes them capable handling increased module for Tully S/S, Powerlink, requirements in regard of small capacitive and inductive Queensland, Australia currents. Earthing switches can optionally be built in during factory acceptance tests isolated execution for measurement purposes (off-line monitoring). Plug-in cable ends, composite insulators on the primary side, electronic controls, built on monitoring, digital protection and controls with EMC conformity on the secondary side are further remarkable steps in GIS technology making extensions and upgrades of systems easier. The practical use of NCIT (CT,VT) with digital controls and communication is the next possible step. Flexible modular GIS based equipment also offers economical solutions for extension and/or upgrade of the users existing AIS installations with GIS, GIS-hybrid moduls or compact mobile substation units (Fig. 13). The total life-cycle costs (for the extimated service duration) are increasingly taken into account by the planners and users worldwide to justify the refurbishment and/or extension of their systems.


The high number of executed GIS extensions and upgrades have proven, that properly designed and tested switchgear with an initially high degree of flexibility, offers all possibilities of planned and unplanned extensions and/or upgrades during the very long life cycle of the primary equipment. It is recommendable, that users investigate and plan at the initial stage of substation layout the possible needs for later additions. The short life cycles of secondary equipment for control, protection and monitoring, but also information technology (IT) necessitates some thoughts of changes in this field while the primary equipment will remain in service. The GIS technology has gone through a substantial development during the last 30 years. It is mature and fulfils all service tasks very reliably at a minimum of maintenance over decades and the real ageing of GIS primary systems is very limited. The evident trends for the future are characterised by further technological developments for increased switching capabilities at reduced operational energy and size of the equipment. The integration of primary and secondary switchgear including condition monitoring becomes more and more one common, environment friendly system. The cost optimization trend in energy supply urges simplified station layouts, combined switchgear functions, compact but flexible solutions and in consequence improved Life Cycle Cost.


Cigr Paper 23-101, 1992 A twenty-five year review of experience with SF6 gas insulated substations (GIS) T. Molony et al. Cigr Paper 23-102, 1998 Report on the second international survey on high voltage gas insulated substations (GIS) service experience D. Kopejtkova et a. SEV/ETG Conference Paper, 17.05.2000, Zurich Present aspects of GIS technology (Aspekte aktueller GIS-Technik) C. Tschannen Cigr Paper 23-208, 1992 Commissioning of GIS substation extensions C. Tschannen, D. Long, et al. 12 CEPSI Paper 31-30, 1998 Improved performance and reliability of high voltage circuit breakers with spring mechanisms through new breaking and operating elements D. Dufournet, E. Mikes, et al.





* Contact person:

Endre G. Mikes ALSTOM LTD High Voltage Equipment Carl-Sprecher-Str. 3 CH-5036 Oberentfelden, Switzerland Tel.: +41-62-737 36 05 Fax: +41-62-737 33 99 E-mail: