ABB excites Hydro Tasmania power stations

2017-05-09 - Several ABB-branded excitation systems are ensuring the quality of generator voltage and reactive power across a number of hydro power stations in Tasmania.

Turbines at the Liapootah Hydroelectric power station in central Tasmania. One of seven Hydro Tasmania locations to install ABB’s UNITROL 6000 Static Excitation Systems.  Image courtesy of CSIRO

Hydro Tasmania operates multiple power stations across the state of Tasmania, where it uses a combination of water and wind power to harness natural energy. When the company required replacement of a number of legacy excitation systems at various locations, they again called on the expertise of ABB.

According to ABB’s Sales Engineer Pedro Lopez, ABB’s local service capability was crucial in the timely completion of this multi-faceted project. Hydro Tasmania had been running out of spare parts for its existing excitation systems, and therefore required the delivery and installation new excitation systems to take its operations into the future.

ABB provided a total of eleven UNITROL® 6000 Static Excitation Systems (SES), along with ten excitation transformers. These were distributed across seven Hydro Tasmania locations in sets, with each SES delivered with a transformer – except for at one location.

"ABB also provided the special communication protocol that Hydro Tasmania required. This protocol enables communication between the control stations and substations via a standard TCP/IP network. The TCP protocol is used for connection-oriented secure data transmission.

"The excitation systems have been supplied with network connection capability so they can be monitored and operated remotely from Hydro Tasmania’s office in Hobart," said Lopez.

Adam Grabek from Hydro Tasmania said, "The remote diagnostics capability allows Hydro Tasmania to monitor the condition of the excitation systems in order to do any initial troubleshooting if required without being required to travel to site."

According to Lopez, the technology ABB provided was also proven in a number of instances, meaning both ABB and Hydro Tasmania were confident of the successful outcome.

"ABB provided equipment network compliance to National Electricity Rules (NER). ABB’s technologies are already proven to be compliant to NER, and this assures a reliable connection to the grid," he said.

Further, standardisation of the units provided the customer with a reliable and repeatable solution across their multiple sites.

Long-standing relationship

Hydro Tasmania is the largest producer of renewable energy in Australia and runs its headquarters out of Hobart. The company operates multiple power stations across the state, where it uses a combination of water and wind power to harness natural energy. Owned by the Tasmanian Government, it has been operating in Australia for the past 100 years and employs around 1,100 people across its numerous operations, and has assets worth an impressive $5 billion.

Hydro Tasmania has huge infrastructure requirements in order to generate energy, and these systems rely on top-quality technology. The company’s assets are extremely important to the day-to-day storing and delivering of water to its turbines, and therefore must be maintained and refurbished on an ongoing basis. To ensure they remain fit-for-purpose, and able to deliver safe and reliable energy, Hydro Tasmania makes an ongoing investment in these assets.

Hydro Tasmania has a long-standing partnership with ABB, for the supply and maintenance of power and automation technology across its various operations. ABB has delivered a number of products for Hydro Tasmania’s numerous power stations over the years, including excitation systems, transformers and protection relays.

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    Turbines at the Liapootah Hydroelectric power station in central Tasmania. One of seven Hydro Tasmania locations to install ABB’s UNITROL 6000 Static Excitation System technology shown in the above picture. Turbine image is courtesy of CSIRO
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