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Article Date: 20th February 2013

ABB Power - New Primary Substation Delivers Future-Proof Power Security for Telehouse

Power Factor Control - Power Quality - Power Factor Correction

ABB Substation

Telehouse, a leading provider of global data centres and managed ICT solutions, has successfully future-proofed the power supply for its London Docklands campus with the creation of its own primary 132 kilovolt (kV) substation. ABB was responsible for the turnkey project to design, supply, install and commission all the electrical plant from the high voltage gas insulated switchgear (GIS) and transformers to the low voltage switchboards.

Telehouse’s London Docklands campus houses the IT infrastructure of around 500 major international organisations as well as offering connectivity to internet service providers, carriers, operators and internet exchanges. Continuity and security of power supply for the server banks is absolutely crucial, so the site is supplied by four redundant 11 kV power systems on separate grids to ensure maximum redundancy and reliability levels of 99.999%.

The decision to create the new primary substation was driven by the desire to meet the increased demand for power from the latest addition to the Docklands campus – the state-of-the-art Telehouse West Building. At the same time, there was a desire to provide even greater levels of reliability and protection for the electricity supply.

Increasing demand to 40 MVA

Previously, the campus had a peak demand in the order of 13.5 to 15.6 megavoltampere (MVA), while the new West Building was estimated to require 14 MVA, resulting in a total peak of 29.6 MVA. This figure excluded future load growth within the existing buildings. There was also a need to allow for future expansion in the order of an additional 10 MVA. This resulted in a projected maximum demand of 40 MVA.

After carrying out detailed cost studies, it was decided by Bob Harris, Telehouse’s Technical Services Director, that the most cost-effective route to providing more power for the site would be to replace its existing metered feed from the UK Power Networks 11 kV distribution network with a direct connection at 132 kV. This would also enable Telehouse to take full advantage of the reduction in DUoS (distribution use of system) charges payable to the distribution network operator (DNO).

Telehouse brought together a consortium of consultants to carry out a turnkey project for the new primary substation including: Arcadis - the lead consultants, Mace – building and civil works; WSP – M&E; YRM – Architects. Telehouse/Arcadis issued ABB with an invitation to tender for the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the electrical network in the summer of 2010.

Tapping into a 132 kV circuit

To create the new connection, ABB has tapped into the existing UK Power Networks' 132 kV circuits. These have been linked by two diverse 500 metre underground cable circuits feeding through the new indoor substation within the Telehouse campus.

The use of ABB’s state-of-the-art compact ELK-04-735 gas insulated switchgear (GIS) technology enabled the substation to be constructed within a very small footprint. As part of the GIS specification process it had to undergo a rigorous approval procedure with UK Power Networks, this was achieved successfully with the full support of Telehouse.

Dual redundancy

The network has been designed for dual redundancy (on a 2N basis), so if the normal live feed should be interrupted it will switch seamlessly to the alternative feeder route. This has required the doubling up of key equipment, such as two banks of 132 kV GIS together with two ABB 33/50 MVA 132/11 kV grid transformers. ABB also designed, supplied and installed the substation protection and control equipment.

On the secondary distribution side, ABB has installed UniGear 2500 A, 11 kV switchgear as well as all the ancillary equipment including 350 kilovoltampere (kVA) auxiliary transformers, earthing resistors, substation earthing, batteries and battery chargers, SCADA interface and 415 V switchgear.

Contestable and non-contestable elements

A significant element in the project was the high level of liaison between ABB and UK Power Networks on all aspects of the contestable and non-contestable elements of the work. A particular advantage offered by ABB is that it is one of a select group of companies accredited under the National Electricity Registration Scheme (NERS) operated by the Lloyd’s Register Group on behalf of the UK DNOs. This scheme provides technical assessment of service providers who elect to be assessed for accreditation for contestable works associated with the installation of electrical connections.

This close liaison enabled UK Power Networks to focus on the non-contestable element – the provision of the connection point with sufficient capacity. while ABB delivered a project-focused single interface to design and construct the connection to UK Power Networks’ own standards.

Due to its central London location and close proximity to a busy business district a particularly important aspect of the project was to ensure that noise and disruption was kept to a minimum, especially while working in the Telehouse campus and the external areas for the high voltage cable routes. This required careful planning and execution, especially in the scheduling of deliveries and civil works.

The entire Telehouse substation project was executed on a fast-track basis, from contract award in November 2010, successfully energising in May 2012 with 11 kV connections available to support Telehouse's business prior to the 2012 London Olympics.

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