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The design of distribution substations must be a combination of the quality and reliability of the power supply, as well as functionality, maintainability, safety, and simplicity of operation. In this blog, we’ll be looking at four key factors that need to be considered during the substation design process.

1. Substation Physical Appearance

It is usually favorable to locate distribution substations as close to the load center of its service area as possible, but this is often difficult to achieve. Locations that are ideal from a cost and engineering point of view are occasionally restricted due to aesthetic, neighboring, electrical, or physical considerations. Given the required low and high voltage requirements and the recommended power capacity, a lower cost above-ground design will meet your power supply needs. However, designs that are above ground will require overhead sub-transmission line structures, which are not ideal for neighborhoods. Instead, neighborhoods often opt for underground cables, but these can be more expensive.

2. Substation Standardisation

Guides, recommended practices, and standards are used in communicating requirements for the maintenance, operation, installation, and design of substations. Standards are used in order to determine a figure agreed by the substation community of alternative solutions from various different solutions. This gives purchasers the opportunity to choose a specific standard solution with the knowledge that different vendors will be able to supply it and operate with the different products from that vendor. This also allows vendors to prepare several solutions in the knowledge that many customers will be able to specify them.

3. Site Planning

Once the substation planning has been finished with the acquired real estate, a scaled site plan will be made in order to establish the right of way access for distribution lines, transmission lines, roads and other utility access, including telecommunications, gas, sewer, and water supplies. The site plan will also lay out the whole footprint with the location of major substation equipment and fencing. Before the site plan can be completed, however, the configuration of the substation layout will need to be established, which will determine if the substation will be a ring bus, a transfer and main bus or a single bus configuration.

4. Restricting Access

Restricting site access will limit the movement of people in and out of the substations, which will reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring. Allowing visitors access to the substation or storing materials and equipment into any spare space on the premises will lead to an increase in the number of people that can access restricted areas. Not all of these people will be aware of the potential imperceptible electrical hazards in the environment that aren’t identified by fencing or labels. In this case, escorted access is advised.

For more information about the substation design process, get in touch with our team of experts today.

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