The True Impact of Ambient Conditions on Substations

Outdoor equipment and its external insulation are directly affected by external ambient conditions. Even equipment that is indoors can be affected by ambient conditions because the system might not be hermetically sealed. With equipment that can be expensive and crucial to everyday operations, you likely want to ensure the longevity of your products. 

There are over 55,000 substations in the United States. With these numbers growing, people should know the true environmental impacts that can affect them. If you are wondering about the effect of ambient conditions on substations, keep reading for everything you need to know. 

What Is A Substation? 

Electrical substations are part of the electrical grid that connects to transmission and distribution lines. They function in different environments to provide the correct flow of energy to their outputs that are safe for the distribution grid. 

Substation Components

Ambient Conditions

The components of substations can range from complex to very simple. Smaller ones that are around 500 square feet can have more than a transformer and associated switches, while others are larger and can have several switches and transformers to operate. Here are a few of the components that can be found in a power substation:

  • Lightning Arrestors
  • Wave Traps
  • Bus Bars
  • Circuit Breakers
  • Insulators
  • Transformers

Substations are a part of many different locations with agriculture, urban areas, and even residential developments. If they malfunction, many people can be left without power. 

Concerns On Ambient Conditions 

Climate change is a big concern that may restrict the future of the electricity supply. As ambient air temperature rises, the carrying capacity of electric power cables decreases. In turn, as carbon concentrations increase this can also strain the power infrastructure and reduce the carrying capacity which increases the peak electricity load. 

In addition to this, another great cause of the failure of substations is the pollution of insulators. This is due to high levels of salinity and an indicator of this is leakage during dry and humid periods. Below, you’ll find some of the other climate conditions that can create conflict for power. 


High winds can cause widespread outages by snapping towers and down power lines. There are a variety of statistical methods and fragility curves that analyze past events and power outages to help improve the vulnerability of the existing power grid and prevent issues from high winds. 


Floods also are a huge risk of damaging electricity transmission, distribution lines, and substations because of high flooding, sea level rise, and storm surge events. FEMA and other states have started to develop upgrading substations to be able to withstand a 1,000-year flood event. 


Lower capacity lines are more likely to be destroyed in a fire, but any transmission line can be affected by heat, smoke, and particulate matter from flames. Physical impacts from large fires vary and could lead to the potential collapse of lines and power structures. 

Learn About Substations Today

Different ambient conditions affect electronic substations in various ways. They hold a great deal of importance for life in providing safe energy to communities and developments.

If you want to know more about substation equipment, contact us at Peak substation Service for everything you need to know.