Dependable energy

Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Substation Operation and intelligent MV solutions help Gibraltar manage power reliability and supply for the territory

The customer
The Gibraltar Electricity Authority (GEA) is an H.M. Government of Gibraltar Authority and the electricity utility in Gibraltar. It is responsible for the generation, distribution and supply of electricity to all users in the Territory.

Background to installation
In 2013 GEA’s high voltage electrical network comprised of approximately 97 substations of almost exclusively Schneider Electric equipment and protection relays. The existing SCADA system monitored and controlled three distribution centres (Waterport, Orange Bastion and Jumper’s Bastion) and monitored the status of approximately 11 substations across the network. During the project, GEA is inheriting the responsibility of a further 40 substations from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Due to a growing need from both domestic and commercial users for reliable electricity supply, the GEA was facing a challenge in how to manage and scale demand. With an aging network and no electrical interconnection with the Spanish mainland, reliability of supply was becoming a critical issue. GEA decided to upgrade its power station and look to automate the control of the distribution of power across the Territory.

Most unplanned outages were due to generator faults, with a lesser but significant number due to cable faults. The location of these cable faults was often notified to GEA by the members of the public, as the SCADA and protection system did not pin-point exactly where in the network the fault had occurred. The problems were so severe that outages in 2013 and 2014 had begun to have a significant impact on local commerce.

In 2013 GEA approached David Porter at Schneider Electric’s UK Energy Application Centre to provide a reliable, effective and long-term solution to issues on the network.

At around the same time the Government of Gibraltar procured a new dual fuel power station to replace the existing diesel Waterport Power station, to be located at the North Mole. This they agreed would solve some but not all of their issues.

Solution and benefits
To improve the overall performance and deliver an up-to-date distribution network system, providing a reliable and effective control and automation in conjunction with the new power station, Schneider Electric implemented its EcoStruxure™ Substation Operation, formerly known as PACiS – a digital control system for substation automation, part of the EcoStruxure Grid offer.

This offered GEA the functionality and flexibility they needed as the solution is designed for both new and retrofit applications, with specific features including automatic supply restoration (ASR) and intelligent fast load-shedding (iFLS).

It is based on a flexible architecture designed under the IEC 61850 Standard that ensures interoperability with regards to functionality, performance and physical distribution across the different types of substations.

The future
The EcoStruxure Substation Operation system continues to evolve and grow with Schneider Electric supplying integrated 11kV equipment, using its PIX, Ringmaster, GenieEvo, Premset, transformer and VAMP, MiCOM and SEPAM Protection relay solutions.

The early phases of this bespoke solution have been successfully implemented, as explained by Mike Phillips, key account manager at Schneider Electric: “The GEA project is a highly complex programme of integrated works that will span the next eight to ten years. The solution we are deploying exactly matches GEA’s requirements today and for the future and will result in greater stability and reliability for their network and Gibraltar as a whole.”

EcoStruxure™ – Innovation at every level
EcoStruxure is Schneider Electric’s open, interoperable, IoT-enabled system architecture and platform. EcoStruxure delivers enhanced value around safety, reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and connectivity for our customers.

EcoStruxure leverages advancements in IoT, mobility, sensing, cloud, analytics, and cybersecurity to deliver Innovation at Every Level including Connected Products, Edge Control, and Apps, Analytics & Services. EcoStruxure™ has been deployed in 480,000+ sites, with the support of 20,000+ system integrators and developers, connecting over 1.6 million assets under management through 40+ digital services.