Africa’s first fully digital high voltage substation commissioned by GE

  • Sep 13, 2021
  • ESI Africa

The first-ever fully digital high voltage substation on the African continent in Thiès, just outside Dakar in Senegal, has recently been commissioned.

The 225kV substation project is part of Senegal’s national electricity company Senelec’s transmission and distribution grid expansion, reinforcement and reliability enhancement program. The project contract signed between GE and VINCI Energies West Africa in 2018 included the delivery, commissioning, installation and supervision of GE’s Grid Solutions digital substation, panels, digital control system, current transducer optic and voltage transducer optic.

Substations not only supply electricity to the homes, but also manage the power flowing into the grid from various renewable energy sources. GE’s Grid Solutions’ digital substation’s advanced functionalities, with its footprint reduced by up to 50% as well as accelerated deployment, could be a key enabler of the energy transition.

According to VINCI Energies’ Wassel Bouaouda: “This flagship project was made possible due to the robust synergy among VINCI Energies West Africa teams, the technical support of our team Omexom and the digital expertise of GE’s Grid Solutions.

“This first-ever digital substation on the continent is a great example of how to successfully combine the ongoing energy transition with a needed digital transformation to make the Senegalese electricity network more reliable and efficient.”

The digital substation brings the flexibility of software-based applications, resulting in more opportunities for remote maintenance and upgrades. It also opens the door to more secure and efficient exchange of data between multiple devices.

The advantages are that real-time data can be analysed to optimise asset use and maximise system reliability. Such advantages are crucial for substations – not only to supply electricity to homes but also to manage the power flowing into the grid from various renewable energy sources.

Eric Amoussouga, sales director at GE’s Grid Solutions Business in sub-Saharan Africa commented on the significant milestone for the company: “A digital substation’s advanced functionalities with its footprint reduced by up to 50% as well as accelerated deployment are a key enabler of the energy transition. Moreover, by replacing the copper cables with fibre-optic cables which do not conduct electricity, makes it safer for workers during maintenance activities. We are proud to have commissioned the first-ever fully digital substation in Africa, contributing to the increased reliability of Senegal’s electricity grid.”