4 Main Types of Substations

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4 Main Types of Substations

Apr. 18, 2022

Equipment components used to change certain characteristics of the power supply (e.g., voltage, AC to DC, frequency, pf, etc.) are called substations. This article describes the four main types of substations.

Substations are an important part of the power system. The continuity of power supply depends to a large extent on the successful operation of substations.


4 Main Types of Substations

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There are four main types of substations. 

1. Switchyard of power station

2. Customer substations

3. System stations

4. Distribution stations


Switchyard of power station

The first type is a switchyard for power stations. These facilities connect generators to the utility grid and provide off-site power to the plant.

● Generator switching stations tend to be large installations. They are typically designed and built by power plant designers. They are subject to different planning, financial and construction efforts than conventional substation projects. 

● Because of their unique nature, the creation of power plant switchyards is not discussed here. However, the expansion and modification of these facilities generally follow the same process as system stations.


Customer substations

The second type of substation, often referred to as a customer substation, serves as the primary source of power supply for a specific commercial customer. 

● The technical requirements and business case for such facilities depend heavily on the requirements of the customer rather than the needs of the utility.


System Stations

A third type of substation involves the transmission of large volumes of power over a network and is called a system station. Some of these stations provide only switching facilities (no power transformers), while others also perform voltage conversion.

● These large stations are often used as endpoints for transmission lines originating from generation switching stations and provide power to circuits feeding the substation. 

● They are essential to the long-term reliability and integrity of the power system and are capable of transferring large amounts of energy from generators to load centers. 

● These system stations are strategic facilities that are often very expensive to build and maintain.


Distribution substations

The fourth type of substation is the distribution substation. These are the most common facilities in the electric system and provide the distribution circuits that directly supply most electric customers.

● They are usually located near load centers, which means they are usually located in or near the communities they supply and are the sites that customers are most likely to encounter.

● Depending on the type of equipment used, substations can be

► Outdoor with air-insulated equipment

► indoor type with air insulated equipment

► outdoor type with gas insulated equipment

► indoor type with gas insulated equipment

►Hybrid technology substations

►Mobile substations


4 Main Types of Substations

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