ABB to enhance power reliability in U.S. capital

7 March 2018

ABB will supply gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) to strengthen the U.S. capital’s electrical network. The order is a part of the Capital Grid project and was awarded by Pepco Holdings, a member of the Exelon family of companies, a leading electric and gas utility company serving more than 2 million people in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. capital is home to about 680,000 people. The city is experiencing its highest population growth in four decades, projected to reach about 900,000 by 2035, fueling an increased demand for reliable electricity. The Capital Grid project was initiated to replace aging grid infrastructure and increase transmission capacity in the District of Columbia and Maryland, to address current and future energy needs. The upgrade will also help build grid resilience to withstand and recover from unforeseen events such as severe storms. It will help accommodate new energy sources reflecting the District of Columbia’s recently announced ambition to generate half its electricity from renewables by 2032.

The Capital Grid project aims to create a networked system connecting multiple substations through underground transmission lines from the north to the south of the region. As part of the order, ABB will design, supply and install 69-kilovolt (kV) and 230 kV GIS for four substations within the network. GIS technology was chosen due its reliability and compactness, key considerations when land is scarce and at a premium. It enables substations to be housed in buildings to protect them in severe weather conditions, while saving up to 70 percent space compared to conventional air-insulated substations.

“We are delighted to partner with Pepco once again, to modernize the electrical grid in the US capital with our compact and proven GIS technology”, said Claudio Facchin, President, ABB Power Grids. “These new installations will help enhance transmission capacity and reliability, providing power security for millions of urban consumers and reinforcing ABB’s position as a partner of choice for enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”

In a power system, a GIS controls and protects the network from power outages. It facilitates reliable supply of electricity and can be safely operated in confined spaces and harsh environments. ABB pioneered this technology and continues to drive innovations in GIS. As a market leader in high-voltage GIS technology, ABB offers ratings and applications from 72.5 kV to 1200 kV and has a global installed base of more than 30,000 bays. ABB’s latest offering includes eco-efficient and digital capabilities.