Renova Energia SA has ordered five new transformer substations and overhead transmission lines to serve 14 wind farms with a generation capacity of about 300 megawatts (MW).

The orders were placed in the fourth quarter of 2010 with ABB by the Brazilian power company specializing in the generation of electricity from renewable resources such as wind and small hydro power plants.

ABB will design, engineer, supply, construct and commission the substations, and also train customer operators and maintenance staff. The delivery includes five turnkey 34.5/69 kV substations including 12 step-up power transformers rated at 33 MVA, air and gas-insulated switchgear, medium-voltage reclosers and distribution transformers. ABB will also supply and install 60 km of 69 kV overhead transmission lines to connect a 290 MW wind power plant to the national electricity grid that is currently under construction in the northeastern state of Bahia. The project is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Brazil has traditionally relied heavily on hydropower for its electricity supply. This project is part of the government’s efforts to promote wind as an integral part of its renewable energy portfolio. The Brazilian Wind Energy Association aims to install 10 GW of wind energy by 2020. The country currently has around 600 MW of wind capacity, with another 450 MW under construction.

“These substations will facilitate the integration and transmission of renewable wind energy to serve growing electricity needs in the region,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. ”They will also help strengthen the reliability of the grid and secure power supplies.”

Step-up transformers will increase the voltage of wind-generated power to match the distribution grid. To reduce the impact of faults resulting from the integration of wind power to the grid, reclosers (ie, circuit breakers designed to interrupt short-circuit current and reconnect after interruption) are used to isolate the problem and prevent an outage cascading across the network.

Substations are key installations in the power grid that transform voltage levels and facilitate the efficient transmission and distribution of electricity. They include equipment that protects and controls the flow of electrical power. ABB is the world’s leading supplier of air- and gas-insulated substations, with more than 10,000 installations worldwide covering a range of voltage levels up to 1,100 kV.