Bogota Improves Power Distribution With New Substation

Bogotá’s new 500 kV substation plays a critical role in Colombia’s national programme of energy improvement.
Published: Fri 01 May 2015

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Colombia’s power distributor in Bogota, Empresa de Energía de Bogotá (EEB), has awarded Alstom Grid a €23 million contract to supply a new 500 kV substation. The substation will be located at Gachancipa, 30 km north of Bogota, Colombia’s capital.

Alstom will deliver the 500 kV turnkey substation, inclusive of design, civil works construction, erection and commissioning. Part of the solution offered is Alstom’s air-insulated switchgear comprising live tank circuit breakers, disconnectors and instrument transformers. The project is due to be completed by the middle of 2017.

Connecting Hydro Sogamoso

The new substation will connect the Hydro Sogamoso power plant to Bogota, improving and increasing the reliability of the city’s energy system. The Sogamoso plant is one of Colombia’s four major plants.

Located on the Sogamoso river in north-west Colombia, the power plant comprises a 190-m-tall dam and an underground power station housing three Francis turbines capable of generating a total of 820 MW of power. The plant supplies about 10% of the country's annual energy requirement, thus playing an important role in generating the annual average of energy (5,056 GWh per year).

The construction of the plant, worth €650 million, lasted about six years and created jobs for 7,000 people. The plant was inaugurated at the beginning of this year.

In addition to contributing to the region's energy security and development of tourism, it is expected to improve the quality of life of all the local residents and provides a real development opportunity for the area.

National programme of energy improvement

The substation is essential to support the national programme of energy improvement in Colombia, which focuses on projects that will reduce power loss, meet the environmental standards of the country and also guarantee that infrastructure, like the substations, operates at optimum efficiency.

Colombia’s mining and energy planning unit Unidad de Planeacion Minero Energetica (UPME) has put into place a 2013 to 2027 electricity plan which includes adding roughly 3.1GW of capacity as well as more than US$2 billion in transmission works.

UPME's plan includes the development of hydro plants, gas-fired combined-cycle thermo plants and a coal plant.

UPME also studied two alternative plans to increase renewable generation and diversify Colombia's energy matrix. One included adding 540MW of capacity through wind, geothermal and cogeneration, while the other consisted of adding 300MW of wind capacity in northern coastal Guajira department.

In terms of transmission, the plan analyzed the impact of connecting major users to the national transmission network (STN) including hydro projects Río Ambeima (45MW) and San Miguel (42MW), coal-plant project Termotasajero II (160MW) and mega hydro project Ituango (2.4GW) as well as connection needs for coal producer and major electricity consumer Drummond.

Planned transmission works include creating the 230kV Tuluní substation (expected operation date August 2016), the 220kV Río Córdoba substation (September 2016) and the 500kV La Loma substation (November 2016).

The 2013-27 plan also includes reconfiguring the 230kV Guavio - Tunal line and the 220kV Barranquilla - Tebsa line, installing a second 500/220kV transformer at Copey (November 2015) and connecting the Ituango project to the STN (June 2018), UPME said.The planning unit also expects 500kV lines to be constructed to facilitate power transfer to and from Colombia's Caribbean, southwest and eastern regions.

In total the transmission works involve more than US$2 billion of investment and should be completed in the next five years.