Substations and its types



Substation receives the energy transmitted at high voltage from the generating stations and reduces the voltage to a value appropriate for local distribution and also provides facilities for switching. Substation are mainly of switching and converting.In switching substation different connections between various transmission lines are made.Whereas in converting substations converts ac into dc or vice versa or convert the frequency from higher to lower or vice versa.

Functions of substation

  • Provides the safety in case of fault i.e safety devices are installed to disconnect equipment or circuit in the event of fault.
  • voltage on the outgoing distribution feeders can be regulated at a substation.
  • Synchronous condenser installed at the end of the transmission line improves Power factor and make measurements to check the operation of the various parts of the power system.

Classification of substation

Substations are classified on different basis:

  1. Classification of substations on The Basis of Nature of Duties

  • Step-Up or primary substations:This substation are usually associated with generating stations.The generated voltage is low(3.3,6.6,11 or 33 kv) is stepped up to primary transmission voltage.
  • Primary Grid Substations:It is located at suitable load centers along the primary transmission lines.In such substations,the primary transmission voltage is stepped down to different suitable secondary voltages.The secondary transmission lines are carried over to the secondary substations situated at the load centers where the voltage is further stepped down to sub-transmission or primary distribution voltages.
  • Step-Down or Distribution substations: It is located at the load centers where the sub-transmission/primary distribution voltage is stepped down to secondary distribution voltage(415/240 V).These substations feed the consumers through distribution network and service lines.

        2.Classification of substations on The Basis of service Rendered

  • Transformer Substations:Transformers are installed on such substations to transform the power from one voltage level to another level as per needs.
  • Switching substations:This substations are used for switching operation of power lines without transforming the voltage.
  • Converting substations:This substations are used for converting ac to dc or vice versa or converting frequency from higher to lower or vice versa.

      3.Classification of substations on The Basis of operating voltage

  • High voltage substations(HV substations):voltage between 11 Kv and 66 Kv.
  • Extra High voltage Substations(EHV substations):voltage between 132 Kv and 400 Kv.
  • Ultra High voltage  Substations (UHV substations):Voltage above 400 Kv.

    4.Classification of Substations on The Basis of Importance

  • Grid substations:Bulk power is transmitted from one point to another point in the grid using this substations.
  • Town substations:These substations step-down the voltages at 33/11 Kv for further distribution in towns and any failure in such substations results in the failure of supply for whole of the town.

     5.Classification of Substations on The Basis of Design

  •   Indoor Type substations:The apparatus is installed within the substation building.Such substations are usually for a voltage up to 11KV but can be erected for the 33KV and 66 KV.
  • Outdoor substations:These substations are further divided into:

  A.Pole mounted substations:This type of substations are erected for distribution of power in localities.Single stout pole or H-pole and 4-Pole structures with suitable platforms are employed for transformers of capacity up to 25 KVA,125 KVA and above 125 KVA up to 250KVA.

  B.Foundation mounted substations:This type of substations are usually employed for voltages of 33,000 volts and above.



The apparatus is installed within the substation building.This type of substations are usually for a voltage up to 11,000 V but can be erected for 33,000 V and 66,000 volts when the surrounding atmosphere is contaminated with impurities such as metal corroding gases and fumes,conductive dust etc.The switchgear on supply or primary side consist of oil circuit breaker only.The high voltage supply is given to the primary of the transformer through circuit breaker,various feeder emerge out from Bus Bar arrangement.The panel for each feeder consists of an isolators switch and circuit breaker  and provides with measuring instruments.For the protection of panel power Protective Relays is used.For the protection of oil filled transformers with conservator tanks Buchholz’s relay is used.

There are various auxiliaries in indoor substations:

  1. Storage batteries used for operation of the protective gear and switch operating solenoids & emergency lightning in substations in case of failure of supply.
  2. firefighting equipment’s such as water buckets,fire extinguishers,etc.

The various compartments of indoor substations are:

  1. Control compartment.
  2. Indicating and metering instruments and protective device compartment .
  3. circuit breaker and operating mechanism compartment.
  4. main bus-bar compartment.
  5. current transformer and cable sealing box compartment.

According to construction indoor distribution transformer substations and high voltage switchboards are further subdivided into following categories:

  1. Substations of The Integrally Built Type:In this type of substation the apparatus are installed on site and the structure of the site is constructed using of concrete or bricks.
  2. Substations of The composite Built-Up Type:The assemblies and parts are factory or workshop prefabricated and are assembled on site within a substation switchgear room.
  3. Unit Type Factory Fabricated substations and metal clad switchboards:In this type of substation the parts are made in electrical workshops and are shipped to the site of installations fully pre-assembled.And when the installations of substations and switchyard is completed only the connection to the incoming and outgoing power circuits are required to be made.Metal clad designed with withdrawable trucks and are divided into several compartments.

Fig:General View of A unit-Type Metal -clad switchboard


Outdoor substations are very widely used in power systems.Outdoor substation are divided into further two types:

  1. Pole-mounted substations and
  2. Foundation-mounted substations.

1.Pole-mounted substations:These are the cheapest,simple and smaller of substations and are used for mounting distribution transformer of capacity up to 250 KVA.Ht distribution line are used for supporting structure of outdoor substation equipment’s.Triple pole mechanically operated(TPMO) switch are used for switching “on” and “off” of ht transmission line.HT fuse unit is installed for protection of ht side.To control lt side iron clad low tension switch of suitable capacity with fuses are installed.To protect the transformer from the surges lightning arresters are installed over the ht line.Substations is earthed at two or more places.

Transformer of capacity up to 125 KVA are mounted on double pole structure and for transformer of capacity above 125 KVA but not exceeding 250 KVA 4-pole structure are used.

Fig:200 KVA pole-mounted substation

2.Foundation Mounted substations:These substations are built entirely in the open and in such substations all the equipment is assembled into one unit usually enclosed by a fence from the point of view of safety.Substations for primary and secondary transmission and for secondary distribution(above 250 KVA) are foundation mounted outdoor type.The equipment’s required for such substations is heavy.

Advantages of outdoor substations over indoor substations

  • Extension of Installation is easier.
  • Fault location is easier as the equipment is within view.
  • Lesser time is required for erection of outdoor substations.
  • Smaller amount of building materials is required.
  • cost of switchgear required is comparatively low.
  • Repairing work is easy.

Disadvantages of outdoor substations over indoor substations

  • More space is required for the substation.
  • All the maintenance of the apparatus is to be performed in the open air during all kinds of weather.
  • Protection devices are required to be installed for protection against lightning surges.
  • Length of control cables required is more.



Power system by JB.Gupta

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Distribution system design

5 thoughts on “Substations and its types”

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