Smart Grid Technology Helps Improve Power Reliability in Minas Gerais
SAO PAULO, October 23, 2012 – S&C Electric Company, a global smart grid leader shaping the future of reliable electric delivery, today announces the company was awarded a $38.5-million USD (R$78 million) contract to replace underground distribution switchgear at Cemig Distribuição SA, the largest energy distribution company in Brazil. Cemig will install more than 450 S&C Vista® Underground Distribution Switchgear line-ups in cities across the state of Minas Gerais, including the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte.
The switchgear replacement is part of a major asset renewal program at Cemig, which will result in modern, smart-grid functionality for local business and the 18 million people it serves. Modernizing the area’s grid will improve power reliability and grid efficiency, which is critical as Brazil prepares for the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament.
“By replacing aging switchgear with automated equipment, Cemig is taking major steps to enhance electric service reliability, which is important not only for a successful tournament, but also to support broader economic growth in the area,” says Cleverson Takiguchi, general manager of S&C Electric do Brazil.
The automated switchgear will transfer an electric power load to an alternate electricity source in the event of a disruption to the primary source. This enhanced level of automation will help significantly reduce power outages, a chief concern in Minas Gerais. In addition, the local content of the order is over 70 percent, which results in most of the revenue stream staying within the country.
“Reliable electric service is an ongoing issue in this area, which is experiencing positive economic growth and global attention. Smart grid investments such as this program can help Cemig keep the lights on for businesses and residents alike,” says Takiguchi.
For this project, S&C is supplying a Vista model specially designed for below-ground applications. These underground installations – necessitated by space restrictions – are becoming more challenging as urban flooding increases in Brazil’s growing cities. The new Vista switchgear operates properly even when the automation controls are submerged.
“Cemig has more than a decade of experience using our Vista switchgear,” says Takiguchi, “having applied the product in a variety of installations that demonstrated Vista’s superior performance in harsh environments.”
As part of the project, S&C will perform start-up and commissioning services for the automation equipment. S&C will also install sensors in the underground vault to allow monitoring of vault conditions such as vault invasion; environmental conditions including temperature and potential flooding; and performance of electrical equipment, including transformers and network protectors where applicable. The complete solution will help ensure optimal performance of Cemig’s underground distribution network.