NOJA Power

Technical Article

Published 04/2022

Top Tips for using Reclosers in Substations

For decades, pole mounted reclosers have been applied in substation environments as circuit breakers. Reclosers offer extensive functionality applicable to this environment, and usually offer a cost saving against traditional circuit breaker and instrumentation arrangements.

In this article, we cover the rationale for Recloser application to substations, the limitations, some options and accessories to improve the electrical design, and finally some general tips when considering this application.

Three NOJA Power OSM Recloser Systems installed in an Argentinian Substation
Three NOJA Power OSM Recloser Systems installed in an Argentinian Substation

Why use Reclosers in Substations?

There is one main reason – Cost saving through integration.

Reclosers are circuit breakers with the added requirement for a short duty cycle. They are a circuit breaker with the ability to open and close quickly.

In the substation context, the reclose function is less commonly used, but the product is also a circuit breaker, and there are other advantages to using Reclosers.

A NOJA Power OSM Recloser used in a Rural Substation, Georgia
A NOJA Power OSM Recloser used in a Rural Substation, Georgia

Integration:

Recloser products, such as the OSM Recloser, are supplied complete with a control system that includes the protection relays, SCADA RTU and automation capabilities.

Traditional substation equipment requires separate procurement of relays, communications and the primary circuit breakers.

This integration can offer significant cost savings, not only in upfront capital expenditure, but also in reducing the commissioning cost. When the product is factory tested as a full system, onsite commissioning is greatly reduced.

When using an integrated Recloser system such as the OSM Recloser, there is no need to run separate communications between relays and breakers or conduct point-to-point tests on this wiring.

Instead, engineers and technicians can largely rely on the works practices developed for the pole mounted recloser installations.

Multiple NOJA Power OSM Reclosers used in an Australian Mining Substation
Multiple NOJA Power OSM Reclosers used in an Australian Mining Substation

What are the limitations?

The primary limitation with Recloser application in substations is fault current and load current rating.

Recloser specifications generally reach 16 kA peak interrupt capacity and 38 kV.

This limits their application to smaller substations, such as rural substations and renewable integration sites. These sites tend to have lower fault currents.

However, this specification is the only limit. Reclosers have been used in large urban substations, provided fault currents remain within the limits of the equipment capacity.

NOJA Power OSM Reclosers installed in the Elmira Substation, Eugene Oregon USA
NOJA Power OSM Reclosers installed in the Elmira Substation, Eugene Oregon USA

What added options and accessories are useful?

Substation Mounting Frame

In brownfield or retrofit sites, Reclosers can often be mounted on the old mounting frames of retired switchgear.

However, when a new mounting arrangement is needed, the substation mounting frame is an ideal option.

NOJA Power have developed a steel mounting arrangement to install an OSM Recloser in a substation environment. This steel pole can be bolted to a concrete slab, providing a stable mounting arrangement for the OSM Recloser and RC Control.

A Legacy NOJA Power OSM200 Series Recloser mounted to a Substation Mounting Frame. This Mounting Frame is universally applicable to all NOJA Power Reclosers
A Legacy NOJA Power OSM200 Series Recloser mounted to a Substation Mounting Frame. This Mounting Frame is universally applicable to all NOJA Power Reclosers

Remote HMI

The Remote HMI Panel is a 19 inch rack mountable version of the Human Machine Interface of NOJA Power’s RC control. This panel is connected by fibre optic connection to the Recloser controller.

NOJA Power Remote HMI panels installed in a substation control room
NOJA Power Remote HMI panels installed in a substation control room
Rackmount Remote HMI, rear view. Note the wiring only consists of fibre optics, wired to the units in the switchyard
Rackmount Remote HMI, rear view. Note the wiring only consists of fibre optics, wired to the units in the switchyard
NOJA Power Remote HMI Panel
NOJA Power Remote HMI Panel

This panel option allows engineers to include an electrically isolated HMI panel in the substation control room, mitigating the need for technicians to enter the switchyard to interrogate the device.

IO Module

Brownfield sites often require integration with legacy relays and equipment. The IO module accessory for NOJA Power’s RC series controls provides eight optocoupled and isolated inputs and outputs for conventional copper signalling.

Legacy relays can be integrated with NOJA Power’s switchgear through this interface. Common uses for this application include inter-trip, circuit breaker failure functions, differential protection and interlocks.

NOJA Power IO Module for RC Series Recloser Controls
NOJA Power IO Module for RC Series Recloser Controls


Arc Fault Venting Requirements

Installing Reclosers closer to the ground increases the requirement for internal arc classification (IAC).

Operators are more likely to be close to the equipment during switching and maintenance, which increases the consequences of internal arc faults.

IAC classification is preferred in substation equipment where available. The NOJA Power OSM Recloser offers type tested IAC classification to IEC 62271-204, providing engineering teams with assurance of increased safety in the event of equipment malfunction.

Conclusion

“Our OSM auto Reclosers are ideal substation circuit breakers and are finding even more applications in substations today with the advent and support for IEC 61850,” says NOJA Power Group Managing Director Neil O’Sullivan.

Reclosers are a cost-effective option for substation switching, protection and control where equipment specifications permit their application.

The NOJA Power OSM Recloser has been applied in many substation environments, and the suite of accessories and support for this equipment improves the engineering process.

For more information, visit www.nojapower.com or contact your local NOJA Power Distributor.

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