Optimise the Lifespan of your Installed Switchgear
Ageing switchgear: retrofit, refurbish or replace?
Your challenge: The asset management of ageing switchgear equipment is not a new subject, but one that continues to be a thorny issue for both utility companies and industry alike. Both have large installed bases of high voltage (HV) and medium voltage (MV) switchgear; much of it installed between the 1950s and 1970s, which must somehow be brought into the 21st century to ensure optimum network performance and longevity. Siemens estimates that there is still around a quarter of a million Reyrolle – now Siemens – circuit breakers in service worldwide, which could be anything up to 50+ years old. However, economic uncertainties and capital expenditure restrictions have made users increasingly cautious about automatically opting for replacement. Our solution: With such constraints, more users are seeking to extend the life of their switchgear equipment where feasible. Users have three choices: overhaul and refurbish existing equipment; retrofit and upgrade the equipment; replace with new equipment. Siemens offers reliable, sustainable life-extension programmes to keep your switchgear safely in operation – alongside affordable, market-leading replacement options if that is the right decision. We can also provide strategic, critical and commodity spare parts for your installed switchgear, technically evaluated and recommended by our switchgear experts. Benefit: Where the underlying condition of the existing switchgear panels is good and there is the potential to safely and economically extend their life, then retrofit or refurbishment are viable options. They can restore your equipment to its original condition and performance – and even enhance its ratings dependent on the equipment involved.
On the road to RIIO … Mark 2
Transmission and distribution network operators, operating under Ofgem’s updated ‘RIIO’ (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) price control regime, are renewing their focus on the issue of what to do with ageing switchgear.
The current controls for gas & electricity transmission and distribution will end by 2023, when both will be replaced by a new ‘RIIO 2’ regime. Like the current system, RIIO 2 will continue to encourage investment to ensure continued safe, reliable services; innovation to reduce network costs; and ongoing efforts to deliver a low carbon economy. Siemens can do a lot to help operators achieve these objectives.
Your decision will naturally be influenced strongly by many considerations: not just cost, but safety, reliability, commercial and environmental factors too – as well as the time scales involved, especially if the decision is to replace rather than repair or refurbish.
Health and safety
So, how effectively do the available options address these concerns? Below we explore the three options – retrofit, refurbish or replace – in more detail.
Find out more about our HV and MV switchgear ranges here:
We understand that maintaining the integrity of your substations is a priority. Therefore, we would like to help you support your ongoing maintenance programme with the Siemens Audit For Energy (SAFE) Assessment on your installed base of LMT and C-Gear equipment.
Our SAFE Assessment can provide you with a condition and risk based strategy, identifying areas which, with the correct action, may reduce your overall costs as well as addressing potential health, safety and environmental concerns.