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Operatori Sistemit Transmetimit (OST), the Albanian transmission system operator (TSO), is modernizing and extending its network.
To improve quality of service of the transmission system and support the development of Albania’s future electricity grid, OST selected Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ FOX615 equipment as the communication foundation for a pioneering hybrid telecommunication network around the capital city of Tirana.
The network will support the migration from legacy TDM (time division multiplexing) to packet-switched network (PSN) technology laying the foundation for a future-proof communication system in the country.
As the first hybrid network in the region, OST’s telecommunication system will help improve grid reliability, reduce operating expenses, pave the way for digitalization, and enable new applications in the future.
OST’s network is made up of 3,355 km of power lines and 2100 km of optical ground wire, connecting 92 substations which support the transmission of electricity generated within the country as well as electricity exchanges with neighbouring countries.
The TSO has 15 administration substations and total power of 4,471 MVA, and Albania shares six interconnection lines with other countries. Over the years, OST has invested consistently to improve system reliability and cope with a projected 2.5% annual growth in electricity demand, as part of an ongoing grid modernization program.
“A modern and reliable telecom network helps us improve the efficiency of our electrical grid and at the same time provide high quality services to our customers,” said Mr. Skerdi Drenova, chief executive officer, OST. “Digitalization of the power network is also the solution for a greener environment. As a result of our network upgrade project, we are progressing towards realizing the complete benefits of a modern utility telecommunication network,” he added.
Based on a collaboration spanning nearly two-decades, Albania’s power network is supported by Hitachi ABB Power Grids’ consulting expertise and industry-leading substation automation and communication solutions. In fact, OST relies on the FOX515 solution to provide a reliable communication link to support the interconnection lines and electricity exchanges.
“Modern communication networks underpin our customers’ ability to make their grids sustainable, while managing cyber threats and providing reliable power quality. Our long association with OST, positions us as a trusted and reliable partner,” said Jon Bisaz, Europe Hub Manager for the Grid Automation business at Hitachi ABB Power Grids “Our hybrid communication architecture gives customers the option to operate both legacy and packet-switched networks at the same time, thereby ensuring no disruption of services and a phased migration at the pace the customer prefers” he added.
In addition to legacy services such as SCADA communications, telephony and ethernet, the new multiprotocol label switching-transport profile (MPLS-TP) network enables OST to look at new digital utility applications. It will provide bandwidth for advanced asset management, video surveillance and metering applications as well as an enterprise-wide area network for data connectivity among substations, data centers, and other sites.
Hitachi ABB Power Grids will also implement a state-of-the-art teleprotection solution that will be migrated in a phased manner from legacy, synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) technology to hybrid and eventually full packet-switched technology, with MPLS-TP enabling remote monitoring and control and teleprotection.
Other key requirements of the new network ring included a long product lifecycle, long-term support and rugged products built for all kinds of environmental conditions.