T&D World Magazine

SEL Chosen to Protect and Control Central American Interconnection System

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (SEL) has been selected to provide protection, control, and automation systems for the SIEPAC (Sistema de Interconexión Eléctrica Para América Central), or Central American Electric Interconnection System. The project will construct a 1,830-km, 230 kV transmission system linking Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama. SEL has teamed with Techint, the engineering and construction company awarded the general construction contract.

The new transmission system interconnection will alleviate the region’s periodic power shortages and decrease operating costs, thereby reducing the cost of electricity to consumers. Empresa Propietaria de la Red (EPR) administers the project. Estimated to cost US$370 million, the system will serve more than 37 million customers in Central America.

The 1,137-mile transmission system includes 15 substations. SEL will manufacture the electronic equipment in Pullman, Washington, and ship it to the SEL panel manufacturing plant in Monterey, Mexico, for assembly and testing. SEL will also manufacture the panels at the Monterey plant.

SEL will provide the main line protection using SEL-421 High-Speed Line Protection, Automation, and Control Systems and SEL-311L Line Current Differential Systems with MIRRORED BITS communications for teleprotection schemes. SEL-2407 Satellite-Synchronized Clocks will time-synchronize all substations to within 100 nanoseconds. SEL-451 Protection, Automation, and Control Systems will oversee bay control, working together with SEL-3332 Intelligent Servers to concentrate data and provide connectivity for SCADA and station integration. All devices include IEC 61850 for future integration and connectivity.

SEL expects to deliver the first panels in November 2008, with the final shipments made by March 2009. The new transmission system is scheduled to operate by mid-2009.

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