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The World’s First High-Voltage Pole Top Recloser

June 1, 2023

Sub-Transmission Protection: Enhancing the Nation’s Grid Resiliency

American utilities operate on an integrated power grid of more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. To distribute electricity through this system requires transmitting voltage at high levels to make it possible to deliver electricity over great distances. Substations and transformers work to decrease voltage from high-power transmission lines to deliver safe levels of electricity to homes and businesses.

Electrical infrastructure continues to age making it susceptible to blackouts and interruptions which cost Americans at least $150 billion. Ongoing reliability requirements are pushing the need for new technologies to protect the nation’s electrical infrastructure.

Current State of Sub-Transmission Protection

Reliability requirements of the grid have led to a gap in current market technologies. Requirements are pushing the need for reclosers over motor-operated air break switches (MOABS), which do not provide the same functionality as fault interruption and isolation like reclosers. Today’s equipment does not provide overcurrent protection but only isolates de-energized lines and cannot be open while energized unless they come with load break interrupter attachments.

The first of its kind self-contained high voltage recloser is a reliable switching device that brings invaluable improvements to the sub-transmission space. Additionally, it provides fault protection and high-speed isolation on overhead lines outside traditional substations only. With automation-ready capabilities, it enables utilities to have more control over performance, ultimately preventing an entire region from losing power.

Improving Sub-Transmission Protection – Eliminating the Gap

Not only would installing self-contained reclosers across sub-transmission grids improve reliability and resiliency, it can also reduce costs by eliminating maintenance on the very limited capability of legacy solutions (i.e., MOABS) and the need to build a fenced substation and control house that would be required to install equivalent fault protection capability between existing substations.

Meeting Specific Application Challenges

When specifying a recloser for medium voltage and sub-transmission applications, utilities should consider looking for a partner who offers site-ready designs with pre-installed accessories or flexible solutions tailored to meet any unique environmental challenge. Since recloser systems are new to the sub-transmission market, it is important for utilities to partner with a manufacturer that has a history of engineering with the utmost attention to functionality and reliable performance. For utilities looking for power grid solutions of tomorrow, the cost of installing reclosers on sub-transmission lines would outweigh any future costs such as maintenance on air disconnect switches, replacing equipment and outage penalties associated with extended delays in restoration.

Viper®-HV: Fully Integrated Solution

As the leading supplier of reclosers in North America, G&W Electric provides the latest technology backed by more than 115 years of experience, training, and support. Our Viper recloser line for the medium voltage market has been chosen by utilities all over North America for its strong performance in any environment.

G&W Electric’s Viper-HV recloser is designed to provide overcurrent protection for temporary faults on overhead sub-transmission lines and provides utilities enhanced functionality on a pole without the high cost of a substation. The Viper-HV is the first recloser for sub-transmission grids, providing invaluable improvements to systems’ reliability and grid resiliency.

The Viper-HV offers ultimate user flexibility by permitting a variety of installation configurations, including phase-over-phase and cross-arm versions to match existing line infrastructure. Built to be a modular, turnkey solution, the Viper-HV is a reliable and cost-efficient alternative to the multiple limitations associated with available and utilized legacy equipment.

Game-Changer for the High Voltage Market

The first and only recloser capable of high-speed clearing of temporary faults through radial overcurrent protection. By sectionalizing load break switching and opening the tie points the Viper-HV recloser isolates the fault and minimizes the effected outage area. Automated system reconfiguration, automatic transfer, and FDIR/FLISR through state-of-the-art relay and communications options reduce outage/interruption times. 

Features and Benefits

  • Maintenance Free – Requires no oil or SF6, which eliminates the need for routine maintenance and improves personnel safety.
  • Increased Reliability – Current carry path is protected from the environment through field-proven solid dielectric insulation. A high-speed magnetic actuator is connected to a single vacuum bottle so there are no gears or motors that might malfunction.
  • Compact 3-in-1 Design - Recloser, CTs, and voltage sensors integrated into a single space-saving design.
  • Pole Top Design – Offers flexibility and provides additional savings by not requiring a foundation in a fenced substation and control house.
  • Self-Contained Plug-and-Play Installation – Includes a protection relay in an outdoor pole mount control with a connectorized control cable on both ends.

Learn more about the Viper-HV or contact G&W Electric at [email protected].

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