EghtesadOnline: To help improve power supply in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, and reduce load shedding and frequent outages, three gas-insulated substations have been built and are being synchronized with the national grid, managing director of Ahvaz Regional Electricity Company said.
GIS systems cost twice as much as regular substations but play a key role in reducing power cuts in sandstorm regions," Mahmoud Dashtbozorg was quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry news portal. The three 132-kilovolt substations cost $35 million and were built in two years.
A GIS uses dielectric gas and sulfur hexaflouride at moderate pressure for insulation. It is mostly used where space is expensive or not available. In a GIS, the active parts including transformers and feeders are protected from corrosion emanating from exposure to atmospheric air, moisture, contamination and sand.
Dashtbozorg said the facilities were purchased from ABB, a Swedish-Swiss multinational corporation headquartered in Zurich in 2017.
The senior official in the oil-rich province said the power grid in the region will be equipped with nine more GIS systems expected to cost $105 million.
"Repairing and rebuilding infrastructure, namely substations and power transmission equipment, battered by dust storms, is expensive,” he added, stressing the role and significance of the GISs.
Dust storms have become a near permanent feature of the southern regions over the past several years, knocking out electricity grids in several cities in Khuzestan where the mercury crosses above 50 degrees Celsius in summer.
Dashtbozorg noted that in 2015 the sandstorm was so strong that the entire power network was hit and oil output decreased by 700,000 barrels for some days. The province accounts for 70% of the country's crude oil production.
According to Houshang Falahatian, a deputy energy minister, the ministry allocated 1 trillion rials (around $200 million) to restore power in Khuzestan in 2017.
Residents also suffer intermittent water supply cuts due to the power failures. According to experts, most of the sources of dust storms, which have worsened in recent years, are in neighboring Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria.