On November 9, Cigre organised a symposium themed ‘Het hoogspanningsstation verbindt. Samen schakelen’, or (freely) translated to English ‘The substation connects. Switch together’. The afternoon provided insights in the challenges of substation placement near build environments (e.g. residential). For those who don’t know what Cigre is, a quote from their website: “the Council on Large Electric Systems, is an international non-profit Association for promoting collaboration with experts from all around the world by sharing knowledge and joining forces to improve electric power systems of today and tomorrow.”
So, Cigre is about promoting collaboration with experts. This was manifested in several ways during the symposium. First off, two different study groups from within Cigre participated in this symposium, collaborating towards one single afternoon full of various views on substation placement development. Secondly, a mixed group of speakers was invited to provide their insights on the manner. It was interesting to see not only professionals from industry were invited, but also someone from a local residents’ collective, to enlighten the audience on the challenges neighbourhoods face when trying to join conversation on a substation or overhead-line route.
As mentioned, a number of different speakers were invited, discussing several topics. First, the chairman of the day opened the day, briefly elaborating on the organisational structure of Cigre and explaining the tasks of the study committees involved in the symposium. Then, a speaker discussed the policy on electrical infrastructure from international perspective. Here, the role of infrastructure near build environment or nature, or vice versa, was studied. During this presentation the audience was challenged to give their opinion on certain statements (by showing a red or green card).
Speakers continued presenting themes ranging from substation topology, facilitating the energy transition, the sound of a transformer, EM fields, integration of substations in an existing environment, the renovation of an existing substation site, and the involvement of residents’ collectives in developing plans. One recurring theme was present in most, if not all presentations. In order to build a substation (or overhead-line route), it is absolutely necessary to have a clear communication with all the stakeholders involved. This is something that is apparently hard to achieve, but certainly something for us future engineers to keep in mind.
Of course the afternoon was closed with a drink and buffet. All in all, a successful and very interesting day.