Electricity has become an essential part of modern life, driving economies and improving quality of life across the globe. However, in sparsely populated rural areas, conventional distribution networks often prove too costly and impractical. To address this challenge, innovative technologies like Capacitor Coupled Substations (CCS) are being explored. These substations can tap into high-voltage power lines to provide much-needed electricity to remote regions. But how do multiple CCS units, located at different distances from one another, impact the stability and performance of the overall transmission network? This question drives the research to ensure that the benefits of CCS technology can be harnessed without disrupting existing power systems.

Researchers have investigated the impact of multiple CCS units on transmission networks to ensure minimal disturbances, a study led by Sinqobile Nene, with contributions from Dr. Bolanle Abe and Dr. Agha Nnachi from Tshwane University of Technology. Their work, published in e-Prime – Advances in Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Energy, reveals valuable insights for the future of rural electrification.

The study’s primary aim was to analyze how multiple CCS units, positioned at various proximities to each other, affect transmission line voltage. Using MATLAB/Simulink, the team modeled a typical electrical transmission network with a fixed supply voltage of 230 kVac. They simulated the system’s response when CCS units were connected or disconnected, both individually and in combination, at different distances.

Nene explained, “Our primary goal was to provide insights into the potential application of CCS technology in rural electrification by examining its impact on the transmission network.” This investigation involved creating three CCS models and placing them at specified distances, first 500 km and then 100 km apart, represented by varying electrical resistances in the simulation.

The results were encouraging. When any CCS unit was connected or disconnected, there were only negligible disruptions observed in the transmission network. The system quickly stabilized after any initial disturbances caused by switching the CCS units on or off.

In practical experiments, three prototypes were constructed to validate the simulation results. Each prototype consisted of different configurations but maintained similar parameters to the simulated models. The voltage and current behaviors were monitored using a True-RMS Digital Multimeter and an oscilloscope, ensuring comprehensive data collection.

“The consistent results between our simulations and practical experiments indicate that the deployment of CCS units does not significantly impact the overall performance of the transmission network,” said Nene. This finding is significant for rural electrification efforts, suggesting that CCS technology can be seamlessly integrated into existing power systems without causing substantial interference.

Further analysis confirmed that the capacitance impact of CCS units on the electrical transmission network was negligible. The researchers concluded that this technology could be a viable solution for providing electricity to rural areas, especially those near high-voltage lines. Their study also highlighted the importance of considering the proximity of CCS units to each other, as it affects the stability and performance of the network.

The study’s outcomes are promising for the future of rural electrification, as they demonstrate that CCS technology can be deployed without significant disruptions to the power grid. This opens up new possibilities for extending electricity access to remote and underserved areas, contributing to overall economic development and improving living standards.

Nene emphasized the importance of further research, stating, “Future studies should focus on varying load conditions and the maximum capacity of CCS units that can be connected without causing significant interference.” Additionally, examining the downstream system’s behavior in more detail could provide deeper insights into optimizing CCS deployment.

In conclusion, the research by Nene and her colleagues offers a comprehensive analysis of the impact of multiple CCS units on transmission networks. Their findings support the feasibility of using CCS technology for rural electrification, paving the way for more efficient and cost-effective solutions to electricity access in remote areas.

Journal Reference

Nene, Sinqobile Wiseman, Bolanle Tolulope Abe, and Agha Francis Nnachi. “System modeling of the impact of multiple capacitor coupled substations located at different proximities on a transmission network.” e-Prime – Advances in Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Energy (2024): 100481.  DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prime.2024.100481

About The Author

Mr. Sinqobile Wiseman Nene obtained the South African Government Certificate of Competency (GCC) in Electrical Engineering is 2015. He received his Master of Engineering (M. Eng.) in Electrical Power Engineering from the Durban University of Technology in 2018 which focused on energy efficiency evaluation in the bagasse gasification field. He further obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Management College of Southern Africa, in 2018, focusing on organizational structure effectiveness with an article published on the Financial Risk and Management Reviews, Conscientia Beam, vol. 5(1) in 2019. As of May 2024, he is currently a Student at the Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa, in the Department of Electrical Power Engineering pursuing a D.Eng. in Electrical Power Engineering. He is a member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) and the Southern African Asset Management Association (SAAMA). His research areas are electrical engineering, power generation and energy systems. He can be contacted at email: wnene@hailienene.com