ABB to provide new Arc-Resistant Transformers for BC Hydro in Canada


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ABB, the leading power and automation technology company, is designing and building a new, first-of-its-kind transformer safety solution - the arc-resistant, medium voltage, dry-type transformer - for Vancouver, British Columbia-based BC Hydro. The commissioning of these new transformers is scheduled for the spring of 2012. ABB will provide BC Hydro with three dry-type, arc-resistant transformers as part of a replacement and upgrade to new equipment for BC Hydro's Bridge River static excitation system, located in the Bridge River valley in British Columbia. ABB is also providing excitation systems to the hydro project. ABB's new arc-resistant transformer technology, the first of its kind for dry-type transformers, compliments ABB's SafeGear medium voltage arc flash switchgear to offer complete secondary substation packages. The primary benefit of these dry-type transformers is safety. The NFPA states that 10-15 arc flash events occur daily in the U.S. where someone is injured, with one to two of these events leading to death. This technology will protect nearby utility workers from serious injury or death if an arc flash event were to occur inside one of the transformer enclosures. The protection features of this transformer have never been available before for dry-type transformers. Based on a long-standing partnership between ABB in Canada and BC Hydro, ABB ensured that "Safety by Design" would be a key component of this excitation system. "At ABB, nothing is more important than the safety of our employees and customers, which is why we are proud to have developed, sold and built the first ABB arc-resistant medium voltage transformer," said Del Misenheimer, vice president and general manager for dry-type transformers for ABB in North America, based in Bland, Virginia. "We are equally delighted to have worked with BC Hydro, a great customer with a similar commitment to safety. BC Hydro worked together with ABB to define the underlying need and solution for a safer product." ABB arc-resistant dry-type transformers offer safety features, including: proprietary seam panels and exhaust ducts for channeling gas explosions away from human contact into a surrounding room; reinforced panels that prevent burn through; and a special louver dampers designed to close off vents within milliseconds to prevent horizontal flame exposure. Dry-type transformers are a growing part of the transformer business, using materials such as resin for insulation instead of oil, making them less flammable and reducing impact on the environment. BC Hydro is a major hydroelectric utility based in Vancouver, providing more than 80 percent of British Columbia's electricity.