6.6kV Switchgear Replacement Project

20190524 142549

PWCS 6.6kV Switchgear Replacement Project

Background and Project Summary

Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) operates a large coal handling facility in Newcastle, NSW. Over the past several years, it has undertaken a rolling program of replacing aging 6.6kV switchgear throughout it's Kooragang site, including original switchrooms constructed in the 1970’s.

The new switchgear chosen for installation was ‘ABB’ UniGear ZS1, 550 and ZVC switchgear. To date, five switchboards have been replaced over an eight-year period, ranging in size from 2 to 8 panels, with the sixth and final switchboard planned for installation in late 2021.



Figure 1 - Typical Legacy Switchgear 


Project Execution

PCE has worked closely with PWCS for many years as a trusted HV engineering partner. As such we were engaged to provide electrical engineering and technical support for the Kooragang 6.6kV Switchgear Replacement Project.

This initially included feasibility investigations of possible OEM switchboard suppliers to ensure the most suitable switchgear was selected as the replacement. The selected ABB equipment was chosen due to its robustness, proven reliability, cost effectiveness and ability to supply narrow footprint, fully withdrawable air insulated switchgear with its ZVC range of feeder modules.

PCE were responsible for, and successfully completed:


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Figure 2 - Typical Replacement Switchgear


Project Challenges

This PWCS site has been in operation for over 40 years, which has led to a mixture of equipment, cables, network communication and control philosophy (including latest conveyor safety codes) throughout the switchrooms. The new equipment had to be adaptable to all these situations, as well as adopting the latest HV equipment safety designs, such as arc blast venting and arc detection that will trip a fault supplied feeder in milliseconds. Remote switching stations were also installed that removed the Authorised Switchgear Operator form harm’s way in the event of a fault occurring during switching.

Another major challenge was obtaining suitable time frames for outages to enable the old switchgear to be removed, new to be installed, HV/LV cables and comms to be connected, testing and commissioning. These outages, and the associated switchgear replacements, had a direct impact on the coal delivery schedule for PWCS, who is the major contributor to this, Australia’s largest coal export terminal.

Looking Forward

PCE is proud to be a major contributor to the design and implementation of the PWCS Kooragang 6.6kV Switchgear Replacement Project. As this project comes to a close, PCE is excited to assist PWCS with a similar HV switchgear conversion project for its Carrington site; containing a further eight switchrooms of varying switchgear models / vintages, control systems and design challenges.


About PCE

Founded in Newcastle in 2003, with a focus on servicing local heavy industry, Power Control Engineers (PCE) started out providing electrical engineering services to the two aluminium smelters in the Hunter Valley: being Tomago Aluminium Company and Hydro Aluminium Kurri Kurri.

We are industry-based electrical engineers providing practical power solutions, rolling up our sleeves since 2003.

We are an electrical design, consulting and project management company specialising in electrical power systems. We have over 250 years of combined electrical engineering experience, and pride ourselves on providing practical power solutions; delivering excellence and value to our clients.

Today, with a presence in Newcastle (PCE HQ), Melbourne and Perth, we service a range of clients and industries throughout Australia including coal and metalliferous mining, bulk materials handling, utilities (power & water), energy, construction, manufacturing, and local government.

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