Feb 01
Electrifying the Altitude
Electrifying the Altitude
Himachal Pradesh is a state rich in hydro-power resources and tapping this gift from the nature has always been a challenge. More so because of the state’s high altitude and difficult terrain.
But L&T all along has the record of achieving breakthrough in difficult and challenging situations, and it has done so yet again! The Power Transmission & Distribution (PT&D) business of L&T has recently constructed and commissioned India’s highest altitude high voltage gas insulated substation (GIS) in the 400/220/66 kV category.
The GIS substation has been constructed at Himachal’s Wangtoo at an altitude of 5,577 feet (1,700-metre) above the mean sea level (MSL). It will now be a major power pooling station for drawing around 470 MW power from the upper Satluj basin.
L&T was entrusted the task of designing, constructing, testing and commissioning of the substation along with allied jobs. The brief was to execute the project involving 10 varied terraces on a challenging hilly terrain with steep slope. The project team had to battle a range of issues that included braving an extremely inclement and volatile weather, snowfall, natural disasters like cloudburst and landslides, rock masses, and the variations in elevation of 100-metre between the terraces.
Then, there was space constraints and logistic issues that the L&T team mitigated with meticulous planning, devising innovative solutions, and optimum use of resources.While erecting this high-altitude substation, the team faced the challenge of engineering a safe passageway for nine overweight cargo of 122 MT (2 Nos, 2x100 MVA) and 78 MT (7 Nos, 2x315 MVA+105 MVA) transformers.
The consignments had a gross vehicle weight of 192 MT and 120 MT, respectively, that were to pass through the Solding Khad Bridge and Jaypee Bailey Bridge in Himachal. The bridges have a load bearing capacity of only 70 MT. More importantly, the bridges are the only link to Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti districts and are vital to Army movement to the borders. L&T overcame this challenge by adopting a secure strategy.
The project team conceptualised customised logistics solutions and implemented those with the support of L&T Special Projects and Construction Methods team. This after obtaining approvals from the concerned authorities like the Union ministry of road transport and highways, the National Highways Authority of India, etc.
Next, proper safety measures for traffic control were put in place in coordination with the local administration and the police. The behaviour of the bridges was monitored throughout the operation.
Much to the relief of the project team, the operation went through without an untoward happening whatsoever and thus, India’s highest altitude GIS substation is now standing tall at Wangtoo.

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