Australia’s First Emergency Response Mobile Substation

Ampcontrol delivers Australia’s first 132/11kV 25MVA Emergency Response Mobile Substation.

This trailer mounted substation is designed to restore power following catastrophic failure of on-site equipment such as transformers, switchgear or electrical cables following overloading, bushfires, lightning strikes or other causes of equipment failure. It may also be used during substation maintenance, in new housing developments before bricks and mortar substations are completed or to share load in periods of high demand, providing ongoing electricity supply to businesses.

The substation is quick to set up, considers and minimises possible environmental impacts and is registered as a Special Purpose Vehicle with the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) to enable safe transport on New South Wales roads.

The challenge

Ampcontrol was commissioned by Ausgrid to develop an solution to provide temporary load support to Energy Authority zone substations.

As specified by the client the mobile substation had to be safe to use, quick to set up in an emergency, consider environmental impacts and be suitably maneuverable to negotiate the various access ways and layouts of the variety of fixed substations throughout the Ausgrid network. The challenge for Ampcontrol engineers was to provide a typical Ausgrid fixed substation with the required high voltage and power ratings on a trailer, whist maintaining strict Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) Special Purpose Vehicle size restrictions of 3.5m wide and axle weight restrictions.

The solution

Ampcontrol designed and manufactured Australia’s first 132/11kV 25MVA Emergency Response Mobile Substation. In order to meet the RTA size and weight requirements the 132/11kV Emergency Response Mobile Substation was designed across two trailers, a custom designed trailer mounted switchroom with a GVM of 30 tonne and a custom designed trailer mounted transformer with a GVM of 188 tonne. These trailers were registered as Special Purpose Vehicles with the RTA so they could travel on New South Wales roads. To reduce the risks associated with oil spillage during both transport and use, Ausgrid requested that environmentally friendly vegetable oil be used in the design.

Envirotemp FR3™ ester dielectric fluid was chosen; it is produced from soybean and sunflowers and is a viable natural alternative to traditional mineral oil in transformers. With a high flash point of 330°C this vegetable oil provides a high level of fire safety compared to a flash point of 145°C for petroleum-based mineral oil. The dynamic nature of the load during transport also was taken into consideration. Belleville spring washers were used to reduce rigidity of the unit allowing for movement, flexible bellows were installed to minimise the possibility of stress and cracking of pipes during transport and anti vibration pads were placed between the transformer and the trailer.

This project, designed an manufactured by Ampcontrol in the Hunter Valley, was Australia’s first 132/11kV 25MVA Emergency Response Mobile Substation and provided a number of technical challenges which resulted in an original and complex solution that was completed to the customer’s budget and specifications.


Mobile Substation

Transportable substation

Transportable substation

Emergency response mobile substation