Russia, SO UPS

Power grid main characteristics

United Power System of Russia (UPS of Russia) covers the territory of 81 federal subjects and is formed of 71 regional power systems comprising 7 interconnected power systems (IPS): East, Siberia, Ural, Middle Volga, South, Center and North-West. All power systems are interconnected by high voltage tie-lines 110-1150 kV and operate synchronously. Operation and control of 7 interconnections and 71 regional subsystems are performed by SO UPS branches – interconnected and regional dispatch control offices. Main features:

  • UPS of Russia is exceptional in quantitative and qualitative characteristics. The territory spans 9 time zones. Generation fleet includes over 800 power stations with total installed capacity 243 GW (as of 1 January 2019). Due to climate conditions and natural fuel resources, Thermal power plants on fossil fuels provide about 68% of the installed capacity.

  • Key element of the backbone grid is a lot of extensive transmission lines with occasionally limited capacity. UPS of Russia consists of over 10 700 transmission lines and more than 12 000 power substations of 110-750 kV. Considerable part of electrical facilities operates under severe climate conditions of the North and Far North.

  • Stable operation of power systems with weak interconnections in some regions is provided by wide implementation of Emergency Control Automatics, managed and controlled by SO UPS.

  • UPS of Russia operates synchronously with power systems of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Ukraine and Estonia. Power systems of Uzbekistan and Kirghizia (Central Asia) are synchronized with UPS of Russia via Kazakhstan. Power system of Finland is interconnected asynchronously with UPS of Russia via HVDC-link Vyborgskiy.

Major incidents & preventive measures

Moscow Emergency Shutdown

A power supply shutdown for several hours in several Moscow districts as well as in Tula, Kaluga and Ryazan provinces occurred on 25 May 2005. It was caused by the fire at the Chagino Substation.

The cause of the accident was a mixture of several factors, namely: worn-out equipment, absence of backup power, and high temperatures (above 30°C) Moscow had endured for a number of days. Moreover, complex grid topology, typical for any metropolis as Moscow, makes the grid extremely vulnerable. Sensitivity of Moscow grid and absence of shedding automatics played crucial role in the cascade development of the accident.

The accident affected more than 4 million people. Serious shortfalls took place in the work of some telecommunication systems, industrial enterprises, transport, and service utilities.

The following steps were taken after the accident: government program on network infrastructure development in the Moscow region (“Moscow Ring”) and providing metropolises with the mobile emergency generation sources; creation of the Federal Commission (Headquarters) of the Ministry of Energy and regional commissions responsible for security of supply.

Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP Accident

P. S. Neporozhny Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP on the Yenisei River is the largest hydro power plant in Russia. The event of 17 August 2009 is the major accident ever occurred at the hydro power plants of Russia. 75 people were killed in the accident.

The investigation named the immediate cause of the accident: shot out of the turbine cover from its seat and damage of the hydropower units resulted in flooding of the turbine hall and engine room. HPP total generation was lost, which comprised 80% of the total output of the Khakassia power system (part of the IPS of Siberia).

The network scheme was restored approximately in three hours after the accident, the supply – in 14 hours. Cascade shutdown and blackout of the IPS of Siberia were prevented. The Krasnoiarskaya HPP and the Ust-Ilimskaya HPP were shifted to the increased discharge level on approval of the Yenisei water-basin authority in order to cover the power supply shortage in the IPS of Siberia.

A number of industrial enterprises and coal mines were fully or partially cut off from the power supply. The supply of social facilities and population was disrupted in several regions of the Siberian Federal District. Restoration of the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP started practically immediately after the accident and were completed in 2014.

The following steps were taken after the accident:

  • Government program on modernization of the control systems of the grid elements technical state and operation;
  • Modernization of power & frequency control automatics at all Russian hydro power plants;
  • Ural–Siberia interconnections strengthened;
  • Second chains of transmission lines 220 and 500 kV constructed in Western Siberia.


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