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Substation Design & Engineering

Reliable Solutions For Future Demand

Future-Proofing Designs to Meet your Standards and Requirements

Substation and switchyard engineering have always been NEI’s core expertise. With a long history of designing both brownfield and greenfield substations for utility, industrial, and renewable energy clients, we understand the challenges of developing high-voltage installations. NEI’s multidisciplinary teams have successfully tackled challenges like extreme weather, property constraints, and difficult topography. From general arrangements to dynamic VAR compensation and energy storage integration, NEI has the knowledge and experience to design substations, switchyards, and interconnecting stations ranging from 12.5kV to 500kV+.

We collaborate closely with clients, vendors, and stakeholders to solve design challenges creatively while prioritizing safety, quality, schedule adherence, and reliability. Whether it’s conceptual, feasibility, or detailed design, we offer inventive or tried-and-true solutions to meet our clients’ needs.

Our expertise doesn’t stop at the design level; our team provides additional services such as procurement support, construction oversight, on-site testing and commissioning, troubleshooting, energization support, and forensics. Substations commissioned by NEI exceed industry standards, ensuring long-term reliability.




3D Substation Design

At NEI, our commitment to innovation and excellence extends to our project execution, notably with the integration of 3D substation physical design into our processes. This advanced software revolutionizes our approach, bringing efficiency and precision to every project. With 3D design, we can generate multiple perspectives from a singular drawing, reducing time spent on repetitive tasks. Moreover, it standardizes workflows and document setups across projects, ensuring consistent quality.

Additionally, 3D design enhances project reliability and accuracy. It seamlessly updates changes across all related documents, ensuring every team member works with the most current information, reducing the margin for error. The detailed 3D views and PDFs produced by the software are instrumental in effective client and team communications, bringing clarity to complex substation designs. For our designers and drafters, the shift from 2D to 3D offers a more immersive experience, fostering professional growth and a deeper understanding of design intricacies. Furthermore, the software’s capabilities in providing accurate part counts and facilitating the creation of an automated Bill of Materials streamline our processes, making them more efficient. The adoption of AutoCAD 3D embodies NEI’s pursuit of excellence, marking another milestone in our journey towards delivering quality and innovative solutions in substation design.

Substation Retrofit

NEI utilizes our extensive knowledge to integrate solutions into existing brownfield installations. We provide solutions to complex retrofit projects, including those with limited or no existing drawings or data on existing equipment. Equipment replacement, protection upgrades, station re-power, and code and standard evaluations are examples of our expertise. Whether the challenge is working with outdated drawings, reduced outages, property limitations, clearance issues, project phasing, or schedule constraints, NEI has the skills necessary to meet or exceed our clients’ needs.

Renewable Substations

Renewables represent the future of our energy infrastructure. However, for every megawatt of energy generated by wind or solar, there must be a means to transport it back to the grid. While generation forms the heart of renewable power, substations serve as the spine, supporting the transmission of this energy.

With NEI’s extensive history in substation design, we comprehend the intricacies involved. Our experience spans both high voltage and generation aspects, enabling us to navigate the unique requirements of the renewable industry. Challenges such as tight schedules, specific owner needs, limited vendor information, or stringent interconnection requirements are met with creative solutions by NEI. Despite these obstacles, our goal remains consistent: to deliver reliable designs while prioritizing flexibility and constructability.

Our expertise covers a range of interconnections from 69kV to 500kV, generation capacities from 20MW to 800MW, and encompasses designs for single transformer to complex multi-transformer, multi-bus collection substations. Challenges like current limiting reactors, limited yard space, or poor soil conditions are well within our capabilities.

Thanks to our extensive industry experience, NEI offers services including fast procurement support and equipment specifications, alongside expertise in fit-for-fabrication steel and tapered tube steel design.

Utility Substations

At NEI, we don’t just design substations; we forge partnerships with our clients, recognizing that quality, safety, and consistent team engagement are fundamental to every project. Our commitment to revolutionizing the electric utility industry is ingrained in our work. By prioritizing close relationships, we develop a deep understanding of our clients’ needs, enabling us to deliver customized solutions that enhance reliability, efficiency, and safety. Our dedicated client teams become experts in our clients’ portfolios, ensuring a level of service that is unmatched in the industry.

We acknowledge the diverse needs of utilities and tailor our approach accordingly. For small utilities, our streamlined multidisciplinary teams focus on building connections and delivering cost-effective solutions without compromising quality. For larger utilities, we emphasize adherence to standards, robust methodologies, and the capacity to handle demands, ensuring quality and innovation.

Across all services – from substation design to transmission line design, cybersecurity, NERC compliance studies, and facility maintenance testing – we offer a single point of contact. This guarantees responsiveness and communication, keeping our clients informed and engaged at every stage. In our quest to create a reliable, secure, and sustainable energy grid, your challenges become our mission. Let NEI be your partner in constructing an innovative energy future.

Additional Services

  • Site Work, Grading, Drainage, and Access Roads
  • Foundation and Structural Design
  • Grounding Design
  • Lightning Protection
  • Illumination Design
  • Protective Relaying
  • Relay Settings
  • Automation Systems
  • Geotechnical Evaluations
  • Spill Prevention
  • Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans
  • Facility Studies
  • Project Scoping
  • Arc Flash Mitigation
  • Equipment Specifications
  • Physical Design
  • 3D Design
  • Smart Drawings
  • Substation Design Suite (SDS) P&C
  • Troubleshooting and Forensics
  • Procurement Support
  • Construction Support
  • Testing and Commissioning
  • Project Risk Evaluation

Featured Tech Paper

Substation Bus Design: Current Methods Compared with Field Results

Current standards define accepted methods of substation bus design. These standards also require certain strength and deflection criteria. This paper will examine commonly proscribed rigid bus design methodologies and compare them with actual field experience in the design of a 500kV switching station.

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