Brazil is boosting its power capacity and enhancing its transmission and distribution infrastructure to ensure that its electricity grid can meet the needs of its expanding economy as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.

As part of the plans, power and automation technology group ABB will construct a new $30 million indoor transmission substation in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

The new facility will power the renowned Maracanã soccer stadium, which has been completely rebuilt for the forthcoming World Cup and is the largest in Brazil with a capacity of more than 75,000 people.  It will be home to seven games in 2014 including the World Cup final.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on the city, placing huge additional demands on the grid. The substation has been designed to cater to this and power the stadium’s surrounding neighbourhood.

ABB will design, supply, install and commission the new indoor substation to replace a 40-year-old installation. Thanks to the compact footprint of the gas-insulated switchgear (GIS), the new higher-capacity facility can be built on the same plot of land as the existing substation.

“These compact substations will enable additional power supplies required during the forthcoming global sporting events being hosted by Brazil and will reinforce the transmission grid for the future,” said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division.

At 63 kilo-amperes, the substation will have the highest short-circuit current interruption level of any GIS substation in Brazil. This rating refers to the maximum current that a circuit breaker is capable of interrupting to isolate a fault and protect the network. ABB will also install automation, control and protection systems to enable local as well as remote control and monitoring.

Substations are key installations in the power grid that transform voltage levels and facilitate the safe and efficient transmission and distribution of electricity. They also include equipment that protects and controls the flow of electric power.

The crucial infrastructure project will be carried out for Furnas, a subsidiary of Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras (Eletrobras), Brazil’s largest power utility. It generates around 10 per cent of Brazil’s electricity and owns more than 20,000 kilometres of transmission lines as well as 54 substations.