Premium Membership

Learn from experienced power engineers. Study specialized premium technical articles, papers & video courses. Get 15% Off on PRO premium plan, use discount code: UX21M

Primary distribution substations

A primary distribution substation is the connection point of a distribution system to a transmission or a sub-transmission network. Outgoing feeders from a primary distribution substation are typically feeding secondary distribution substations and bigger, most often industrial type, consumers directly.

Elements of power distribution systems
Elements of power distribution systems (photo credit: ABB)

What is considered to be the voltage level for a primary distribution substation varies country by country and depends on the whole electricity network structure and extent and historical and organizational issues.

To give some kind of a picture of the voltage levels, below is an example about the system level allocation in a certain country.

  • 330 kV¬†–¬†Transmission
  • 132 kV ¬†– Sub-transmission
  • 66,¬†33 and¬†11kV – Distribution
Power system scheme
Figure 1 – Power system scheme

Based on the example above, it can be determined that in the country in question the substations having voltage level like 66/11 kV are considered to be the primary distribution substations.

Switchgear Type and Busbar Arrangement

A typical primary distribution substation would include air-insulated outdoor-type high voltage side (HV) and a metal-enclosed air-insulated indoor-type medium voltage switchgear (MV). Due to specific reasons, like space limitations, environmental aspects and security, the substation can be built using Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) technology.

Utilizing GIS technology, both the high voltage part and the medium voltage part can be built using metal enclosed indoor-type switchgear.

The GIS technology allows placing the whole substation installation inside a building, either on the ground surface or below the ground level.

Typical primary distribution substation
Figure 2 – Typical primary distribution substation

Figure 2 shows a typical primary distribution substation located in a sparsely populated area. The high voltage side (110 kV) is an outdoor-type air-insulated switchyard and the medium-voltage side (20 kV) is metal-enclosed air-insulated switchgear located inside the building.

Title:Distribution Automation Handbook – Elements of power distribution systems – ABB
Size:6.2 MB
Download:Right here | Video Courses | Membership | Download Updates
Distribution Automation Handbook - Elements of power distribution systems
Distribution Automation Handbook – Elements of power distribution systems

Premium Membership

Get access to premium HV/MV/LV technical articles, advanced electrical engineering guides, papers, and much more! It will help you to shape up your technical skills in your everyday life as an electrical engineer.
More Information


  1. Tanveer
    Aug 29, 2018


  2. Merid
    Aug 23, 2018

    I am Electrcal Engineer at EEu ps send me your publications by email

Leave a Comment

Tell us what you're thinking... we care about your opinion!

EEP Academy Video Courses

The learning platform for LV/MV/HV electrical engineers. Learn from experienced engineers and sharpen up your knowledge.