Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar

The Gulf Cooperative Council Regional Committee (GCC CIGRE) is an affiliate of the International Council for Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) and a leading group in GCC countries when it comes to technical, economic and other aspects of power grids. Among its main objectives are facilitating exchange of field experience and latest technologies between various stakeholders.

As part of the ongoing activities of its technical committee, GCC CIGRE organizes a conference held in a GCC member country and the 12th such GCC Power event was held in Doha this past November. INMR Contributor, Raouf Znaidi attended the event and reviews two of the papers presented.

The technical program of this conference included tutorials, panel discussions and plenary sessions. Each discussed several papers submitted by the research departments of GCC, Arab and international power companies, operators and power plants in addition to those by academics invited from abroad.

GIG Advertisement cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Coating Global Insulator Group copy

What characterizes each GCC Annual Conference, with its more than 50 papers and 35 poster sessions, are awards presented to those having greatest relevance to the current needs of GCC power systems. For example, Paper (B301) GCCIA Pollution Test Station: Field Assessment and Test Station Results was among those receiving such an award. This paper and another are summarized below.

Paper B 301: ‘GCCIA Pilot Pollution Test Station: Field Assessment & Test Station Results’


cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Zibo ad 14

It is widely accepted among experts in the testing field that existing standardized test procedures do not always simulate in the laboratory the severe and complex service conditions that can lead to pollution flashovers in the field.

Technical Approach

A naturally polluted energized test station that also monitors weather parameters is therefore among the predictive approaches now recommended within CIGRE and supported by researchers as well as power utilities worldwide. Due to the valuable data they yield on real outdoor performance of insulators, such test stations are regarded as the most cost-effective technique to compare the service performance of different insulator designs under natural pollution conditions.

Fig 1: Schematic of pilot test station.  cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Schematic of pilot test station
Fig 1: Schematic of pilot test station.
cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Screen Shot 2017 03 03 at 16
Fig 2: Energized test station with weather parameters monitored.


cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar CSL compressed










Test Set-Up & Expected Results

The paper reported that the energized test station is representative of the severe natural service conditions prevailing in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. It also emphasized that, apart from being able to better assess optimal insulator designs for this environment, another of the objectives of this work was to enhance the knowledge and expertise among GCCIA technical and maintenance staff, including:

• More efficient field training;
• Better understanding of external insulation & relative performance under different types of severe service conditions;
• Improved knowledge of different insulator types, materials & production techniques.
Apart from providing site pollution severity (SPS), the energized pollution test station also provides valuable information covering:
• Pollution accumulation mechanisms;
• Deposit rate of soluble and non-soluble contaminants;
• Particle size and pollution distribution on insulator surfaces;
• Pollution characterization through analysis of its chemical constituents, including salt density & conductivity;
• Identification of different pollution types (A or B);
• Site pollution severity assessment, based on ESDD & NSDD;
• Classification of site pollution severity, from very light to very heavy;
• Ranking, by order of merit, of different insulator profiles & materials under the same severe service conditions;
• Selecting optimal insulator profiles & materials for each specific GCC region;
• Detecting, over a relatively short test period, examples of material degradation, poor design or improper manufacturing;
• Identifying critical wetting mechanisms (salt spray vs. humidity vs. light rain vs. dew);
• Raising alarms to alert technical staff in charge of line and substation maintenance whenever critical levels of pollution have been reached at given sites;
• Optimized line maintenance programs & inspection techniques, based on realistic field measurements, to avoid flashover risk due to critical pollution accumulation;
• The first pollution map of the existing GCCIA network.

cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar INTEGRATED Engineering Software Mar 11

Paper B 303: ‘Standardization of Conductors for 380 kV Overhead Transmission Lines in Saudi Arabia’


The conductor is viewed as one of the most important components of an overhead transmission line and normally accounts for between 30 and 35% of its total capital cost. It is therefore important to always select an optimum conductor.

Technical Approach

In order to standardize on one out of the three existing conductor sizes, a Committee was formed within the grid operator of Saudi Arabia, comprising members of different departments, including Standards & Specifications, EHV Engineering & Design, EHV Network Planning and Grid Maintenance.

Table 1: Tower Heights & Weights cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar ower Heights Weights 1 1
Table 1: Tower Heights & Weights.
Table 2: Material Costs/km cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Material Costskm
Table 2: Material Costs/km.


Desma Advertisement cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar DESMA INMR OnlineAd


Table 3: Material & Construction Costs cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Material Construction Costs 1 1
Table 3: Material & Construction Costs.

Expected Cost Savings

The Capital Budget Plan for the 10 years from 2016 to 2026 has anticipated about 37,000 kilometers of new 380 kV transmission lines will be added to the existing network in Saudi Arabia. Using ACSR/AW Condor conductor, the overall savings will be about 385 & 1239 million Saudi Riyals [1000 SAR = US$ 266] respectively compared to AAAC & ACAR type conductors. Reductions in annual costs will be about 15 & 21 million Saudi Riyals, respectively (i.e. about US$ 4 million & US$ 5.6 million).

Table 4: Cost Summary (SAR/km) cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar Cost Summary SARkm
Table 4: Cost Summary (SAR/km).

Other Benefits of Standardizing Conductors

cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar BG Big Box banner 300x250
cigre Gulf Cooperative Council CIGRE Session in Qatar OFIL banner 300X125 July1

• Reduced design work & lead time;
• Reduced inventory costs & need for warehouse space along with reduction in material procurement work and control of stores;
• Improved ease of purchasing and faster deliveries;
• Improved emergency repair;
• Reduced quality control (i.e. to assess product quality, reduce numbers of vendors) as well as in errors during construction and maintenance;
• Greater economies of scale in system construction and operation.