One option of quick recovery of Ukrainian power distribution grids

December 25, 2022

Once, I was lucky enough to deal with operation of main gas pipelines in Ukraine, where my colleagues and I quite successfully used mobile compressor stations, which enhanced our functionality and made it possible not to vent large volumes of blue fuel into the atmosphere during pipeline repair, but to pump it into another operational gas pipeline.

This technology is a foreign development, and the principle of mobility is quite widely used in global practice during the repair of all infrastructure facilities in the energy industry. Mobile facilities include transformer substations for distribution grids, which can step the voltage down from 110 to 33 kV. Such facilities, but not only them, have been attacked by Russian terrorist forces for almost three months now.

One option of rapid restoration of domestic power distribution grids is to use mobile transformer substations on wheeled chassis, made up of three compact mobile units. For example, the first module — a 110 kV high-voltage unit — is mounted on 8.5 meters long chassis and weighs approximately 13 tons. The second module is the medium or low voltage side designed as a separate module with a length of 9 meters and weight of 15 tons. The third module is a chassis with a 33 kV power transformer, its length is 14.5 meters, weight — 57 tons.

One interesting fact testifies to the reality of such a project: in 2015, the crown jewel of the national aircraft industry, An-124 successfully transported such equipment from Portugal to Argentina, where mobile transformer substations were used to ensure stable electricity supply to areas with unstable network load. The problem was especially acute during the Christmas and New Year holidays, and carnivals throughout the year.

In general, mobile transformer substations are used if it is necessary to quickly recover large consumers. Mobile substations are also used to restore power supply during outages caused by storm or other disaster. This is especially relevant for the USA and Canada, where at least forty large-scale system accidents occurred in the last sixty years, with subsequent disconnection of millions of users.

Various designs of mobile transformer substations are produced. In some of them, the transformer is placed on a platform that rotates 360 degrees to place the input under the existing power line with minimal effort. In most cases, it is set up within 4 hours.

However, there are two significant disadvantages when using mobile transformer substations. The first one is undoubtedly high electricity losses, but they are much smaller than at the obsolete equipment of the Ukrainian energy system. The second one — noticeable magnetostriction noise, which occurs due to the low weight of the transformer housing. However, this drawback can be eliminated by installing noise-absorbing panels.

Despite shortcomings in the means of restoring energy distribution grids, any option will suit us to restore the capabilities of the Ukrainian energy system as soon as possible.

We shall win!

Maksym Bielawski

Leading Expert, Energy Programmes

Born in 1986 in Zhytomyr oblast


Zhytomyr State Technological University (2008)

Ph.D in Technical Science (2010)

Ivano-Frankivsk National Technical University of Oil and Gas (2012)

Author of 17 patents and 100 scientific works

Work Experience:

2008 – 2011 — Operator of Gas Infrastructure Units, Controller of Gas Transmission System in Rivne Division of PJSC "Ukrtransgas"

2011 – 2017 — Leading Engineer, Deputy Head of Press-Service, Head of Public Relation Department of PJSC "Ukrtransgas"

2017 – 2018 — HR Director of PJSC "Maine Gas Pipelines of Ukraine", Advisor to the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine

2021 — Director of Integrated Communications of NJSC "Naftogaz of Ukraine"