Energy & Environment

Transforming Substation Sustainability: Smart Strategies to Enable our Energy Transition

Thinking beyond how we generate and transmit electricity.

Transforming Substation Sustainability: Smart Strategies to Enable our Energy Transition cover display

Regulators and governments will likely mandate emission reductions for energy infrastructure assets. Utilities need tools and strategies to implement sustainable solutions for substations to ensure communities have uninterrupted electrical service.

Emission reduction challenges facing the energy sector

To bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050, all sources of energy emissions must be addressed. Implementing sustainable practices on infrastructure projects is now expected by individuals, communities, governments and businesses. This means thinking beyond solely transitioning to 100% renewable energy sources, but more broadly at how we comprehensively upgrade existing and build new energy infrastructure assets with reduced embodied and operating emissions through sustainable choices in all phases of design, build, operation and maintenance.

Reimagining infrastructure choices can reduce emissions

While new energy technologies are constantly being developed and implemented, there are practical sustainable alternatives made from commonly used materials that can be incorporated into substation design, build, operation and maintenance today.

Current substation construction practices involve large amounts of steel, concrete and copper cabling. Reimagining these traditional materials in favor of more sustainable choices such as cross-laminated timber, geopolymer concrete, digital substation technologies, or even hydrogenated vegetable oil generators, can help utilities realize four outcome-based principles:  

  • Reduction materials used.
  • Use sustainable alternatives.
  • Reduced transport emissions.
  • Reduced waste in construction and at end-of- life.

Sustainable substation solutions

Aligned with our Climate Response accelerator, we’ve curated a suite of sustainable substation solutions that can be used by utilities globally as they build their own ‘Substation Sustainability Toolbox.’ Some solutions are already being used in substations while others are being used in building and transport sectors and could be implemented on substations with minor modifications to design and construction practices today.

external Click here to start building your Sustainable Substation Toolbox

About the author

Jacobs Substations Technical Director, Lara Kruk

Lara Kruk

Whether it’s developing virtual transmission lines or implementing sustainable solutions for substation infrastructure, Jacobs Substations Technical Director Lara Kruk is committed to helping clients respond to the rapid pace of change caused by the energy transition.

Lara has a keen interest in innovative solutions and is leading the implementation of a client’s first digitized substation using IEC 61850 and has developed a toolbox for sustainable solutions for substations.

Get to know Laura