html{display:none} SEL Brings NamPower Into 21st Century | Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories

SEL Brings NamPower Into 21st Century



Namibia’s expansive desert creates challenges in providing reliable power. Extensive travel time is often required to resolve power system problems. To meet this challenge, NamPower, the nation’s electric utility, sought to modernize their HV and EHV transmission-level substations by incorporating automation and advanced communication using IEC 61850 protocols.

Flexibility would be critical in choosing the right solution. IEC 61850 was an emerging communications standard at the time.  Many vendors claimed IEC 61850 compliance, but most were rigid in their implementation. NamPower needed a more flexible approach that would enable a smooth transition to a more modern power system.

Customer Profile

  • Customer: NamPower
  • Location: Namibia, Africa
  • Industry: Electrical Utility
  • Applications: Communications Modernization


To meet their needs, NamPower, with the help of their electrical consulting firm, CONCO Energy Solutions, implemented an SEL automated substation solution. This state-of-the-art solution incorporated advanced power protection, automation and control, all based on Ethernet communications using the IEC 61850 protocol.

A critical element in SEL’s IEC 61850 communications scheme was their data modeling flexibility, which enabled a solid system design that flowed easily from concept to implementation. This simplified testing and saved time associated with implementation, test and documentation, all of which positively impacted the overall project cost.

For further technical details, please refer to the technical paper, IEC 61850—More Than Just GOOSE: A Case Study of Modernizing Substations in Namibia

NamPower Control Room


By choosing SEL, NamPower was able to implement a fully compliant IEC 61850 substation solution with the flexibility to support their growth well into the future.

A key benefit of NamPower's new substation is the granularity of information that is captured by the SEL relays and used to proactively alert NamPower’s SCADA control system before problems occur. A second benefit was the wiring reduction achieved by migrating from hardwired point-to-point connections to the new communications system using Ethernet and IEC 61850.

NamPower continues to enhance their transmission network using the latest SEL technologies, including SEL synchroWAVe Central Software. This visualization software provides NamPower with greater situational awareness by translating real-time data into visual information, enabling them to make improved decisions that enhance the security and reliability of their power system.

We are very proud. We know we’ve done the right thing. These are 21st century solutions, for 21st century substations.

Frank Engelbrecht
Senior Manager: Engineering Services, NamPower

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Innovation, Persistence, and a New Beginning

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Innovation, Persistence, and a New Beginning