Substation in a Cable for Adaptable, Low-cost Electrical Distribution (SCALED)

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OPEN 2021
Blacksburg, Virginia
Project Term:
03/14/2022 - 03/13/2025

Technology Description:

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (Virginia Tech) will demonstrate a new concept to enable a compact, flexible, scalable, and adaptable medium-voltage (MV) distribution network for growing and changing electricity sources, demands, and usage patterns. The team will combine power electronics and MV cable benefits to create a cohesive structure that can replace bulky substation components while enhancing functionality. Located at the ends of an MV or high-voltage (HV) line, the proposed Substation in a Cable for Adaptable, Low-cost Electrical Distribution (SCALED) uses a cascade of coaxial power conversion cells to gradually step down the voltage to the levels required by the loads. By mimicking the coaxial geometry of HV cables, the SCALED module can achieve high power density and seamless integration.

Potential Impact:

Virginia Tech will combine the functionality benefits of power electronics with the power density benefits of high-voltage cables to create a cohesive, all-in-one structure to replace bulky, inflexible power substations in today’s electrical grid.


The proposed concept could revolutionize distribution systems by enabling significant improvements in power density while achieving high efficiency and scalability to higher voltages and power.


The technology would allow seamless integration of distributed renewables, energy storage, and EV fast charging.


The SCALED module would effectively eliminate the large power substations that take up valuable real estate and have high construction and installation costs.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Peter de Bock
Project Contact:
Dr. Christina DiMarino
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


National Renewable Energy Laboratory
University of Connecticut

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