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Neil McDonagh ESB International, Ireland ABSTRACT In urban areas, high voltage underground cables are commonly used for the transmission and distribution of electricity. Many such high voltage cables have metallic sheaths or screens surrounding the conductors, and/or armour and metallic pipes surrounding the cables. During earth faults applied to directly earthed systems, these metallic paths are expected to carry a substantial proportion of the total fault current, which would otherwise flow through the general mass of earth, while returning to system neutrals. These alternative return paths must be considered when determining the extent of the grid potential rise at an electrical plant due to earth faults. This paper examines fault current distribution following a single phase to earth fault at a high voltage urban substation. Sub A 110kV substation is fed by two 110kV connections to Sub B and Sub C substations. Both feeders are pipe type cables. A network model incorporating the substation earth grid and cable sheaths is built using proprietary software and the results presented. Current injection tests are carried out to verify modelled results. Finally the implications of alternative return paths provided by cables are discussed and conclusions are drawn. Keywords: Earthing, Grounding, cable sheaths, Substation, Fault current distribution, Cable sheaths, current injection test, computer modelling. INTRODUCTION During a phase to earth fault on a directly earthed system, fault current will return to source transformer neutrals by whatever means are available, primarily through the general mass of earth and via metallic connections. These metallic connections may be provided by shield wire or counterpoise in the case of overhead lines and by cable sheath, armour, pipes and counterpoise in the case of underground cables. Fault currents may also return along unintentional paths such as gas pipelines, railway lines, or any metallic connection. Fault current that returns via the earth must pass through the substation earth grid to the earthed transformer neutral. This will produce a grid potential rise with respect to remote earth (GPR). It is desirable to reduce the GPR at substations during earth faults for a number of reasons; principally to reduce touch and step voltage hazards that may exist at the substation, but also to minimise transfer voltage hazards along other utilities such as telecommunications circuits, railway lines, gas pipe lines, etc. GPR (volts) = Ig * EGR (Equation 1) To reduce the earth grid resistance a number of methods may be used. The substation earth grid in question may be extended or reinforced, perhaps through the use of vertical earth rods, satellite earth grids, etc.
Fig 1 Grid Potential Rise Plot (Equation 2) If = Im + Ig If = Total fault current Im = current travelling along metallic return paths Any continuous metallic connections away from the substation that are connected to earth at the substation and at some other remote location will provide an alternative path for fault current thus, reducing the amount of current flowing through the earth at the site of interest (Eq 2).
GPR = potential rise with respect to remote earth (volts) Ig = earth fault current in amperes EGR = earth grid resistance in ohms It is clear to see from Eq 1 that the only two ways to decrease the GPR are to decrease the earth fault current Ig or to decrease the earth grid resistance EGR.
Firstly they provide a series impedance connection to Sub A thus reducing the proportion of current that is forced to flow through the impedance to remote earth of the earth grid at Sub A thus reducing the overall grid potential rise or GPR. (It must be noted that this diagram is merely illustrative and the direction of current flow indicated by the arrows is a simplistic illustration. The pipe. thereby reducing the current component contributing to GPR (Eq2). armour surrounds the three cables. Insulation screen 5. The pipe was modelled as having the same cross section as the pipe and armour combined and was modelled as close as possible to the cable cores to account for the mutual impedance path provided by the armour . such as cable sheath. This paper examines this phenomenon using industry standard software CDEGS . Model B. steel pipe with insulation Model A: the cable was modelled as shown in Fig. 3. Model C. armour and sheaths all provide a return path for fault current to various earthed neutrals on the system. counterpoise or shield wire. 3 but without armouring. If the earth fault current is reduced then the GPR is also reduced Eq 1.). Metallic return paths Im Current path through earth Ig Substation earth grids Fig. This fault current induces a current in parallel metallic return paths. Due to software constraints.2 Phase to Earth Fault This principle is illustrated in Fig 2 where a typical phase to earth fault is displayed. along a faulted phase can reduce the GPR at substations at both its ends by virtue of these two mechanisms. Case study Sub A is located in a large urban centre and fed by two 110kV connections to Sub B and Sub C. Modelled results are also backed up current injection test results CABLE MODEL Fig. armour. 3 City Type Cable 1. Therefore it can be seen that a continuous metallic connection. Each phase and sheath were modelled. conductor screen 3. such as cable sheaths. armouring 9. the pipe is also modelled. Cable sheaths surround each of the cores. Each of the 110kV feeders is a 110kV pipe type cable. During a phase to earth fault the faulted phase will carry fault current. Fig. XLPE insulation 4. bedding 8. The mechanism by which these metallic return paths carry fault current is two-fold. pipe. copper core 2. sheaths and pipes. 3 shows the diagram on which the cable model was based. aluminium sheath (APL) sheath 7. The cable was modelled as in model A but with individual armouring around each cable.  Faulted phase If Fault Secondly sheaths in the vicinity of the faulted phase carry induced current away from the fault location. so that some of the current which could have travelled through the mass of earth instead travels along these return paths. A large proportion of current will therefore circulate in the core of that faulted phase and the metallic return paths.However it must be noted that voltages transferred along these metallic connections may be hazardous if a sufficient earthing system is not present where these connections are earthed. it was not possible to accurately model the armouring that covers all three cables as shown in Fig. namely conductive and inductive paths. Therefore three models were constructed in an attempt to accurately model self impedances and mutual impedances between cores. semi-conducting tape 6. The three individual armours have the same cross-sectional area as the actual armour shown in Fig 3.
7 63. Model C overestimates the mutual coupling between the faulted phase and the pipe.8 21.4 59. through the metallic return paths (both Zsc and Zmc) from Sub A to Sub C and through the metallic return paths to Sub B (Zsb) then through the earth at Sub B and returning through the earth at Sub C The proportion of current that flows through each path will depend on the relative impedances of each path.7 3 B 38.8 20.2 49.2 268.8 33. but the majority of current will flow along the lowest impedance path.7 63.6 12.6 4.2 76.7 37.3 37.1 28. It can be seen from these results (Table 1) that for each calculation the earth fault current calculated using Model B cable is between those calculated for Model A and Model C.6 188.7 43.1 C 31.1 12.6 3.5 37.2 49.2 6.9 1.4 35.5 228.4 6.7 11. This is understandable for the following reasons: Model A under-estimates the series impedance of the cable by neglecting the armour.6 C 49.2 174.7 1.5 178.5 1 B 21.2 242. 5km and 10km.0 93. The earth grid resistance at Sub A and the distance between Sub A and Subs B and C are altered to analyse the effect on earth fault current and therefore GPR.3 9.2 332.6 3.7 8.4 79.5 46.3 4 B 28.0 55.8 33.1 101. Each of these paths will also have a series impedance between the two substation earth grids.8 48.6 C 60. For a fault at Sub A fed from Sub C current will return along the following paths to return to the source at Sub C: through the earth at Sub A and returning through the earth at Sub C. For all calculations it is assumed that Sub B and Sub C have 1 earth grid resistances. The distance between Sub A and Sub B is equal to the distance between Sub A and Sub C for all calculations. During all calculations current is injected along the feeder to Sub C. All calculations are based on the description of the network provided in the introduction.1 25.9 48. Imputing accurate positional and material property information CDEGS will calculate self impedance of each component and the mutual impedance of each component to every other component. All six calculations are carried out for 3 cable lengths: 2km.7 A 44. 5 and 6 the feeder to Sub B will be disconnected.9 427.3 29.0 8.6 32.5 5 B 60.7 43.0 7.0 11.1 C 22. although the two non-faulted phases will not act as return paths.2 102.7 17.5 127.7 37.4 29.9 A 77.9 27.8 20. The following EGR’s are used at Sub A: for calculations 1 and 4: 1 .7 9.5 A 48. These results are .7 147.4 CALCULATIONS Fig. If the system was completely isolated from all other electrical and metallic systems there would be only three return paths.2 C 17.4 34.9 48.0 55.5 37.3 13.1 107. There is a mutual impedance between each of these components and the faulted phase.0 64.9 16. three sheaths.6 181.5 46.4 35.9 120.8 164. three cores.5 A 94.2 21.Cable model analysis A number of different scenarios were created in order to analysis the difference in performance of each cable model. Model B may slightly over-estimate the mutual coupling between the faulted conductor and the armour but Model B is seen as the most accurate and will be used in all further analysis.4 29.5 37. In reality the situation may be quite different as all three substations may have metallic connections to medium voltage substations or Sub A and Sub C may be indirectly connected via other 110kV cable sheaths.8 2 B 34. for calculations 2 and 5: 5 and for calculations 3 and 6: 20 .4 59.4 135.4 A 37.5 5. three armours and the pipe. Table 1 Earth Fault Current and GPR per kA of Injected Current 2km 5km 10km Ig Ig Ig calc GPR GPR GPR A 27. 5).4 145.9 15.8 7. 4 Fault Circuit Diagram Zsc= Series impedance of metallic return path to Sub C Zsb= Series impedance of metallic return path to Sub B Zmc= Mutual impedance between faulted phase and metallic return paths on feeder to Sub C Zmb= Mutual impedance between faulted phase and metallic return paths on feeder to Sub B Fault current will take all available paths back to the source. For calculations 4.6 147. On each feeder there are 10 metallic components that must be considered (Fig.5 27.0 C 28.4 6 B 73.2 233.4 21.9 22.4 15.9 4. shield wires or a combination of both.2 2.8 3. Therefore there are ten series impedance paths to be considered and forty-five mutual impedance paths that must be considered to created an accurate mathematical model of the cable.
2 A @ 237o.144.17 50.1 A @ 230o.91 Variation in GPR due to change in cable length 400 GPR (volts) per kA of injected current Ig = -If . The earth fault current and GPR was calculated in each case.92 20 1.134 @ .. Fig 6 (b) resultant current matrix give by CDEGS. 7 Plot of results from Table 2 It can be clearly seen from Table 2 and Fig.5 Cable Model B In order to verify this model results shall be compared to formulas .. -5 is the armouring around the faulted phase.. 7 that an increase in Cable length or EGR causes a rise in the GPR at Sub A.147 o 114.(RA + lzm1.53 27.7@151. Both earth grid resistances are 1 . The Fig..1 = mutual impedance between faulted phase and return path 1 = Current flowing along return path 1 I1 (a) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Fig.734@168. n + RB) I1 (RA + lzmp..66 37.104. n + RB) ...87 15.. The earth fault current calculated by CDEGS is 43. The differences between (a) and (b) may be due to a number of factors.127 o Fig 6 (a) resultant current matrix from equation 3..63 @ 167.76 5 6..firstname.lastname@example.org 66.093o 98.54 46. the steel pipe. The resultant current matrices can be seen in Fig 6 (a). Table 2 Earth Fault Current per kA of injected current 2 5 10 20 lengths (km) EGR 1 21.87 @ .2.16 @ 143.1 + RB) (RA + lzm1. 7.2 + RB) ..127 o o 410..48 @ 160.63 @ 167. The cable lengths to Subs B and C were altered. were created in order to analyse a phase to earth fault..67 8.974 o 57.(RA + lzcn + RB) In (RA + lzmp.2 + RB) I2 = If | | (RA + lzm1..147 o 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 2 5 10 Cable lengths (km) 20 20 ohm 10 ohm 5 ohm 2 ohm 1 ohm 570.. Armour Cable sheath Cable core Steel pipe connection between the substations was 5km in length. Each metallic return path is labelled with a number: 1.. 6 and 7 are armouring surrounding each phase.13@ . followed by number 1..used in conjunction with line lengths and earth grid resistances in order simulate complete circuit model..-In (Equation 4) = Earth grid resistance at Sub A RA = Earth grid resistance at Sub B RB l = length of feeder Zc1 = series impedance along return path 1 Zm1. 2 and 3 are cable sheath.97 10 3. 5.08 16.129.136. The EGR at Subs B and C was 1 for all tests and while the EGR at Sub A was varied..57 2 14.035 o 98..I2 ...9 4. The injected current was 1000 + 0j A..735 o 127..461@175. These results are shown in Table 2 and Fig.| (RA + lzmp.2 = Mutual impedance between path 1 and 2 Zmp.48 @160. It can be seen in both Fig 6 (a) and (b) that the metallic return path carrying the most current is number 4. A circuit with 2 substations was created to compare results.3 + RB Variation in GPR at Sub A A number of different circuits.68 9.23 28..89 27. the sheath on the faulted phase. .87 o 147.035 491.. -1 is the sheath on the faulted email@example.com@ ..84 o 66.27 o o 57..I1 .72 40.87 16. Equation 3 (RA + lzc1 + RB) .. similar to those examined in section 2.. 6 (b) 300.. Fig. 4 is the steel pipe..03 38.29 47.. Primarily equation 3 ignores the effect of the two non faulted phases and current leakage along the length of the feeder while CDEGS takes this into account The earth fault current calculated from equation 4 is 50..93o 114.
Electricity Networks Association. and consequently the hazards caused by large GPRs. Engineering Recommendation S34.8 167 167 142. AUTHOR’S ADDRESS The author may be contacted at Power Systems Studies ESB International Stephen Court 18-21 St Stephen’s Green Dublin 2. While this may not always be economically desirable or possible.71 175 50 150 Table 5 Results Calculated from Equation 3 Sub B Sub C Injected current R phase R sheath S sheath T sheath R Armour S Armour T Armour Pipe mag 0 0.175 0.9 -144. Electricity Association Technical Specification 41-24 Issue 1.131 -33.23 *85. Variations in results (Table 6) may be due to a number of firstname.lastname@example.org 11. armours and pipes are bonded at every cable joint. page 25 1986. This would raise Ig but lower the GPR significantly.42 2. by carrying large proportions of the fault current away from substations through metallic return paths as opposed to through the earth.1 0.0 0.81 168 9. At times there were current surges of up to 10A being measured on the pipe of feeder C when no current was being injected. It must also be noted that medium voltage connections were not considered and it is expected that a proportion of current may have taken this path. Injected currents varied between 10A and 137A. SES Technology Ltd.081 -23. Also it was not possible to disconnect a the feeders in order to record a voltage measurement and thus calculate the GPR and resistance to remote earth of substation earth grid Calculated results are also displayed from CDEGS (table 4) and an alteration was made to equation 3 (Table 5) in order to incorporate a second substation into the model.077 -28. Table 3 Measured Results Sub B Sub C Injected current R phase R sheath S sheath T sheath Pipe mag 0 2.2km respectively.36 14. Medium voltage connections were not considered at Sub A which may lower the effective EGR seen by the fault at Sub A.7 -137 5.3.36 11.81 53. REFERENCES 1.81 168 12.58 2.48 8 angle 0 180 180 180 180 mag 100 26. It must be noted that a number of issues were noted during measurement.102 0. armours and pipe have a very positive effect in reducing the GPR.7km and 7.7 3.8 -164 -170 ** Error due largely to interference on feeder C Table 6 Earth Fault Current and GPR per 100A of injected current Ig Measured Equation 3 CDEGS **56.13 2. 1992.175 0.55 ***GPR cannot be estimated from fault current as medium voltage circuits were connected to the substation earth grid.5 angle 0 -141.5 2.139 -30. 2004 3.5 0. CDEGS version 11.29 11. CONCLUSIONS It can been seen from measured and computed results that metallic return paths provided by cable sheaths. The results shown are averages of measurements taken for a number of different injected currents.9 159.613 6.125 0.69 11. this is not considered in either of the calculated models. The magnitudes displayed are percentages of the fault current. Replacing non-shield wire overhead lines with shield wire overhead lines or underground cables can significantly reduce hazards associated with high voltage earth faults. armours and pipe are bonded at every joint. the presence of metallic return paths should always be considered when calculating earth fault currents. neil.614 58.8 0. In reality the cable sheaths.131 -33. It was not possible to measure the currents on the armour. The lengths of the feeders to Sub B and Sub C were 4. erratic variations were noted.21 0.7 . The circuit used for the current injection was similar to the description of the network provided in the introduction.79 GPR (V) *** 11.102 3. When the current on this pipe was measured.107.MEASURED RESULTS A current injection test was carried out at an urban substation in the spring of 2005. Sections of the pipes are very old and insulation may not still be intact. The faulted phase was on the feeder to Sub C.ie Table 4 Results Calculated by CDEGS Injected current R phase R sheath S sheath T sheath R Armour S Armour T Armour Pipe Sub B mag angle 0 0 0.8 0. while the EGRs at Subs B and C were assumed to be 1 . page 23.72 6.63 angle 0 -104. In reality the cables.9 159.71 175 5. 2. The EGR at Sub A was modelled as 40 .46 angle 0 180 120 120 134 127 127 -146 mag 100 40. Current flows due to conductive and inductive effects through these return paths.7 Sub C mag angle 100 0 30 -129 9.4 -162.16 12.077 -28. therefore a 10A surge could have a serious effect on measurements.
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