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Breaker Pole Scatter

and Its Effect on Quadrilateral

Ground Distance Protection

James Ryan,
Florida Power & Light Company

Arun Shrestha and Thanh-Xuan Nguyen,

Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.
Copyright FPL and SEL 2015

Breaker pole scatter
Zone 1 challenges when protecting
short lines
Quadrilateral distance element
Case study
Solution and test results

Fault Clearing Time

Normal Breaker Pole Scatter

Normal load current

BC fault current

High Breaker Pole Scatter

AB fault current

Delayed Phase C
current interruption

Factors Affecting Breaker Pole Scatter

Breaker operating mechanism
Dielectric strength of arc interrupters
External circuit parameters during fault

Protection of Short Lines

Fault resistance can be significantly higher
than line impedance
Mho ground distance elements have
limited fault resistance coverage
Quadrilateral ground distance elements
are preferred

Fault on Short Transmission Line

Quadrilateral Ground Distance Element

Factors That May Affect Quadrilateral

Ground Distance Element
Open-pole conditions
Breaker pole scatter

Case Study

Study effect of B4 pole scatter on relay at B1

Test cases (B4)

Normal fault current interruption

Interruption delayed by 0.5 cycles in one pole

Normal Fault Interruption

Bus Z

Interruption Delayed by 0.5 Cycles

Interruption Delayed by 0.5 Cycles

Bus Z

Interruption Delayed by 0.5 Cycles

Bus X

Zone 1 BG Reactance and

Resistance Calculation

When FSB asserts, relay issues trip command to breakers

FPL System

Situation Leading to
Unintended Operation
High breaker pole scatter of
0.5 cycles (rare)
Strong sources at both ends
(SIR 1.0)
Very short lines
Large resistive coverage for quadrilateral
ground distance elements

FPL Unintended Operation

Zone 1 BG Reactance and

Resistance Calculation

Proposed Solution

COMTRADE Playback Test

RTDS Test Remote Fault

RTDS Test Zone 1 Fault

High breaker pole scatter may occur as
breakers wear and age
Zone 4 element supervision adds security
to quadrilateral distance elements during
pole-scatter operating conditions without
sacrificing dependability