Small Signal Stability Analysis: Experiences, Achievements, and Challenges

P. Kundur, Fellow IEEE Lei W a n g ,Member IEEE

Powertech Labs Inc.
Surrey, BC, Canada

Abstract - This paper presents an overview on the recent trend of small-signal stability analysis of power systems, focusing mainly on the experience, applications and achievements, and the challenges facing the power industry in this area. Issue:$ discussed include experiences and lessons learnt from real-life incidents, modelling and study requirements, analysis tools available and their performances, and the possible future developments. The paper shows the importance of addressing small signal stability of power systems in all stages of planning and operation, as well as the viability of analysing and mitigating these problems with the advanced tools available to the industry today.
1. INTRODUCTION Small signal (rotor angle) stability, along with transient stability, voltage stability and frequency stability, is the basic requirement for a power system to maintain secure operation [l]. The theory and analysis methods for small signal stability problem are well established [ 13. Research and development efforts over the past two decades have also resulted in effective computation algorithms and successful applications of control theory to mitigate many problems related to power system oscillations [2-51. Several computer programs specifically designed for small signal stability analysis have been developed and used [4,5]. These theoretical and developmental breakthroughs havt: greatly helped the understanding and advancement of the small signal stability analysis. They form a solid foundation for practical applications. Despite these impressive developments, however, small signal stability is not yet being adequately addressed by the electric power industry. Most utilities do not carry out small signal stability analysis routinely as a part of planning and operating studies. However, due to the changing ways power system; are being planned and operated in the new industry environment, this problem has not only emerged as one of the primary concerns for secure system operation but also poses new challenges for developing better analysis and mitigating methods.

In presenting this paper, we are motivated by the lack of sufficient appreciation by the industry as a whole for properly addressing the small signal stability problems in the planning and operation of power systems. O u r objective is to provide a broad overview of the subject by discussing the following aspects: Past experiences illustrating the importance of small signal stability analysis; Recent achievements and development of tools for small signal stability analysis;

Challenges and possible fWre developments,

2. EXPERIENCES 2.1 Utility experiences Small signal stability problems in power systems date back to several decades, with many reported incidents [2]. This problem often appears as poorly damped, sustained, or even growing (unstable) oscillations due to insuficient damping. The oscillations may appear in only a small part of the system (local mode oscillations), or spread over a large region of an interconnected system (inter-area mode oscillations) [ 11. A typical example of the local problem is the Rush Island incident which occurred in 1992 in the AmerenUE system of Mid US [6]. A contingency, previously not analysed, occurred on the system making the Rush Island units weakly connected to the main grid, triggering a sustained oscillation involving the Rush Island units. An unstable local mode oscillation under the post,eontingency condition was later confirmed in the post-mortem analysis. The problem was solved by use of a conventional power system stabilizer (PSS). The August 1996 disturbance on the WSCC system (North American Western Interconnected system) is a classic example of the inter-area oscillation problem [7]. Several circuit outages made a low-


0-7803-7459-2/02/$17.00 Q 2002 IEEE


r -. particularly their mode shapes and damping. AVR. including eigenvalue analysis. incident Due to the potential adverse effects of the oscillation problems. postmortem analysis.2 Modelling issues Many studies have been performed to identify the critical modelling requirements for the small signal stability analysis. the situation is usually much more complicated [lo]. participation factors. extensive model and data sanity checking and validation are necessary before performing the studies. Therefore.) which can be used in control design for damping enhancements. 20 30 40 50 I 10 60 Figure 1: California-Oregon intertie flow during the August 4. Load characteristics can play a very important role in an inter-area mode [lo]. was able to replicate the events [8. certain factors are known: Since an inter-area mode usually involves a large region of an interconnected system. The accurate modelling of the exciter. the following have been proven or observed: For local mode oscillations.2000. triggered by the separation of Alberta system from the WSCC interconnection 181. and to understand the impact of various power system components and controls on 2. certain practices of using “worst case” transfer scenarios in planning studies may not represent critical conditions for inter-area oscillation studies. major power transfers. the characteristics of different types of oscillations. The accuracy and consistency of the models are important.) can significantly affect the Characteristics of inter-area modes. many utilities have introduced reliability or security requirements to ensure sufficient damping (commonly as a damping criterion) when new generation or transmission facilities are added. transfer functions. For both incidents. A similar oscillation occurred again on the WSCC system on August 4. a detailed representation of the full system is required to study such phenomena. The modal (eigenvalue) analysis approach overcomes these limitations. The complementary use of eigenvalue and nonlinear time-domain analyses is a sound approach to resolve system oscillation problems Excitation systems are again the most critical controls affecting inter-area modes. etc. and other supplementary controls (such as PSS) is essential for analyzing this type of problems. Generally. dynamic characteristics of loads (mostly induction motors) need to be included as well. [VI.3 Planning and operation considerations The small signal stability problem is essentially a problem of damping control. This creates demands for good analysis tools and methods to deal with the small signal stability problems. It gives usell information on the inherent characteristics of modes (mode shapes.frequency (0. Other controls such as HVDC modulation and FACTS controllers could have a significant contribution to the damping of inter-area modes. 9 E 2 340 E 320 300d0 . This requires special consideration in the “deregulated” industry environment. speed governor characteristics may also have an impact [8]. it does not have the capabilities that are critical in determining the modal characteristics and in designing appropriate controllers. Under some conditions. However. . the overwhelming factor affecting the modal characteristics is the excitation controls of the generators involved. or when operating guides are set. Although this method is very mature and straightforward. For inter-area mode of oscillations. System operating conditions (load levels. Deregulation creates great generation -7- . Figure 1 shows the California-Oregon inter-tie flow during the oscillation. leading to the break-up of the entire WSCC system. Nonlinear time-domain simulation used to be the only approach in the analysis of the oscillation problems.23Hz) inter-area mode unstable. Usually.9]. Some factors causing these oscillations and the measures required to predict and control them have been developed and partially implemented. 2. 2000. etc. therefore. Not only correct load level and distribution but also appropriate model type mix must be represented in the study in order to simulate realistic behaviour of interarea modes.

but many of these IPP units are being built at locations that are ideal from the generation point of view but their power often has to be delivered through a weak transmission system. but also a suite of u s e l l system study capabilities such as: Input data customization and representation options Contingency analysis Eigenvalue sensitivity analysis Root locus (mode trace) analysis Frequency response computation Small signal stability limit determination Output result analysis and visualization tools User-friendlyprogram interface Figure 3 shows two ways of visualizing a mode shape in SSAT for a major inter-area mode (0.48 Hz and 8..6% and 0. As transfer is increased to 3000 MW and 3400 MW. such as data and model incompatibility with traditional transient stability analysis tools. In such situations. The reason that small signal stability analysis has not been routinely performed by many utilities is partly due to lack of p o w e m yet user-friendly computer analysis tools. RECENT DEVELOPMENTS 3. the stability limit would be about 2730 MW). On the operation side. focusing mainly on theory and algorithm development with less emphasis on utility applications. -150 J 0 I 2 4 I a 10 6 Time in seconds Figure 2: System performance at different transfer levels -8- . Figure 2 shows a typical example of power transfer limited by small signal stability. both developed recently by the authors' company Powertech Labs Inc.4% damping) in North America. obtained from a fiill US-Canada Eastern Interconnection model (39. With the changing characteristics of the present d a y power systems. Applying these programs for practical system studies was often not a straightforward task for a number of reasons. such limits are increasingly being imposed by small signal stability considerations [2:1.9% respectively.1 New analysis tools transactions in an open-access market can severely stress a system up to the edge of its stability limits. demands for large power 3. This situation is changing. are briefly described below. Small Signal Ana&& Tool (SSAq [12] This is a comprehensive software tool for analysis and mitigation of small signal stability problems of large interconnected power systems. The intensity (contrast) of each . the responses of a medium-sized test system are simulated for a critical contingency at different power transfer levels across an important interface. with the introduction of the new generation of small signal stability analysis tools.development opportunities for independent power producers (IPP). In this figure. lack of convenient features and capabilities for comprehensive analysis. This is amply illustrated in [ 111. Figure 3(a) illustrates the geographical distribution of the mode. Such problems have already been observed in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast systems of the US. This example illustrates the importance of establishing a damping performance criterion for systems with damping problems and determining the transfer limits accordingly. The system would eventually lose angle stability at a transfer of about 3800 MW. but wa:y before this transfer the damping is so low that the operation would not be acceptable (if a damping criterion of 3% is used. and difficulties in interpreting computed results.873 buses and 6. The system is stable with acceptable damping for its primary inter-area mode when the transfer is below 2600 MW (damping ratio s is above 3. the damping of this mode is decreased to 1. Two such tools. Without appropriate consideration of small signal stability and the required controls.652 generators). in which the oscillation of the mode is seen to be mainly between those units in Southeast US (excluding Florida) plus Canada (denoted by circles in blue) and those units in rest of the system (denoted by crosses in red). It includes not only a variety of eigenvalue computation options for determination of different types of modes. the new generation facilities could have unacceptable damping performance. small signal stability can often be a limiting factor for adding new generation facilities. Many of the computer programs developed in the past two decades were researchgrade.9%).

Table 1 shows the computation times for the conventional time-domain simulation and eigenvalue analysis of a very large system model (34. CSTT uses optimization techniques to determine or tune the parameters of controllers in a power system for target performance requirements (mainly damping criteria).6% for a set of realistic PSS parameters. This offers flexibilities for different application objectives and thus provides best possible results.382 dynamic states). but what makes CSTT unique are the following unique capabilities: CSTT is built on both linear and non-linear analysis techniques. 41. This. Multiple controllers can be tuned simultaneously. It is true that eigenvalue calculation used to have such a high burden of computation and memory requirements that only relatively small systems could be analyzed. Computation times were obtained using TSAT for time-domain simulation and SSAT for eigenvalue computation (111 modal characteristics including mode shapes and participation factors were computed for each mode). (b) Mode shape scatter plot (magnitudes and phases of individual mode shape entries are shown with colourcoded area representation) Figure 3: Two different views of a mode shape in SSAT Control System Tuning Toolbox (CSTlJ This is a development in’ response to industry’s call for tools enabling systematic determination and tuning of parameters of controllers (particularly PSS) for damping enhancement. with SSAT and TSAT (a commercial time-domain simulation program) as its computation engines. 3. Tuning can be performed with an approach that is either highly customized or fully automatic.381 buses. and colour contrasts indicate respective modal characteristics) 3. in addition to ensuring sufficient verification of the robustness of tuned controllers. an unstable inter-area mode in the system can be stabilized with a damping ratio of 7. (a) Geographical mapping of the mode (different symbols. There have been a number of similar developments in this area [5]. provides for adequate modelling and computation capabilites. colours.symbol indicates the magnitude of the oscillation in the associated generator. -9- . Figure 3(b) shows the mode shape (magnitude and phase) arranged by control areas (denoted by different colours). it is possible to fiuther boost the computation performance by using parallel or distributed computation techniques. This has changed dramtically with the use of advanced computation and programming techniques adopted in the new generation of software.870 generators. This kind of result visualization significantly helps study engineers to understand the physical phenomena related to the mode and thus to apply the suitable mitigation method if necessary.2 Computation performances Another fact that has often been misunderstood is the computation performances related to the small signal stability analysis. Since the eigenvalue computation problem can usually be decoupled into many parallel sub-problems. An application of CSTT to a sample system of 686 buses and 219 generators shows that by going through an automatic tuning process for 4 PSS. It is clear that the orders of computation times are comparable for these two types of analyses.

9]. As seen in the figure.3 Applications in operation studies As described in Section. local oscillation problems can also become difficult to control.9].2 Controls P ij ’.2 and 0. the groups of candidate generators in the source and sink regions. One of the ways to ensure good models for such equipment is the model validation and refinement through extensive field testing. 4. Figure 4 shows the comparison of this scheme with other generator dispatch methods for a sample system. the oscillation is reasonably damped. In this case. such as the mandatory compliancy process that has been in place in WSCC since the 1996 blackouts. the damping becomes very poor. -I 3 2. Use of the “worst case” scenario approach is usually not adequate. when the speed governor of the gas turbine is blocked. As indicated. which is 160 MW greater than the uniform-scalxng method or 500 MW greater than the econornic dispatch method. Improvements are required in several areas: ’ 3. for a given small signal stability criterion (3% damping).Table 1: Computation time comparison Computationtask One 1 O-second time-domain simulation Mode scan in the frequency range of 0. power transfers are limited by damping criterion. CHALLENGES Although very significant advancements have been made in small signal stability analysis techniques and powerfil tools have been developed.9 4. 2. the following important issues are yet to be satisfactorily addressed. when small signal stability is the primary security constraint. Assembling a system model appropriate for such studies is not an easy task. !I2 0.5 0 1800 ‘1950MW I ’ 2450MW 2400 2600 I 2800 3000 2000 2200 Figure 4: Comparison of power transfer limits ’w i t h different generator dispatch methods Control of local mode of oscillations is a relatively simple task and in most cases it can be solved by applying power system stabilizers. This indicates a strong negative contribution of the governor to the damping.8 Hz and damping range of 0% and 10% (24 modes were computed) Computation time (min) 7. of the transfer are dispatched in an order determined by the sensitivities of the critical mode with respect to the outputs of these generators. however.1 Modelling An adequate system model is essential for the successful assessment of small signal stability. a local oscillation problem is simulated under two conditions: with the speed governor blocked and enabled. Choice of system operating conditions such as load levels and power transfers. Application of a conventional PSS was found to be -10- . considering a range of realistic feasible operating conditions could improve the quality of results significantly. but when it is enabled. the sensitivity-based method can achieve a stability limit of 2450 MW. Reference [13] reports a method of increasing power transfer in such a situation by using the sensitivity-based method. Figure 5 shows such an example which is based on a real case study involving a gas turbine with digital governor.3. so as to achieve the increased power transfer level. In some situations. One typical example is the representation of induction motor loads which often turns out to be important to replicate measured characteristics of inter-area modes [8.9 2. Addition of models not usually represented in conventional stability studies. without the addition of new damping controls.5 Modelling accuracy and details of major equipment such as excitation systems and speed governors. Past experiences have indicated that in most cases the models created for planning purposes are unlikely to give results consistent with the actual system measurements [8.: . The idea is as follows: when power trancifer needs to be increased or decreased. 4.

K. M.. This would eventually call for on-line small signal security assessment (SSA).Berube. 3. Kansas City. Taylor.Y. April 5-7. G. Mittelstadt.J.02. Jardim.S. M. Kundur. pp. 1994 IEEE PES System Oscillation Working Group. Power System Stability and Control. “Analysis and Control of Power System Oscillations. 6.” Missouri Valley Electric Association Engineering Conference. and R.E. Kwok. Technically. 967-979.R.” CIGRE Technical Brochure. Mittelstadt.J. 5.3 On-line security assessment . SSA is the sibling of the other two forms of the dynamic security assessment. and W. Viles. acta scta 4000 8000 acta io Time in seconds Figure 5: Local oscillations associated with governors Control of inter-area modes presents greater challenges. as the transmission systems are becoming increasingly stressed.” IEEE Trans. Further. This is an area that requires M e r investigation and industry experience. and has been the focus of many research projects. “Testing and Modelling of the Union Electric Generator Excitation Systems. Vol. and G. “Interarea Oscillations in Power Systems.October 1994.G. pp.” IEEE PES Special Publication 95 TP 101. CIGRE Task Force 38. Wong. including the following: 0 0 0 Contingency screening Detailed security analysis of critical contingencies Small signal stability limit determination Remedial measure to improve small signal security D. Some of the recent applications and achievements for a range of small signal stability problems are described with illustrative examples. May 2000. Kosterev. CIGRE Task Force 38.1076-1083. It is therefore technically feasible to incorporate on-line SSA. August 1999. REFERENCES . L. “Model Validation for the August 10.” CIGRE Technical Brochure.” IEEE Trans.ineffective in this case. namely transient security assessment (TSA) and voltage security assessment (VSA)[ 141. As mentioned earlier.07. The system is small-signal secure if the damping of all critical modes in the system are within a required threshold. McGraw-Hill. Vol. C. Tuck.01.A. No. operating limits of many power systems are constrained by small signal stability.A. 1996 WSCC System Outage. the requirements for on-line SSA are similar to those of TSA and VSA. W. D. Garnett. P. however. 4. “Impact of Interactions Among Power System Controls. 3. a small signal stability limit can be defined as a power transfer limit beyond which the damping of at least one mode becomes insecure. since SSA could share most of the data with TSA.N. Wang. as well as the viability of analysing and mitigating these problems with the advanced tools available to the industry today. widely accepted and effective universal approaches are yet to be developed. “Model -11 - . CONCLUSIONS This paper discusses the past experience and new challenges in the small signal stability analysis of power systems. B. December 1996. J. P. Lauby. November 1990.1995. D. Kundur. SSA of a power system refers to the small-signal stability analysis of the system under a set of credible contingencies for a range of feasible operating conditions.N. Beaulieu. PWRS. Rogers. and M. The paper demonstrates the importance of addressing small signal stability of power systems in all stages of planning and operation. PWRS-14. G. Burns. Kosterev. particularly where on-line TSA has been implemented. This problem requires W h e r investigation but is indicative of some of the challenges in controlling local mode oscillations 0 0 On-line computation speed requirements Connectivity to the EMS system Most of these computation capabilities are already available in the new generation of small signal stability analysis software. Shah.16. “A Comprehensive Computer Program for Small Signal Stability Analysis of Power Systems.

” IEEE Trans. August 1991. Chung. P.12 - . “On-line Dynamic Security Assessment of Power Systems. September 1997.2001. Hungary.J. 914921. L. Hamadanizadeh. G. Hevzz. “System Disturbance Stability Studies for Western System Coordinating Council (WSCC).“A Tool For Small-Signal Security Assessment ‘Of Power Systems. May 2 1-24. Arabi. [lo] M. Morison.” Presented at IEEE PES Summer Meeting Panel Session on Recent Applications of Small Signal Analysis Techniques.” Presented at IEEE PES Winter Meeting Panel Session on Recent Applications of Small Signal Analysis Techniques.K. [13] L. Xu.” Fifth International Workshop on Electric Power Control Centres. [93 EPRl Report TR-108256. 3. No. E141 P. “Small Signal Stability of a Large Power System as Effected by New Generation Additions.” Prepared by Powertech Labs Inc.Validation and Analysis of WSCC System Oscillations Following Alberta Separation on August 4. June 1999. Seattle.. P. Australia. and D. Kundur. . Howell. and P. Wang and C. F. and ’W. Chung.Y. 2000. January 2002. Rogers. Matthews. PWRS-6. and H.Y. G. [12] L. pp. Wang. Kundur. Hassiak. [11] S.” Final Report by Bonneville Power Administration and BC Hydro. Sydney. Kundur. P. C.” PICA 2001. January 200 1. “A Fundamental Study of Inter-area Oscillations in Power Systems. Klein. July 2000. “Increasing Power Transfer Limits at Interfaces Constrained by Small-Signal Stability. New York. Kundur. Wang. Vol.

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