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# New Islanding Detection Method for InverterBased Distributed Generation Considering Its Switching Frequency

**Soo-Hyoung Lee, Student Member, IEEE and Jung-Wook Park, Member, IEEE
**

Abstract—Islanding detection is one of the most important issues for distributed generation (DG) systems connected to an electric power grid. The conventional passive islanding detection methods inherently have a non-detection zone (NDZ), and active islanding detection methods might cause problems with safety, reliability, stability, and power quality on power system. This paper proposes a passive islanding detection method with the zero NDZ property by considering the switching frequency of an inverter of the DG system. Moreover, the proposed method does not cause any negative effects in the above problems because it avoids applying the intended changes such as variations of reactive power and/or harmonics, which are required in the active islanding detection methods. Several case studies are carried out to verify that the proposed method can detect the islanding operation within 20 milliseconds, which is less than 150 milliseconds required in a recloser as the shortest mechanical reclosing (delay) time. This value also satisfies the requirement of 2 seconds given in the IEEE Std. 1547.

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becomes out of utility’s control. It can therefore cause a number of negative impacts on the network and DG itself, such as the safety hazards to utility personnel and the public, the power quality problems, and serious damage to the network and DG unless the main utility power is restored correctly and quickly [1]. Furthermore, the DG system must be also disconnected from the network for its protection by an effective detection method before the recloser starts to operate following by the islanding operation. Two types of islanding detection methods, which are the passive and active methods, have been developed until now. Some representative passive methods detect the islanding operation by monitoring over/under voltage (OUV) and over/under frequency (OUF) [4]-[5]. The changes of voltage and frequency are caused by the mismatches of active and reactive power, respectively. However, these methods have the non-detection zone (NDZ), where the OUV/OUF based Index Terms—Distributed generation (DG), inductance detection method fails to detect islanding. This NDZ is concentration bus, islanding detection, load concentration bus, calculated by setting the threshold values for frequency and PWM inverter, switching frequency. amplitude of voltage [6]. The other passive methods using voltage unbalance (VU) and total harmonic distortion (THD) I. INTRODUCTION might detect the islanding operation even in the NDZ. CCORDING to the increased prices of fossil fuels such However, those passive methods still neither overcome the as oil and natural gas, it is expected that the electric NDZ completely nor operate fast enough, despite using the power industry will undergo considerable and rapid change VU and THD methods. On the other hand, the active method has negative effects with respect to its structure, operation, planning, and regulation. Moreover, trends in power system planning and on the power system even though it can reduce the NDZ and operation are being toward maximum utilization of existing islanding detection time by injecting harmonics, varying infrastructures with tight operating margins due to the new active and reactive powers, or changing grid impedance [3]. In constraints placed by economical, political, and environmental other words, it might cause malfunctions in islanding detection factors. The distributed generation (DG) system is one of the algorithms applied to an inverter-based DG and degrade the voltage stability, power quality, and service reliability [7]. most possible solutions to deal with the above problems. The DG is based on the renewable energy sources such as Although the other active methods using supplementary fuel cell, photovoltaic, and wind power as well as combined transmitter and receiver have no NDZ, they impose additional heat and power gas turbine, micro-turbine, etc. The number of costs [8]. The design of the above anti-islanding algorithm for DG systems is rapidly increasing, and most of them are small DG system requires reducing computing efforts [9]. connected to a distribution system by supplying power into the Therefore, the objective of this study is to develop an network as well as local loads [1]. An islanding operation islanding detection method, which is much faster than the occurs when the DG continues supplying power into the shortest mechanical reclosing (delay) time without extra cost network after power from the main utility is interrupted [2]-[3]. and negative effects. Generally, the shortest reclosing time is If the islanding operation occurs, the distribution network 150 ms [6]. This paper makes the new contribution by developing the new passive method to determine the islanding Soo-Hyoung Lee and Jung-Wook Park are with the School of Electrical operation within 20 ms based on switching frequency of and Electronic Engineering, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-749, Korea inverters.

(Corresponding author to provide phone: +82-2-2123-5867; Fax: +82-2-21235867; e-mail: jungpark@yonsei.ac.kr).

978-1-4244-3476-3/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE

it causes changes of voltage and frequency [5]. Then. the bus interconnected with a large number of loads is . Finally. Distribution network interconnected with multiple DG systems. it is defined as the inductance concentration bus. Section III presents the characteristics of impedance at switching frequency of single DG system. In the similar manner. 1 with multiple DG systems are carried out in Section IV to evaluate the performance of the proposed method. In the case that a bus has large inductance because it is interconnected with relatively many distribution lines. 1 is considered as the inductance concentration bus when compared to the right LV bus. Several case studies on the distribution network in Fig. Vmin. fmin. Non-detection zone (NDZ) by the OUV/OUF based method.88 pu. 59. 2. respectively. and this islanding operation is detected by monitoring those changes if they are large enough. 1. However. where the islanding operation is not detected due to the small changes of voltage and frequency.5 Hz. This paper is organized as follows: Section II described the proposed islanding detection method based on switching frequency of PWM inverter. and fmax are thresholds of under and over voltages and frequencies. B. there might be a power mismatch between power generations and load consumptions in the isolated system. the capacitor bank is mostly installed on the inductance concentration bus [10]. and 60. Case of Grid-Connected Single DG System The DG system is usually located on a distribution network. ISLANDING DETECTION METHOD BASED ON SWITCHING FREQUENCY OF A PWM INVERTER A. 2. In Fig. the conventional OUV/OUF passive method has the nondetection zone (NDZ) as shown in Fig. For example. Vmax. Fig. II. Non-Detection Zone (NDZ) by OUV/OUF Method After an islanding operation occurs. the left LV bus in Fig. for each. respectively. 2.Fig. conclusions are given in Section V.1 pu. even though these limits are dependent to some degree on the interface control design [4].3 Hz. Those values are typically 0. Then. and capacitor bank is also placed in the network to compensate voltage by supplementing reactive power. 1. For its reactive compensation.

1 are given in Table I. but not from the grid. Therefore. Load-2. The sizes and parameters of all devices in Fig. multiple DG systems can be connected to this load concentration bus. The left LV bus in Fig. Fig. Assume that all active power required in the Load-3 is supplied from the grid. 3 to evaluate the effect of the proposed islanding detection method with a single DG connected to an electric power grid based on the pulse-widthmodulation (PWM) inverter. the total impedance. and Capacitor bank-1. TABLE I SIZES AND PARAMETERS OF ALL DEVICES IN FIG. Because the inductance of transformer is much larger than that of distribution lines. 3 comes only from the inverter. Modeling of distribution network with the estimated impedances. . Then. 4. 3. respectively. 3 is modeled with the estimated impedances as shown in Fig. 1 also falls under the load concentration bus because it has relatively large loads. To supply power efficiently. the high frequency components from the inverter hardly pass through the transformer. the impedance of LV/HV transformer with respect to high frequency is very large when compared to those of Load-1. the impedance of transformer referred to on the side of DG-1 is negligible for high frequencies over the switching frequency of the inverter when the parallel sum of impedances with Load-3 is considered. Simplified distribution network with single DG system. The impedances referred to the DG system in Fig. the Load-3 might have close to unity power factor because R3 can be ignored in high frequency mode. As mentioned before. This means that high frequency harmonics over the switching frequency in voltage and current waveforms measured at the point of common coupling (PCC) of Fig. 1 Component DG-1 DG-2 DG-3 Load-1 Load-2 Load-3 Load-4 Load-5 Load-6 Capacitor bank-1 Capacitor bank-2 Real power (kW) 15 15 15 15 250 500 250 500 15 0 0 Reactive power (kVAR) 0 0 0 3 50 100 50 100 3 103 100 Switching frequency (kHz) 15 16 15 --------- estimated from the correspondingly measured voltages and currents [11]. • • • • • • • • • R1: L1: C1: R3: L3: C3: Cbk-1: ω0: ωsw: Resistance of Load-1 Inductance of Load-1 Capacitance of Load-1 Resistance of Load-3 Inductance of Load-3 Capacitance of Load-3 Capacitance of Capacitor bank-1 Fundamental system frequency Switching frequency of inverter of DG-1 The distribution network in Fig. Then. To compare the impedances before and after the islanding operation. 4. the simplified distribution system in Fig. 1 is re-formed with the simplified system shown in Fig. Z before and after the islanding operation by the Circuit breaker-4 in Fig. the associated parameters are defined as follows. When the capacitance of Capacitor bank-1 is given as (3). This means that the DG-1 also supplies all power to the Load-1.defined as the load concentration bus. 3 can be A capacitor bank is mostly installed to compensate voltage as well as to improve power factor. The output of PWM inverter includes the high frequency harmonics resulting from its periodic fast switching operation. 3 is expressed by (1) and (2). Z before = 1 ⎛ ⎛ 1 1 1 ⎞ 1 ⎞ + + j ⎜ ω0C1 − ⎟ + j ⎜ ω0C3 + ω0Cbk-1 − ⎟ ω0 L1 ⎠ ⎝ ω0 L3 ⎠ R1 R3 ⎝ (1) Z after = 1 ⎛ 1 1 ⎞ + j ⎜ ω0C1 − ⎟ ω0 L1 ⎠ R1 ⎝ (2) Fig.

ωsw is given as ωsw = mf·ω0. when these harmonics are detected on a system with multiple DG systems. 5. [4] use the DG system. the switching frequency of inverter. which injects harmonic currents based on the THD factor to cancel out the high frequency harmonics resulting from nonlinear loads. the overall system voltage and frequency referred to the DG-1 do not change because the impedances. Therefore. the proposed method can be also applied to the DG systems with even same switching frequencies if they operate in different areas separated by a transformer. respect to the frequency modulation is calculated by Z sw = 1 ⎛ 1 β + j ⎜ mf α − ⎜ R1 m f ⎝ Figure 5 shows the variation of ZSW corresponding to mf when L1 = 0. In the meanwhile. Then. β = 1 ⎜ 1 + 1 ⎟ ω0 ⎝ L1 L3 ⎠ (5) Fig. Zbefore and Zafter in (1) and (2) become the same.001 F. the proposed method requires the only particular frequency for each DG system. Moreover. C. In other words. It is observed that the impedance under the islanding condition is 262 times larger than under the preislanding condition with the mf of 10. the DG-1/DG3 and DG-2/DG-3 in Fig.01 H. Cbk-1 = 1 ω02 L3 − C3 (3) In this case. However. (4) ⎞ ⎟ ⎟ ⎠ where ⎛ ⎞ α = ω0 ( C1 + C3 + Cbk-1 ) . As described previously. . the harmonics corresponding to switching frequencies are highly damped by the transformer due to its large impedance. the islanding operation can be detected perfectly by this variation in impedance with respect to the switching modulation of inverter. the conventional OUV/OUF passive method cannot detect the islanding operation. it is difficult to know exactly which DG can deal with the undesired harmonics. Case of Grid-Connected Multiple DG Systems Some islanding detection methods [1]. Variation of impedance. Implementation of the proposed islanding detection algorithm based on the orthogonal characteristic of high frequency components. C1 = 0. and R1 = 1 Ω. ZSW corresponding to mf. it detects the islanding condition clearly only if multiple DG systems are connected to a distribution network with different switching frequencies of their PWM inverters. ZSW. Therefore. 1 confirm this case. the impedance.00001 F. The proposed method is not interrupted by the above case because it operates at much higher frequencies than the harmonics from nonlinear sensitive loads.Fig. C3 = 0. L3 = 0. For example. The mf of 21 to 330 is considered in the PWM inverter of DG system when the usual switching frequency is 1260 Hz to 20 kHz [12]-[13] for the grid-connected DG systems.0001 H. where mf is the frequency modulation. 6. Therefore.

Responses of a-phase voltage at the terminal of DG-1 after the islanding operation at 0. The proposed algorithm is therefore implemented directly in time-domain without the analysis in the frequency domain such as the FFT. A total of six case studies are carried out on the distribution network with three DG systems in Fig. as shown in Fig. therefore. Fig. the signal bandwidth is wide in frequency domain. Therefore. T. 2. the proposed method needs to find the impedance at only one switching frequency. Case of Large Difference between Load Consumption and DG Output Power after Islanding Assume that the Load-6 shown in Fig. It suddenly increases right after the islanding occurs. 8 shows the voltage (magnitude) response at the terminal of DG-1 in this particular high frequency mode (of 1. the voltage response corresponding to the high switching frequency of PWM inverter by the proposed method will show a sudden change after islanding because there is a large difference in the impedance. Voltage response at high switching frequency (15 kHz) of PWM inverter in the islanding and pre-islanding operations. its phase response shows small high frequency perturbations after 0. The result in Fig. both the OUV/OUF and proposed methods provide the desirable islanding detection performance for this case. As mentioned in Section II. 6. This creates a large difference between the DG-1 output and power consumption from the Loads 1 and 6 after islanding. CASE STUDIES IN MULTIPLE DG SYSTEMS It is important to verify whether the proposed islanding detection technique remains robust and has a negligible NDZ on a system with multiple grid-connected DG systems. . The required impedance is finally estimated by the Zest of (6) without direct calculation in (4) with the manipulations of those average values. of waveforms are calculated.5 s: (a) Magnitude (b) Phase. IV. B. The result in Fig. the above implementation with consideration of a particular switching frequency is reasonable. 1 is connected with the Load-1 in Fig.5 kHz with mf = 250). as shown in Fig. On the other hand. III. Implementation of Proposed Detection Method When the switching frequencies of two DG systems in same area are very close each other. In this case. the proposed method determines the islanding operation successfully even in the NDZ. Case of Small Difference between Load Consumption and DG Output Power after Islanding The case with small difference between single DG system output and load consumption after the islanding operation (by the circuit breaker-4) at 0. 5. Then. Therefore. And. CASE STUDIES IN A SINGLE DG SYSTEM A. The results in Figs. it requires to make the bandwidth of its frequency response narrow with the longer sampling time. They are multiplied individually by the real measurements of voltage and current at the PCC. For the successful operation of the proposed islanding detection method. Moreover. However. 8. This is shown in Fig. ZSW of (4) between the islanding and pre-islanding Fig. Z est = 2 (6) Note that the average of two sinusoidal waveforms products at different high frequencies is zero because they have the orthogonal characteristic in high frequency mode. the traditional OUV/OUF method fails to detect the required islanding operation in this case because the variations of above voltage and phase (frequency) responses are inside the NDZ as shown in Fig. 7. the improvement of the resolution in frequency domain based on the fast Fourier transform (FFT) can make the islanding detection time longer than the shortest mechanical reclosing (delay) time required in a recloser. where it cannot be detected by the OUV/OUF method. 7 shows that the magnitude of a-phase voltage at the terminal of DG-1 rarely changes.5 s is tested using PSCAD/EMTDC simulation on the system in Fig.5 s. the change of corresponding system frequency is also small. 3 in parallel. In summary. 1. It firstly generates sine and cosine waveforms with the switching frequency. their average values over one period. ωsw. 9 and 10 show that the OUV/OUF based method can be possibly used as an islanding detection method from its voltage response.D. 3. t o +T t o +T ⎛ ⎜ ∫t v (τ ) ⋅ sin(τ )dτ ⎞ ⎟ +⎛ ⎜ ∫t v (τ ) ⋅ cos(τ )dτ ⎞ ⎟ ⎝ o ⎠ ⎝ o ⎠ t o +T t o +T ⎛ ⎟ ⎜ ∫t i(τ ) ⋅ cos(τ )dτ ⎞ ⎟ +⎛ ⎜ ∫t i (τ ) ⋅ sin(τ )dτ ⎞ ⎠ ⎠ ⎝ o ⎝ o 2 2 2 conditions. 6. there is no change in the pre-islanding operation.

5 s in each case. giving the great benefit of negligible NDZ. C. →: change at 0. Fig.0 1. B.06 1.06 0. the islanding detection performance of proposed method is evaluated by assigning different switching frequencies of 15 kHz and 16 kHz to the DG-1 and DG-2 systems. Also. Voltage response at high switching frequency (15 kHz) of PWM inverter in the islanding and pre-islanding operations. which opens at 0.6 0. TABLE II OUTPUT VOLTAGE HARMONICS OF DG-1 SYSTEM Individual harmonic order h < 11 11≤h<17 17≤h<23 23≤h<35 35≤h with about 10 ms detection time. 11 (d). respectively. 10. Therefore. In contrast. Even though there exist active and reactive power mismatches on the system by connecting the DG-2 system. 1. 9 Responses of a-phase voltage at the terminal of DG-1 after the islanding operation at 0. D. 12.0 0.05 0.2 TABLE III STATES OF CIRCUIT BREAKERS TO CARRY OUT SIX CASE STUDIES Case study A B C D E F 1 o o o o o o 2 x x x→ο x x x 3 x x x x→o x x Circuit breaker 4 5 6 o x o→x o x o→x o o x o o x o o x→o o o x 7 o o o o o x→o 8 o x x x x x S t a t e ο: close. the results shown in Fig.0 1.41 2. 11 (c). 1547 for maximum harmonic voltage distortion in percent of rated voltage.5 s [see Fig. six case studies are implemented by the different operation (call state) of total eight circuit breakers in Fig. 12 (c)-(d) illustrate that the proposed method still provides successful detection operation without degrading its performance. the results are shown in Fig. The change in magnitude of a-phase voltage at the terminal of DG-1 is very small after 0. the islanding operation is easily detected by the conventional OUV/OUF method when the voltage exceeds the threshold of NDZ in Fig. as shown in Table III.5 s.46 IEEE Std.Fig. 1. 11 (a)]. 12 (a)]. Case of Small Difference between Load Consumption and DG Output Power after Islanding When the difference between load consumption and DG1’s output power is not large enough. The change of this state followed by the islanding detection occurs at 0. 1547 DG-1 4. 2 due to the large difference between load consumption and DG-1’s output power on the isolated area [see Fig. Then. The proposed method does not misjudge the connection of DG-2 as an islanding operation. The results are shown in Fig. THD 5. which must be solved with careful analysis without regard to active and passive islanding detection methods. as shown in Fig.3 0. as shown in Table III. which is much shorter than the required shortest reclosing time of 150 ms.5 0. A. the islanding operation must NOT occur for this case. This independent property on the amount of difference between load consumption and power generation makes the proposed islanding detection technique robust. which closes at 0. the OUV/OUF method fails to detect islanding.5 s. Table II shows that the output voltage harmonics of DG-1 system in the pre-islanding condition satisfies the requirement of IEEE Std. This situation is simulated by the operation of circuit breaker-2 in Fig. the proposed islanding detection technique is based on the estimation of system impedance with different switching frequencies of multiple DG systems. The results are shown in Fig. which could be detected by the other islanding detection methods because of active power mismatch.5 s. From the corresponding trip signals in Fig. Connection of Another DG System with Different Switching Frequency Interaction between multiple DG systems is the one of important and difficult problems. the proposed method shows good islanding detection performance by its estimated impedance variation. both methods provide fast operation . As in the case study in Section III-B. Connection of Another DG System with Same Switching Frequency through a Transformer As mentioned before. Also. 13. x: open. 11. Case of Large Difference between Load Consumption and DG Output Power after Islanding The test is carried out by the operation of circuit breaker-4.5 s: (a) Magnitude (b) Phase.

Fig. the load-3 consuming 500 kW and 100 kVAR is suddenly connected to the system. 13. it judges this change of condition correctly by not detecting it as the required islanding operation [see the result of Fig. and 250 kW is now connected as the Load-4 at 0. Responses in the case study-C. Responses in the case study-B. the OUV/OUF method erroneously detects an islanding operation. the high frequency harmonic components of a signal hardly pass through the transformer. Fig. E. the DG-1 and DG-3 systems in Fig. 12. 1. The islanding detection methods based on the THD factor can malfunction in the case with severe nonlinear sensitive loads deteriorating power quality. the same switching frequency can be used in different DG systems if they are separated from each other by a transformer. respectively. The results in Fig. even though they use the same switching frequencies in their inverters. Fig. 15 (a) and (b) show that the magnitude and phase of a-phase voltage at the terminal of DG-1 decrease after 0. 14. In practice. the induction motor starts operate.5 s. Therefore. In Fig. The induction motor rated at 4-pole. which closes at 0.5 s. the decrease in system frequency and voltage corresponds to the increase in real and reactive powers. However. Connection of Another Load When the load consuming a large amount of active and reactive power is suddenly connected to the system. 1 come to this case when both DGs operate with the switching frequencies of 15 kHz. 14. Therefore. Connection of Nonlinear Sensitive Load When nonlinear sensitive loads such as an induction motor are connected to an electric power grid. Responses in the case study-A. Responses in the case study-D. As with the responses in case study-C (see Fig. the voltage and current at the PCC connected to these nonlinear loads are distorted. F. the proposed method does not misjudge the change in system condition by connecting the DG-3 system as an islanding operation. which closes at 0. This case is simulated by the operation of circuit breaker-6. 60 Hz. At the same time. 13). Fig. This test is carried out by the operation of circuit breaker-3 in Fig. there exists very small change in the variation of impedance estimated by the proposed method after 0. For example. the conventional OUV/OUF method is subject to decide this sudden increase of load as an islanding operation because the voltage and frequency of system change correspondingly depending on the relationships of system frequency/active power and system voltage/reactive power. 11.5 s. 15 (c). . 15 (d)].5 s when the load-3 is connected. In other words. The results are shown in Fig. therefore.5 s.

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