Topic Page No.
1 Generator Protection 2 – 21
2 Transformer Protection 22 – 30
3 Bus Bar Protection 31 – 41
4 Distance Protection 42 – 80
5 Distance Protection Schemes 81 – 97
6 Generation Technologies 98 – 123
7 Frequency Control 124 – 151
8 Reactive Power management 152 – 227
No. Topic
Generator Protection
Generator Phase faults
Generator Phase to Ground Faults
Generator Back-up Protection
Generator Protection against System Disturbance
The objective of this paper is to review the types of faults that can occur
on generators and discuss the various protection schemes that are used on
both small and large units. This helps in under standing overall concepts and
apply them to day-to-day work activities. The trends in Generator protection
are discussed.
1.0 The Generator
Generators are built in an extremely wide range of sizes, depending
very much upon the application and the particular type of prime mover.
Typical ratings are as follows:
Diesel generator - 500 KVA - 5MVA
Gas turbine generator - 10 - 150MVA
Industrial steam turbine generator - 15 - 50MVA
Utility steam turbine generator - 100 - 500MVA
Utility hydro turbine generator - 50 - 300MVA
When considering protection of the generator, the prime mover must
always be included. For example, in response to a winding failure in the
generator, it would not be sufficient just to trip out the main breaker and
disconnect the unit from the electrical system. We would also need to trip the
stop valves and shut down the prime mover, so as to prevent further damage.
Similarly, if a problem occurs within the prime mover, which
necessitates tripping the unit, inter trips must be provided to trip generator
breaker as well. When the generator is tripped from the system, its excitation
must also be de-energized by tripping the field breaker or equivalent.
Small generators are generally connected to the system through a circuit
breaker directly to a common bus as shown in Fig. A-1. Several other
generators may also be connected to the same bus. The bus feeds the power
system and also supplies the station transformer which provides power for the
station auxiliaries. A fault occurring internally on any particular generator
should be detected by its protection system and this will cause its specific
breaker to open and its own excitation system de-energize. The remaining
generators should remain on line.
Fig A1: Connecting Small Generators to the System:
Fig A2: Large Generator Connected to System
On large generators the terminal voltage, which may be, say, 13.8 to25
KV, is stepped-up by its own unit transformer before feeding into the bus (Fig.
A-2). The generator breaker is located after unit transformer.
The unit auxiliaries are fed from the unit station service transformer,
which is also connected directly to the generator terminals. The unit auxiliary
bus has an alternative feed from general station service transformer, as the
unit auxiliaries to be energized during start-up.
In the case of an internal fault developing inside the generator, the main
circuit breaker and also the unit auxiliary circuit breaker must be opened so as
to completely isolate the generator. It is normal to provide a throw-over
arrangement, so that the general service breaker will be closed automatically
to continue feed the auxiliaries.
The three separate phase windings of the generator are located around the
stator to provide the correct angular phase displacement.
Both ends of each phase winding are brought to a common terminal in
order that the phase windings can be connected in either delta or wye,
according to system voltage requirements. Fig. A3 shows the wye connection,
and also the common diagrammatic representation.
Fig A3: Generator Windings connected in wye
Fig A4: Generator windings connected in Delta
Similarly, Fig. A-4 shows the delta connection. Obviously, with the delta
arrangement, there can be no common neutral and, therefore, no connection
to ground.
Certain defects can arise on the generator which are mechanical in
nature such as:
1) Bearing problems;
2) Lube oil problems;
3) Vibration;
4) Hydrogen cooling system problems;
5) High winding temperature (perhaps due to partial insulation failure)
6) Prime mover failures.
Normally, all of these items are continuously monitored by appropriate
measuring devices, and attention is drawn to abnormal conditions by alarms
and Annunciators. In extreme cases, tripping may be initiated.
Most internal electrical faults in generators are caused by failure of the
insulation in the stator winding. This results in a phase-phase short circuit or
phase-to-ground fault. An arc will rapidly develop with consequent heavy
damage to the stator windings the problem area and also to the stator
laminations. It is essential that the generator be isolated from the system
immediately and the prime mover stopped as soon as possible.
Another type of internal fault is the ground fault on the rotor, that is, the
field windings. The rotor operates at a relatively low DC voltage -- about 500 to
600 Volts -- compared with the stator winding voltage of, say, 15 KV or more.
Moreover, the rotor winding is ungrounded, so there is no path for flow of
ground fault current. For this reason a ground fault on the rotor will not call
immediate tripping, but rather require the scheduling of a convenient outage for
inspection of the generator.
Yet another internal fault could be the failure of excitation altogether. This
could provide a serious upset to the power system as it attempts to supply the
excitation current through the stator .windings. This subject is discussed in
more detail in later segments.
Other generator problems may be due to system conditions such as:
a) Excessive stator current (i.e. overload). This results in overheating
of the stator windings.
b) Over voltage, which may damage insulation.
c) Under frequency, which may damage the turbine blades, due to
d) Motoring of the generator due to loss of the prime mover. This could
result in overheating and consequent damage of the low pressure
turbine blades.
e) Unbalanced currents in the generator stator due to serious system
unbalance. This will cause overheating of the generator rotor, due
to negative sequence components.
f) Loss of synchronism. If the unit tails out of step with the system, this
could cause the rotor to slip a pole.
g) Closing the generator breaker with the generator out of phase with
the system. This could cause serious mechanical damage to the
generator windings and the turbine.
2.0 Generator Phase Faults
For protection against phase-to-phase faults, differential schemes are
normally installed.
In small generators, one simple way of achieving this is by installing
Toroidal CT’s at the terminals as shown in Fig. B-1.
Fig B-1: Use of Toroidal CTs
On large generators, it is physically impossible to pass both conductors
through the window in the Toroidal CT. Therefore, separate CT’s are installed
at each end of the winding. CT’ s are normally installed in all six terminal
Fig B-2: Wye Connected Generator – Differential Protection
Fig B-2 shows a typical differential protection arrangement for wye
connected generator. Note the polarity of the CT connections. This is vital to
ensure the correct direction of current flow in the CT secondaries. When there
is no fault, and thus no out of balance, no current flows through the operating
coils. On the other hand, if a fault occurs, say, between windings A and B,
then an out of balance will occur and cause relays A and B to operate.
If generator is delta connected, then the differential CT’s are connected
as shown in Fig. B-3. Note that the outboard CT’s are connected in wye. This
is important to the operation of the relay. When no fault exists, the sum of the
secondary currents IA,IB and IC is equal to zero, and therefore no current
flows in the Neutral . If a fault does occur in the generator, phase currents will
be out of balance and current will flow in the neutral, thus operating the relay.
On large generators a split winding is sometimes employed as shown in
fig. B-4. Differential protection is provided across the generator in the
conventional way, but this will be unable to detect insulation failure between
turns in the same phase.
Fig B-3: Delta Connected Generator – Differential Protection
Fig B-4: Differential Protection for a Generator with Split Windings

As shown, additional differential protection may be installed if additional
CT’s are available in one of the halves of each phase winding. Operation of
this relay may be connected to provide an alarm to the operator, instead of
tripping the unit. This then provides time to arrange an outage to inspect the
unit. Fig. B-5 shows the single line diagram for differential generator
Fig. B-5 The single line diagram for differential generator protection.
The generator terminals are solidly connected to the primary of the unit
transformer, so the generator must also be tripped in the event of a
transformer fault. Often separate differential protection is installed across the
transformer (87 T in this case). Also separate differential protection (87 ST) is
connected across the unit service transformer.
In addition, unit differential protection is provided by linking CT’s across
all three items of equipment. Operation of any one of these differential circuits
will trip the main breaker, the auxiliary breaker, the field breaker, and the prime
For a small generator which is connected directly to the bus, the
arrangement is shown in Fig. B-6. The 87G differential relay is connected
across the generator and includes the generator breaker. The outboard CT’s
are usually located in the breaker bushings.
Fig B-6: Small Generator Differential Protection
3.0 Generator Phase To Ground Faults
Large generators are normally grounded through a high impedance in
order to limit the value of fault current to under 10 amps. This limits the
amount of internal damage that can be caused in the generator by the flow of
fault current. As shown in Fig. C-1, ground fault current will flow in the
generator neutral, and a CT may be connected into the neutral to measure this
flow of current. The CT secondary will be connected to a time over current
ground relay(51G).
Figure C1 : Generator Ground Fault Protection
Fig-C-2 shows the more commonly used protection, an inverse time over
voltage relay (59G). It is set to pickup at about 10 volts. In this arrangement,
instead of a resistance, the impedance in the neutral is provided by a
transformer, the secondary of which is connected to the 59G relay. A
grounding resistor is connected in the secondary circuit. It is sized so as to
limit the magnitude of fault current flowing through the neutral to 10 amps or
The 59G relay will operate for ground faults occurring in
1. The generator;
2. The primary of the unit step-up transformer;
3. The primary of the unit station service transformer; and
4. The interconnections.
The time delay of the 59G relay must be set to co-ordinate with other
protection relays on the system.
A CT is sometimes installed in the secondary circuit, to operate an
instantaneous over current relay (50G) and provide back-up for over voltage
Third harmonic components are present in the generators output due to
the generator’s construction and due to systems loads. The ground fault relays
must be isolated from third harmonic component so as to prevent inadvertent
tripping. This is usually achieved by a tuned circuit in the relay itself which
blocks these components.
In contrast to this, we may often encounter, connected in parallel with
the 59G, an under voltage relay (27G) which only responds to third harmonic
currents and voltage. Under normal operation, where third harmonic voltage is
present, this relay does not operate (remember, it is an under voltage relay).
However, if a ground fault occurs in the generator windings close to the
neutral, then these third harmonic components will be short circuited and the
corresponding third harmonic voltage will be considerably reduced, causing
operation of the relay. Another arrangement uses a 59D relay to measure the
distribution of third harmonics at the terminal.
The addition of the third harmonic relays helps to protect the first 10 - 15
% of the winding generator. This is necessary, because the effect of the
impedance in the generator neutral may leave about 10 per cent of the
winding unprotected.
Figure C2: Generator Ground Fault Protection
Fig-C3 shows several generators connected to the same bus, with one
single common grounding connection connected on the bus. If any particular
generator is out of service, or if it is tripped, there will still be a ground for the
remaining generators

Figure C3: Generators with common Ground
In order to provide selectivity, a ground differential relay (87GD) is
installed on each generator. The (87GD) has two operating coils: one feeds
from the differential CT’s of its particular generator and the other feeds from
the common neutral CT.
The differential component acts as a permissive for the neutral
component. It will block tripping of the generator when the fault is external, but
will assist tripping for internal faults.
4.0 Generator Back-Up Protection
Fig.D-1 shows a typical back—up protection scheme for a small
generator. The 87G differential relay is connected across the generator, and
ground protection is provided by the ground differential (87GD). Back-up
protection is provided by a negative sequence relay (46), a voltage restraint
over current relay (51V), a reverse power relay (32), a loss of field relay (40)
and a ground over current relay (51G).
With phase-to-phase fault conditions, the system imbalance creates
negative sequence voltage and current. If the primary protection fails to
operate, the negative sequence relay will register the continued presence of
negative sequence components and trip the generator accordingly. Hence it
acts as a back up to the primary protection.
Figure D1: Small Generator Backup Protection
But the negative sequence relay also has a primary function, which is to
prevent overheating of the generator rotor in the event of prolonged out-of-
balance operation. The generator designer specifies the negative sequence
limit for each particular generator, as shown in Fig. D-2. The limit is expressed

t , where I
= negative sequence current and t = time in sec.
Figure D2: Generator Negative Sequence Current Limit
A lower negative phase sequence current can be tolerated for a much
longer time period. On large modern generators the value “K” is between 10
and 20.
The 51V is a time over-current relay with voltage restraint (or voltage
control) that operates as a back-up for the differential relay in the case of an
internal fault in the generator. In order to make this relay selective, we must
take advantage of fact that, when an internal fault occurs in the generator, the
terminal voltage falls.
When voltage is normal on the system, the voltage restraint element
prevents operation of the time over current relay. Conversely, when the
voltage falls, typically below 80 per cent of normal, then the voltage restraint is
lifted and the relay will operate in case of over current. Sustained three phase
to ground fault current on the generator is actually less than the maximum load
current due to the high value of generator synchronous reactance and the
high neutral earthing impedance. The current element of this relay will
probably be set to a value, which is less than normal rated current, but, of
course, operation will be blocked as long as the voltage is normal.
Another back-up relay typically installed on small generators is the
reverse power relay (32). This relay will operate when power flows into the
generator, attempting to drive it as a motor. This situation can cause serious
overheating and damage to the turbine low-pressure blades.
Fig D-3 shows back-up protection for a large generator. For clarity, the
primary protection is not shown. Included are: a negative sequence current
relay (46), a loss of field relay (40), and a time over current relay with voltage
restraint (51V). Quite often, the 51V relay is replaced by a distance relay (21),
which is set to reach through the generator and the unit step-up transformer in
to the system. As this is a back-up relay, a timer is included to allow co-
ordination with the other relays.
Figure D3: Large Generator Backup Protection
A special problem that may occur with the large unit
generator is flash over of one breaker pole. This can occur where the
generator, through the breaker, is connected to a long high voltage line open
at the far end, with resultant high capacitance and high voltage as shown in
Fig. D-4. When the breaker is opened at no load, one phase may flashover
and maintain capacitive current flow out of the Generator. Serious
overheating could occur in the stator iron, due to the capacitive current, and
also in the rotor due to the high negative sequence components.
The negative sequence current relay may not respond quickly enough to
prevent damage. Usually a “breaker pole failure” relay (device 61) is installed
(see Fig. D-3) where, the system configuration makes this type of failure
possible. When the relay operates it de-energizes the excitation circuit of the
Figure D4 : Breaker Failure
5.0 Generator Protection Against System Disturbances
As the generator is synchronized to the power system, it is responsive
to disturbances, which occur on the system. As shown in Fig. E-1, certain
protective devices are installed to protect against these conditions. One typical
example is that of frequency. Large steam turbines are designed to operate
within a very narrow range of speed i.e. between 49.5 And 50.5 Hertz.
“High” frequency can occur as a result of load rejection, perhaps as a
consequence of tripping transmission lines or load feeders. However the
turbine governor will normally control the turbine speed and maintain
frequency close to normal. In case the governor loses control, the turbine is
fitted with an over speed trip, which is set to operate at 110 per cent, say, 55
“LOW” frequency can occur as a result of system overload. If the
turbine generator operates below 49.5 Hertz, serious vibration and consequent
damage may occur to the large, low pressure turbine blades. The turbine is
permitted to operate at low frequency only for very short periods of time
48.5 - 49.5 Hz - 60 minutes accumulated
46 - 48.5 - 10 minutes accumulated
A frequency relay (81) is installed to alarm or trip.
In practice, in a large interconnected power system, the frequency
rarely falls outside normal limits. However, such an extreme situation can
occur, if the power system becomes disconnected into separate areas or
islands, so that each generator or group of generators is supplying its own
block of load. In some areas we will have too much generation available,
hence the frequency will initially rise. In other areas there will be insufficient
generation and if load shedding is not rapidly initiated, the generator will
become overloaded. The consequences will be:
1) a fall in frequency;
2) a fall in voltage;
3) a rise in stator current.
The voltage regulator will increase excitation on the generator in order
to maintain line voltage, and this may lead to overheating in the rotor. To
protect the rotor, over current protection is sometimes installed in the
excitation circuit. This relay is set to alarm the operator.
The stator winding may be protected from overheating by the
installation of an extremely inverse time over current relay (50/51) set to
operate just before the stator winding short time thermal limit is reached. To
prevent this relay operating during normal operation, a combined
instantaneous element is usually connected as a permissive for the time over
current contacts. This will prevent operation of the unit below 115 per cent of
normal maximum rated current.
Fig E-1: Generator Protection Against System Disturbances
During a cold start-up, several hours are required to bring a steam
turbine generator unit up to speed. During this low speed period the generator
voltage at this low frequency may be high enough to overexcite the main
transformer primary. To avoid this problem, an over voltage relay (59F) may
be installed to compare voltage and frequency; this is known as a volts-hertz
relay. This relay will operate at about 115% of rated voltage when frequency
normal. At low frequency the voltage trip point will be proportionally lower. This
relay will also protect the stator insulation against over voltage at normal
Protection against closing the breaker out of phase is provided by
connecting a directional time over current relay (67). When power flows into
the generator, this relay will operate and trip.
Another type of relay, which is often installed, is a synchronizing relay.
This type will not allow the breaker to close unless the phase angle is within a
determined range (usually 10 degrees either side of synchronism).
Operation of the generator is subject to the following limits:
1) Minimum excitation;
2) Overheating of the stator winding due to overload; and
3) Overheating of the rotor winding due to excessive excitation current.
The limits of generator operation are indicated by the unit’s capability
curve. A typical unit’s curve is shown in Fig. E-2. This shows the combination
of megawatts and mega vars that can be produced by the generator at
different power factors. Positive vars are vars supplied by the generator.
Negative vars are fed into the generator from the power system.
We cannot maintain the same MVA at lower power factor, due to the
temperature limit of the rotor winding. The capability of the generator is
reduced at low lagging power factor.
Fig E-2: Generator Capability Curve of a 180 MW unit
On the leading power factor side, very low excitation current may cause
the rotor to fall out of step, due to loss of magnetic torque. This is the steady-
state stability limit. There is yet another limit beyond this -- the overheating of
stator iron --which results from excessive flow of capacitive currents. Usually
the excitation system is fitted with a limiting device to prevent reduction of
excitation to a dangerous level.
What would happen if the generator suffered a complete loss of field
perhaps due to a defect in the excitation circuit? In this situation, remember,
the generator is still connected to the power system, and is still delivering
megawatts because it is still being driven by its prime mover. However, it will
no longer supply vars. On the contrary, it will draw vars from the system in
order to maintain excitation. The power factor will move to, say, 0.5 leading.
So the generator will continue running and producing power as an induction
generator. However, this will probably lead to low voltage at the generator
terminals, and, more importantly, serious overheating will occur in the stator
iron. If the field cannot be restored promptly, the unit should be shutdown. The
loss of field relay (40) may be used for alarm or to initiate tripping of the unit.
Earlier loss of field relays worked by measuring current in the ‘Excitation
circuit. When this fell below a pre-set level, the relay operated after a time
Nowadays, loss of field is detected by measurement on the generator
high voltage side. One method is to use a megavar meter set to operate when
the imported (that is negative) megavars reach a high level, implying that the
unit is operating as an induction generator.
A more common method is to install an impedance relay. which
compares the state of voltage and current. The impedance characteristic is
shown in Fig. E-3.
Fig E-3: Loss of Field Impedance Relay Characteristic
Ground detection equipment, Fig. E—4, is usually installed to respond
to a ground fault on the rotor or excitation system. As the excitation system is
not normally connected to ground at any point, a ground fault does not require
immediate tripping of the unit. However, it is advisable to arrange an outage of
the unit for inspection as soon as possible. This will avoid damage which could
happen it a second ground occurs.
Fig E-4: Rotor Ground Fault Detection
21 Distance relay. Backup for system and generator zone phase faults
24 Volts/Hz protection for generator over-excitation
32 Reverse power relay. Anti-motoring protection
40 Loss- of-field protection
46 Negative sequence unbalance current protection for the generator
49 Stator Thermal protection
51GN Time overcurrent ground relay
51TN Backup for ground faults
51V Voltage-controlled or voltage-restrained time overcurrent relay.
Backup for system and generator phase faults
59 Over-voltage protection
59GN Over-voltage relay. Stator ground fault protection for a generator
60 Voltage balance relay. Detection of blown voltage transformer fuses
63 Transformer Fault Pressure Relay
62B Breaker Failure timer
64F Field ground fault protection
71 Transformer oil or gas level
78 Loss-of-synchronism protection
81 Frequency relay. Both under-frequency and over-frequency
86 Hand-reset lockout auxiliary relay
87G Differential relay. Primary phase-fault protection for the generator
87N Stator ground fault differential protection
87T Differential relay. Primary protection for the transformer
87U Differential relay for overall generator and transformer protection
Fig E-5: Protection Schemes for Typical Unit Generator Transformer
Conclusion: This paper discussed regarding the schemes and trends in
Generator protection
No. Topic
Types of Transformers
Protection Philosophy
Protection of Small Transformers
Protection of Medium Size Transformers
Protection of Large Size Transformers
Monitoring of E/F in Ungrounded Transformers
Power Management Concept
Grid Islanding and Load Shedding
Advantages of Numerical Relays in Transformer Protection
1.0 General
Transformers are the most important main equipment in any Power
Transmission & Distribution network. The performance of the transformers
depends upon how well they are maintained & protected against all possible
fault conditions that can arise in the installation, in the network and the
ambient environment.
The following sections describe the role of Protective relays in assuring
the satisfactory performance of transformers both from fault clearance and
maintenance point of views.
2.0 Types of Transformers
Transformers in a power system can be divided into three major categories:
Small size transformers, less than 1 MVA size.
These are used mostly at the distribution end with
11kV/415V ratings.
Medium size transformers ( 1 MVA to 10 MVA) :
these are used in secondary sub-stations of state
utilities and plant incomers. Voltage ratings on the
primary side can vary from 220 kV to 33 kV. The
secondary side voltages can vary from 33 kV to 3.3
Large size transformers (above 10MVA):
These are used in primary substations of state
utilities, incomers of large industries ( like
cement plants, fertilizer plants etc). The
primary voltages can be either 400 kV or 220
kV. Secondary voltages can vary from 110 kV
to 33 kV. Many of these may have three
Apart from the above one may come across special types of transformers
like rectifier transformers, reactors etc.
Management of sub-stations with large transformers, from a remote location
is becoming a major activity. This function is now being integrated into the
protection system of transformers.
3.0 Protection Philosophy
The type and extent of protection for for transformers depends upon :
a) the size and importance of duty performed
b) the location of the transformer in the power system
Transformers are two winding machines- hence they will need two sets of
protections – one on the primary side and the other on the secondary side.
Transformers have to be protected both for external faults ( faults occurring
outside the terminals of the transformer) as well as the Internal faults ( faults
occurring within the transformer).
Normal over current + Earth fault relays are adequate for protection against
external faults. Special relays like differential and REF relays are required
for protection against internal faults. Sections 4,5 &6 explain the types of
faults, method of protections for each fault, recommended types of relays
Apart from fault conditions, which are severe abnormalities in electrical
parameters, there are three major killers of transformers in the present day
transmission system. These are :
a) Over load conditions : These produce excessive heat
which causes rise in operation temperature. Every 10 degree
rise in temperature ( beyond the withstand limit specified) results
in 50% reduction in life of transformer insulation.
b) Single phasing conditions : There are increasing
incidences of single phasing in transformers . The main reasons
are poor maintenance of transmission lines and circuit breakers.
c) Unbalanced loads : Any unbalance in the three phase currents
of a transformer will cause over heating , even if the currents are
within rated values. Certain level of unbalance can be tolerated
by transformer design – however we have to worry about
unbalances more than 20%. Large unbalances can cause
neutral shift , which may be harmful to end users. If excessive
neutral shift takes place, there can be flashover in sub-station.
These three conditions are on the rise in many substations – including
some of the industrial plants. Necessary care has to be incorporated in the
protection systems to handle these situations.
4.0 Protection of Small Transformers (Less than 1MVA)
The following figures show the SLD and the list of protections.
minimum protections are envisaged – since economy of
protections is the
major factor in deciding the extent of protection.
a) Low set Over Current Protection (51) : Used to protect
the transformer from over currents in Py and Sy side. Pick levels
are normally around 140% to 150%. Normal Inverse IDMT
characteristics are followed for trip time.
b) Highset Over current Protection (50) : Used to protect
from high level fault currents of the order of 300% and above.
Always instantaneous trip.
Primary Side :
50 Over Current (Instantaneous)
50N Earth Fault (Instantaneous)
51 Over Current ( IDMT)
51N Earth Fault (IDMT)
27 Under Voltage
59 Over Voltage
Secondary Side :
50 Over Current (Instantaneous)
50N Earth Fault (Instantaneous)
51 Over Current ( IDMT)
51N Earth Fault (IDMT)
27 Under Voltage
59 Over Voltage
64 Restricted Earth Fault
c) Under Voltage protection (27) : This is a bus level
protection – pick up levels are normally 85% and below.
d) Over voltage protection (59) : This is a bus level
protection – pick up levels are around 110%.
e) Restricted Earth fault protection (64) : Normally provide
on the star connected side – for protection transformer from
internal faults.
5.0 Protection of Medium Size Transformers (1 To 10 MVA)
Please refer the SLD and the list of protections, shown below:
Since the transformer is handling a higher power and it is in a key location
like the incomer of a substation or an industry, following additional
protections are advised.
a) Thermal Overload protection (49) : Let us consider a
case where a normal over current relay with pick up level of
140% is used. It should be noted that the transformer is in the
over load region between 105% to 140%. If the load is around
135%, the O/C relay will not protect – but the transformer will get
hot and loose its life. Thermal overload protection will help in this
It is also beneficial to monitor the overload conditions in
the winding and the core separately. The copper portion will get
hot faster – for a given overload current, trip time will have to be
faster than that for iron core.
b) Current Unbalance protection (46) : This will protect
transformers against heavy unbalances. In case of unbalance
currents, the negative sequence component will increase –
resulting in over heating of transformers. It is advisable to have
two levels of unbalance protection – one for alarm and other for
d) I
T Protection : This protection is very useful for rectifier
transformers – where the currents will be fluctuating . In this case
the energy dissipated for given over current condition is set as
trip limit. If this energy level is exceeded, the transformer is
tripped earlier than the IDMT over current trip for the same value.
6.0 Protection of Large Size Transformers (Above 10 MVA)
What we are talking about here are very large bulk power handling
transformers where the criticalities are very high. Consequently more
protections , than those listed in section 5 above, are envisaged.
The extra protections are in the form of differential and over fluxing
protections which are mainly internal faults.
Primary Side :
50 Over current (Instantaneous)
51 Over Current (IDMT)
50N Earth Fault (Instantaneous)
51N Earth Fault (IDMT)
49 Thermal Over Load
46 Current Unbalance
T Inrush energy
27 Under Voltage
59 Over Voltage
Secondary Side:
50 Over current (Instantaneous)
51 Over Current (IDMT)
50N Earth Fault (Instantaneous)
51N Earth Fault (IDMT)
64 Restricted Earth Fault
a) Differential Protection (87) :
This is one of the major protections for large transformers. This protects the
transformers whenever there is an internal fault . As shown in the SLD, this
protection needs two additional sets of CTs, which are perfectly matched
and have adequate knee point voltage to drive a relay measuring circuit. It
should be noted that:
- a differential relay should trip only for an internal fault
- a differential relay should never trip for an external/through fault.
For this reason a percentage biased relay, with dual slope facility will be the
best choice. This will have a very good through fault stability.
It may so happen that a differential relay can trip whenever the
transformer is switched on. This is due to the magnetizing inrush current
flowing only in primary side of the transformer. To avoid this , the relay
should have a second harmonic restraint facility. Similarly a 5
restraint facility in the relay will help avoiding a differential trip during
temporary over fluxing conditions.
Primary Side :
50 Over current (Instantaneous)
51 Over Current (IDMT)
50N Earth Fault (Instantaneous)
51N Earth Fault (IDMT)
49 Thermal Over Load
46 Current Unbalance
T Inrush energy
27 Under Voltage
59 Over Voltage
24 Over Fluxing
47V Voltage unbalance
Secondary Side:
50 Over current (Instantaneous)
51 Over Current (IDMT)
50N Earth Fault (Instantaneous)
51N Earth Fault (IDMT)
64 Restricted Earth Fault
Combined protection:
b) Voltage unbalance protection (47V) : Voltage unbalance in large
transformers are good indication of a grid disturbance. Can be used as an
alarm .
c) Over fluxing protection (24) : This is to monitor the flux levels
inside the large transformer. If the per unit ratio of V/Hz goes beyond a
value 1.05, the transformer will go into an over fluxing condition – this will
cause over heating even when the currents are within limits. Hence the
need to monitor separately.
7.0 Monitoring of E/F in ungrounded transformers
In case of transformers, predominantly medium size, there can be
installations where the neutral is grounded through an impedance or high
resistance. In this when an earth fault occurs, normal E/F relays will not
work – since the required relay operating current will not flow in the ground
path. Consequently, a different method has to be adopted - monitoring the
zero sequence voltage . The zero sequence voltage is a good indication of
a neutral shift, which happens when there is an earth fault.
There are two schemes for monitoring the neutral shift –
a) use an open delta transformer + a low cost voltage relay.
In this case the open delta transformer may become expensive.
b) use normal star connected bus PT – but with a relay
which calculates zero sequence voltage by numerical methods.
8.0 Power Management Concept
One of the main concerns of power transmission is the poor power factor
conditions at the HT level. Many substations are resorting to adding HT
capacitor banks for improving the pF – particularly at 33kV and 11 kV
levels. Special relays like Capacitor bank protection relays, Reactive power
measuring relays, Voltage & PF monitoring relays will be required here.
9.0 Grid Islanding & Load Shedding
This requirement is very important to keep power transmission stable,
within a specified area where there is a reasonable power generation
available, when there is a large scale grid disturbance. In this case the
entire grid , under disturbed conditions, is islanded into small networks
so that the smaller networks can continue with power availability with
their own generation capacities. This way total collapse is avoided.
The key parameters for detecting grid disturbances are:
- rate of change of frequency (dF/dT)
- Over / Under voltage
- Over / Under Frequency
- Heavy fault current which flows from the substation to grid
- reverse power flow from substation to grid
- large unbalance in grid voltage
- Vector shift in grid voltage
It is advisable to have a protection scheme to monitor all the above
parameters – particularly for a transformer close to a generating station.
It will help in islanding the power station from grid disturbances.
10.0 Advantages of Numerical Relays in Transformer Protection
It has been a practice to use electro-mechanical / solid state relays
relays for all above protections. The present trend is to use Numerical
relays which offer many advantages as shown in the following table,
over the earlier technology.
The usual worry that Numerical relays are very expensive is now
removed- continuous production improvement techniques have made
numerical relay affordable – some times cheaper from the over all
protection perspective. Above all, with features listed as above,
Numerical relays are more user friendly and are gaining popularity
every where.
11.0 Conclusion
Transformer protection plays a major role in ensuring consistent power
transmission and distribution. This paper is a brief attempt to bring out
the various protections required for transformers. The protections are
based on size and location. Numerical relays offer better solutions for
transformer protection.
No. Topic
Bus Bar protection
Protection by Back-up Relays
Current Differential Relaying
Combined Power transformer and Bus Protection
Ring Bus Protection
Value of Bus Sectionalizing
Back up Protection for Bus Faults
Automatic Reclosing of Bus Breakers
Practices with regard to Circuit Breaker By-passing
Special protection Schemes
Frequency instability
Voltage Instability
Transient Angle Instability
A bus has no peculiar fault characteristics, and it would lend itself readily to
current-differential protection if its CT’s were suitable.
The earliest form of bus protection was provided by the relays of circuits over
current was supplied to a bus, at locations such as shown by the arrows on
Fig. 1. In other words, the bus was included within the back-up zone of these
relays. This method was relatively slow speed, and loads tapped from the lines
would be interrupted unnecessarily, but it was otherwise effective. Some
preferred this method to one in which the inadvertent operation of a single
relay would trip all the connections to the bus.
The principle of current-differential relaying has been described. Figure 3
shows its
application to a bus with four circuits. All the CTs have the same nominal ratio
and are interconnected in such a way that, for load current or for current
flowing to an external fault beyond the CTs of any circuits, no current should
flow through the relay coil, assuming that the CTs have no ratio or phase-
angle errors. However, the CTs in the faulty circuit may be so badly saturated
by the total fault current that they will have very large errors; the other CTs in
circuits carrying only a part of the total current may not saturate so much and,
hence, may be quite accurate. As a consequence, the differential relay may
get a very large current, and, unless the relay has a high enough pickup or a
long enough time delay or both, it will operate undesirably and cause all bus
breakers to be tripped.
The greatest and most troublesome cause of current-transformer saturation is
the transient- component of the short-circuit current. It is easy to determine if
the CTs in the faulty circuit will be badly saturated by a fault-current wave
having a d-c component, by using the following approximate formula:
As in differential relaying for generators and transformers, the principle of
percentage differential relaying is a great improvement over overcurrent relays
in a differential CT circuit. The problem of providing enough restraining circuits
has been largely solved by so called multi restraint relays. By judicious
grouping of circuits and by the use of two relays per phase where necessary,
sufficient restraining circuits can generally be provided.
Further improvement in selectivity is provided by the variable-percentage
characteristic, like that described in connection with generator protection; with
this characteristic, one should make sure that very high internal-fault currents
will not cause sufficient restraint to prevent tripping.
This type of relaying equipment is available with operating times of the order of
3 to 6 cycles (60-cycle basis). It is not suitable where high-speed operation is
As in current-differential relaying with overcurrent relays, the problem of
calculating the CT errors is very difficult. The use of percentage restraint and
the variable-percentage characteristic make the relay quite insensitive to the
effects of CT error. Nevertheless, it is recommended that each application be
referred to the manufacturer together with all the necessary data.
A disadvantage of this type of equipment is that all CT secondary leads must
be run to the relay panel.
Figure 9 shows a frequently encountered situation in which a circuit breaker is
omitted between a transformer bank and a low-voltage bus. If the low-voltage
bus supplies purely load circuits without any back-feed possible from
generating sources, the CT’s in all the load circuits may be paralleled and the
transformer-differential relay’s zone of protection may be extended to include
the bus.
Figure 10 shows two parallel high-voltage lines feeding a power-transformer
bus with no
circuit breaker between the transformer and the bus. As shown in the figure, a
three winding type of percentage-differential relay will provide good protection
for the bus and
the transformer. In Fig. 11, the two high-voltage lines are from different
stations and may constitute an interconnection between parts of a system.
Consequently, much higher load currents may flow through these circuits than
the rated load current of the power transformer. Therefore, the CT ratios in the
high-voltage circuits may have to be much higher than one would desire for
the most sensitive protection of the power transformer. And therefore, the
protective scheme of Fig. 10, though generally applicable, is not as sensitive
to transformer faults as the arrangement of Fig. 11. Bushing CT’s can
generally be added to most power transformers, but it is considerably less
expensive and less troublesome if the power transformers are purchased with
the two sets of CT’s already installed. It is almost axiomatic that, whenever
circuit breakers are to be omitted on the high-voltage side of power
transformers, two sets of bushing CT’s should be provided on the transformer
high voltage bushings. The arrangement of Fig. 11 can be extended to
accommodate more high-voltage lines or more power transformers, although,
as stated in Chapter 11, it is not considered good practice to omit high-voltage
breakers when two or more power transformer banks rated 5000 kVA or
higher are paralleled.
No separate relaying equipment is provided for a ring bus. Instead, the
equipments of the circuits connected to the bus include the bus within their
zones of
protection, as illustrated in Fig. 13. The relaying equipment of each circuit is
indicated by a box lettered to correspond to the protected circuit, and is
energized by the parallel connected CT’s in the branches that feed the circuit.
A separate voltage supply is required for the protective relays of each circuit.
Also, the CT ratios must be suitable for the largest magnitude of load current
that might flow around the ring, which might be too high for the desired
protection of a given circuit.
Although the design of busses does not fall in the category of bus relaying, it is
well to keep in mind that bus sectionalizing helps to minimize interference with
service when a bus fault occurs. For some busses, sectionalizing is an
essential feature of design if stability is to be maintained after a bus fault. With
bus sectionalizing, each bus section can be protected separately, and the
likelihood of a fault in one section interfering with the service of another
section is thereby minimized.
If one or more bus breakers fail to trip in the event of a bus fault, back-up
protection is provided by the relaying equipments at the far ends of the circuits
that continue to feed current directly to the fault.
Occasionally, relaying equipment is provided at a bus location for back-up
protection of adjoining circuits. This is done only when it is impossible to
provide the desired back-up protection in the conventional manner described
in Chapter 1. This matter is treated further under the subject of line protection.
A few installations of outdoor automatic substations, whose busses are not
employ automatic reclosing of the bus breakers. In at least one installation, a
single circuit connected to a generating source is first reclosed and, if it stays
in, the remaining, circuits are then reclosed all automatically. Somewhat the
same philosophy applies to outdoor open busses as to transmission lines,
namely, that many faults will be non-persisting if quickly cleared, and, hence,
that automatic reclosing will usually be successful. However, substations are
generally better protected against lightning than lines, and their exposure to
lightning is far less. Hence, one can expect that a larger percentage of bus
faults will be persisting.
Most users of bus-differential protection take the bus protective-relaying
completely out of service, either automatically or manually, and do not
substitute any other equipment for temporary protection, when circuit breakers
are to be by-passed for maintenance purposes or when any other abnormal
set-up is to be made. Of course, the bus still has time-delay protection
because the back-up equipment in the circuits connected to the bus should
function for bus faults. Others use a wide diversity of temporary forms of bus
Power systems have originally arisen as individual self-sufficient units, where
the power production matched the consumption. In a case of a severe failure,
a system collapse was unavoidable and meant a total blackout and
interruption of the supply for all customers. But the restoration of the whole
system and synchronisation of its generators were relatively easy thanks to
the small size of the system.
Power systems size and complexity have grown to satisfy a larger and larger
power demand. Phenomena, having a system/global nature, endangering a
normal operation of power systems have appeared, explicitly:
• Frequency Instability – is inability of a power system to maintain steady
frequency within the operating limits.
• Voltage Instability – is the inability of a power system to maintain steady
acceptable voltages at all buses in the system under normal operating
conditions and after being subjected to a disturbance. A system enters
a state of voltage instability when a disturbance, increase in load
demand, or change in system conditions causes a progressive and
uncontrollable drop in voltage. A system is voltage unstable if, for at
least one bus in the system, the bus voltage magnitude decreases as
the reactive power injection in the same bus is increased
• Transient Angular Instability (also called Generator’s Out-of-step) – is
the inability of the power system to maintain synchronism when
subjected to a severe transient disturbance. The resulting system
response involves large excursions of generator angles and is
influenced by the nonlinear power-angle relationship. Local mode of
Small-signal Angular Instability (also mentioned as Generator’s
Swinging or Power Oscillations) – is the inability of the power system to
maintain synchronism under small disturbances. Such disturbances
occur continually on the system because of small variations in loads
and generation. The disturbances are considered sufficiently small for
linearization of system equations to be permissible for purposes of
analysis. Local modes or machine-system modes are associated with
the swinging of units at a generating station with respect to the rest of
the power system. The term local is used because the oscillations are
localized at one station or small part of the power system.
With the rising importance of the electricity for industry (and the entire society),
the reliability of supply has become a serious issue. Interconnection of the
separated/individual power systems have offered a number of benefits, such
as sharing the reserves both for a normal operation and emergency
conditions, dividing of the responsibility for the frequency regulation among all
generators and a possibility to generate the power in the economically most
attractive areas, thus providing a good basis for the power trade. Although this
has reduced some negative features mentioned above, on the other hand it
has created even a new problem:
• Inter-area mode of Small-signal Angular Instability – inter-area modes are
associated with the swinging of many machines in one part of the system
against machines in other parts. They are caused by two or more groups of
closely coupled machines being interconnected by weak ties.
Nowadays, when environmental and other restrictions make building of new
power plants and transmission lines more difficult and utilities face continuous
grow of power demand and power market deregulation, power systems are
operated closer to their stability limits. When an abnormal condition/failure is
not eliminated but spread, it can lead to catastrophic scenarios If this happens,
an extremely complicated and complex restoration procedure must take place.
In the beginning, attempts to apply local protection devices have been made.
To mention some typical ones: under frequency relay, under voltage relay.
However, the character of the dangerous stresses mentioned above, is usually
global, not local. Therefore the protection systems, using data from more
locations as well as acting with a wide area orientation, have been proposed,
designed and in some cases installed to handle them. These are most often
referred as Special Protection Schemes (SPS) or sometimes System
Protection Schemes.
“… a protection scheme that is designed to detect a particular system
condition that is known to cause unusual stress to the power system
and to take some type of predetermined action to counteract the
observed condition in a controlled manner. In some cases, SPSs are
designed to detect a system condition that is known to cause instability,
overload, or voltage collapse. The action prescribed may require the
opening of one or more lines, tripping o generators, ramping of HVDC
power transfers, intentional shedding of load, or other measures that will
alleviate the problem of concern. Common types of line or apparatus
protection are not included in the scope of interest here.”
there are five states of operating conditions – Normal, Alert, Emergency, In
Extremis and Restorative. In case of highly reliable SPS with a good
performance, a normal power system operation could be shifted from the
Normal state to Alert state. This confidence in SPS would allow much better
utilization of existing assets (transmission lines etc.).

Arrows express possible transitions among them.
The four main design criteria, which should be used for SPS, are [CIGRE,
• Dependability – The certainty that the SPS operates when required,
that is, in all cases where emergency controls are required to avoid a
• Security – The certainty that the SPS will not operate when not
required, does not apply emergency controls unless they are
necessary to avoid a collapse.
• Selectivity – The ability to select the correct and minimum amount
action to perform the intended function, that is, to avoid using disruptive
controls such as load shedding if they are not necessary to avoid a
• Robustness – The ability of the SPS to provide dependability, security
and selectivity over the full range of dynamic and steady state
operating conditions that it will encounter.
Frequency Instability Keeping frequency within the nominal operating range
(ideally at nominal constant value) is essential for a proper operation of a
power system. A maximal acceptable frequency deviation (usually 2 Hz) is
dictated by an optimal setting of control circuits of thermal power plants. When
this boundary is reached, unit protection disconnects the power plant. This
makes situation even worse – frequency further decreases and it may finally
lead to the total collapse of the whole system. For the correction of small
deviations, Automatic Generation Control (AGC) is used and larger deviations
require so-called spinning reserves or fast start-up of generators. “When more
severe disturbances occur, e.g. loss of a station (all generating units), loss of a
major load centre or loss of AC or DC interconnection, emergency control
measures may be required to maintain frequency stability. Emergency control
measures may include:
• Tripping of generators
• Fast generation reduction through fast-valving or water diversion
• HVDC power transfer control
• Load shedding
• Controlled opening of interconnection to neighboring systems to
prevent spreading of frequency problems
• Controlled islanding of local system into separate areas with matching
generation and load” Common practice in utilities is that most of the
above actions are executed manually by a dispatcher/operator of the
Automatic local devices used for the load shedding are UFLS (Under
Frequency Load Shedding) relays. They are usually triggered when frequency
sinks to the predefined level and/or with a predefined rate of change. Their
action is disconnection of the load in several steps (5 - 20 % each) from the
feeders they supervise. However, their effective use is strongly dependent on
their careful tuning based on pre-studies, since there is no on-line coordination
between them. Another disadvantage is, that they can only react to the under
frequency, increase of frequency is not covered by them at all. In some cases
the impact of their operation may be negative, since they are not capable of
the adaptability to the present situation (e.g. production of
distributed/decentralized generation varies in time so quite often the
distribution voltage level feeders feed the energy back into the network. So
they don’t appear as loads and their disconnection makes situation even
The mentioned weakness of UFLS relays (in coordination) can be overcome
by centralized shedding schemes.
Voltage Instability
Voltage instability is basically caused by an unavailability of reactive power
support in some nodes of the network, where the voltage uncontrollably falls.
Lack of reactive power may essentially have two origins. Gradual increase of
power demand which reactive part cannot be met in some buses or sudden
change of a network topology redirecting the power flows such a way that a
reactive power cannot be delivered to some buses. The relation between the
active power consumed in the monitored area and the corresponding voltages
is expressed by so called PV-curves (often referred as “nose” curves). The
increased values of loading are accompanied by a decrease of voltage (except
a capacitive load). When the loading is further increased, the maximum
loadability point is reached, from which no additional power can be transmitted
to the load under those conditions. In case of constant power loads the voltage
in the node becomes uncontrollable and rapidly decreases. However, the
voltage level close to this point is sometimes very low, what is not acceptable
under normal operating conditions, although it is still within the stable region.
But in the emergency cases, some utilities accept it for a short period. There
are also other alternative graphical representations, e.g. QV-curves (amount of
needed reactive power to keep a certain voltage). The emergency stabilizing
actions which might be taken are in principle same as in case of the frequency
instability, plus:
• Change of the generator voltage set point
• Automatic shunt switching
• Control of series compensation
• Blocking of Tap Changer of transformers
• Fast re-dispatch of generation
Under voltage relays are a conventional local solution. The criterion triggering
the load shedding action is a predefined voltage level in the supervised node
Transient Angle Instability
In case of transient angle instability, a severe disturbance is a disturbance,
which does not allow a generator to deliver its output electrical power into the
network (typically a tripping of a line connecting the generator with the rest of
the network in order to clear a short circuit). This power is then absorbed by
the rotor of the generator, increases its kinetic energy what results in the
sudden acceleration of the rotor above the acceptable revolutions and
eventually damage of the generator. Therefore the measures taken against
this scenario aim mainly to either an intended dissipation of undelivered
• Braking resistor, FACTS devices etc., or reducing the mechanical
power driving the generator:
• fast-valving, disconnection of the generator etc.
No. Topic
Distance Protection Introduction
Principles of Distance Relays
Relay Performance
Relationship between Relay Voltage &ZS/ZL Ratio
Voltage Limit for Accurate Reach Point Measurement
Zones of Protection
Distance Relay Characteristics
Distance Relay Implementation
Effect of Source Impedance & Earthing Methods
Distance Relay Application Problems
Other Distance Relay Features
Distance Relay Application Examples
The problem of combining fast fault clearance with selective tripping of plant is
a key aim for the protection of power systems. To meet these requirements,
highspeed protection systems for transmission and primary distribution circuits
that are suitable for use with the automatic reclosure of circuit breakers are
under continuous development and are very widely applied. Distance
protection, in its basic form, is a non-unit system of protection offering
considerable economic and technical advantages. Unlike phase and neutral
overcurrent protection, the key advantage of distance protection is that its fault
coverage of the protected circuit is virtually independent of source impedance
variations. This is illustrated in Figure 1, where it can be seen that overcurrent
protection cannot be applied satisfactorily.
Fig. 1 Advantages of Distance Overcurrent Protection
This is illustrated in Figure 1, where it can be seen that overcurrent protection
cannot be applied satisfactorily. Distance protection is comparatively simple to
apply and it can be fast in operation for faults located along most of a
protected circuit. It can also provide both primary and remote back-up
functions in a single scheme. It can easily be adapted to create a unit
protection scheme when applied with a signaling channel. In this form it is
eminently suitable for application with high-speed autoreclosing, for the
protection of critical transmission lines.
Since the impedance of a line up to a predetermined point (the reach point).
Such a relay is described as a distance relay and is designed to operate only
for faults occurring between the relay location and the selected reach point,
thus giving discrimination for faults that may occur in different line sections.
The basic principle of distance protection involves the division of the voltage at
the relaying point by the measured current. The apparent impedance so
calculated is compared with the reach point impedance. If the measured
impedance is less than the reach point impedance, it is assumed that a fault
exists on the line between the relay and the reach point.
The reach point of a relay is the point along the line impedance locus that is
intersected by the boundary characteristic of the relay. Since this is dependent
on the ratio of voltage and current and the phase angle between them, it may
be plotted on an R/X diagram. The loci of power system impedances as seen
by the relay during faults, power swings and load variations may be plotted on
the same diagram and in this manner the performance of the relay in the
presence of system faults and disturbances may be studied.
Distance relay performance is defined in terms of reach accuracy and
operating time. Reach accuracy is a comparison of the actual ohmic reach of
the relay under practical conditions with the relay setting value in ohms. Reach
accuracy particularly depends on the level of voltage presented to the relay
under fault conditions. The impedance measuring techniques employed in
particular relay designs also have an impact.
Operating times can vary with fault current, with fault position relative to the
relay setting, and with the point on the voltage wave at which the fault occurs.
Depending on the measuring techniques employed in a particular relay design,
measuring signal transient errors, such as those produced by Capacitor
Voltage Transformers or saturating CT’s, can also adversely delay relay
operation for faults close to the reach point. It is usual for electromechanical
and static distance relays to claim both maximum and minimum operating
times. However, for modern digital or numerical distance relays, the variation
between these is small over a wide range of system operating conditions and
fault positions.
Electromechanical/Static Distance Relays
With electromechanical and earlier static relay designs, the magnitude of input
quantities particularly influenced both reach accuracy and operating time. It
was customary to present information on relay performance by voltage/reach
curves, as shown in Figure 2, and operating time/fault position curves for
various values of system impedance ratios (S.I.R.’s) as shown in Figure 3,
- system source impedance behind the relay location
- line impedance equivalent to relay reach setting
Figure 2: Typical impedance reach accuracy characteristics for Zone 1
Fig. 3 : Typical Operation time Characteristics for Zone 1 Phase-Phase
Alternatively, the above information was combined in a family of contour
curves, where the fault position expressed as a percentage of the relay setting
is plotted against the source to line impedance ratio, as llustrated in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Typical operation-time contours
Digital/Numerical Distance Relays
Digital/Numerical distance relays tend to have more consistent operating
times. They are usually slightly slower than some of the older relay designs
when operating under the best conditions, but their maximum operating times
are also less under adverse waveform conditions or for boundary fault
A single, generic, equivalent circuit, as shown in Figure 11.5(a), may represent
any fault condition in a three phase power system. The voltage V applied to
the impedance loop is the open circuit voltage of the power system. Point R
represents the relay location; IR and VR are the current and voltage measured
by the relay, respectively.
The impedances ZS and ZL are described as source and line impedances
because of their position with respect to the relay location. Source impedance
ZS is a measure of the fault level at the relaying point. For faults involving
earth it is dependent on the method of system earthing behind the relaying
point. Line impedance ZL is a measure of the impedance of the protected
section. The voltage VR applied to the relay is, therefore, IRZL. For a fault at
the reach point, this may be alternatively expressed in terms of source to line
impedance ratio ZS/ZL by means of the following expressions:
Equation 1
The above generic relationship between VR and ZS/ZL, illustrated in Figure
5(b), is valid for all types of short
circuits provided a few simple rules are observed. These are:
i) for phase faults, V is the phase-phase source voltage and ZS/ZL is the
positive sequence source to line impedance ratio. VR is the phase-phase
relay voltage and IR is the phase-phase relay current, for the faulted
Equation 2
ii) for earth faults, V is the phase-neutral source voltage and ZS/ZL is a
composite ratio involving the positive and zero sequence impedances.
VR is the phase-neutral relay voltage and IR is the relay current for the
faulted phase
Equation 3
Fig. 5 Relationship between Source to line Ratio and Relay Voltage
The ability of a distance relay to measure accurately for a reach point fault
depends on the minimum voltage at the relay location under this condition
being above a declared value. This voltage, which depends on the relay
design, can also be quoted in terms of an equivalent maximum Z
or S.I.R.
Distance relays are designed so that, provided the reach point voltage criterion
is met, any increased measuring errors for faults closer to the relay will not
prevent relay operation. Most modern relays are provided with healthy phase
voltage polarization and/or memory voltage polarization. The prime purpose of
the relay polarizing voltage is to ensure correct relay directional response for
close-up faults, in the forward or reverse direction, where the fault-loop voltage
measured by the relay may be very small.
Careful selection of the reach settings and tripping times for the various zones
of measurement enables correct coordination between distance relays on a
power system. Basic distance protection will comprise instantaneous
directional Zone 1 protection and one or more time delayed zones. Typical
reach and time settings for a 3-zone distance protection are shown in Figure 6.
Digital and numerical distance relays may have up to five zones, some set to
measure in the reverse direction. Typical settings for three forward-looking
zones of basic distance protection are given in the following sub-sections. To
determine the settings for a particular relay design or for a particular distance
teleprotection scheme, involving end-to-end signaling, the relay
manufacturer’s instructions should be referred to.
Zone 1 Setting
Electromechanical/static relays usually have a reach setting of up to 80% of
the protected line impedance for
instantaneous Zone 1 protection. For digital/numerical distance relays, settings
of up to 85% may be safe. The resulting 15-20% safety margin ensures that
there is no risk of the Zone 1 protection over-reaching the protected line due to
errors in the current and voltage transformers, inaccuracies in line impedance
data provided for setting purposes and errors of relay setting and
measurement. Otherwise, there would be a loss of discrimination with fast
operating protection on the following line section. Zone 2 of the distance
must cover the remaining 15-20% of the line.
Zone 2 Setting
To ensure full cover of the line with allowance for the sources of error already
listed in the previous section, the reach setting of the Zone 2 protection should
be at least 120% of the protected line impedance. In many applications it is
common practice to set the Zone 2 reach to be equal to the protected line
section +50% of the shortest adjacent line. Where possible, this ensures that
the resulting maximum effective Zone 2 reach does not extend beyond the
minimum effective Zone 1 reach of the adjacent line protection. This avoids
the need to grade the Zone 2 time settings between upstream and
downstream relays. In electromechanical and static relays, Zone 2 protection
is provided either by separate elements or by extending the reach of the Zone
1 elements after a time delay that is initiated by a fault detector. In most digital
and numerical relays, the Zone 2 elements are implemented in software.
Zone 2 tripping must be time-delayed to ensure grading with the primary
relaying applied to adjacent circuits that fall within the Zone 2 reach. Thus
complete coverage of a line section is obtained, with fast clearance of faults in
the first 80-85% of the line and somewhat slower clearance of faults in the
remaining section of the line.
Fig. 6 Typical time/distance characteristics for three zone distance
Zone 3 Setting
Remote back-up protection for all faults on adjacent lines can be provided by a
third zone of protection that
is time delayed to discriminate with Zone 2 protection plus circuit breaker trip
time for the adjacent line. Zone
3 reach should be set to at least 1.2 times the impedance presented to the
relay for a fault at the remote end of the second line section.
On interconnected power systems, the effect of fault current infeed at the
remote busbars will cause the impedance presented to the relay to be much
greater than the actual impedance to the fault and this needs to be taken into
account when setting Zone 3. In some systems, variations in the remote
busbar infeed can prevent the application of remote back-up Zone 3 protection
but on radial distribution systems with single end infeed, no difficulties should
Settings for Reverse Reach and Other Zones
Modern digital or numerical relays may have additional impedance zones that
can be utilized to provide additional protection functions. For example, where
the first three zones are set as above, Zone 4 might be used to provide back-
up protection for the local bus bar, by applying a reverse reach setting of the
order of 25% of the Zone 1 reach. Alternatively, one of the forward looking
zones (typically Zone 3) could be set with a small reverse offset reach from the
origin of the R/X diagram, in addition to its forward reach setting. An offset
impedance measurement characteristic is nondirectional. One advantage of a
non-directional zone of impedance measurement is that it is able to operate for
a close-up, zero-impedance fault, in situations where
there may be no healthy phase voltage signal or memory voltage signal
available to allow operation of a directional impedance zone. With the offset-
zone time delay bypassed, there can be provision of ‘Switch-on-to-Fault’
(SOTF) protection. This is required where there are line voltage transformers,
to provide fast tripping in the event of accidental line energisation with
maintenance earthing clamps left in position. Additional impedance zones may
be deployed as part of a distance protection scheme used in conjunction with
a teleprotection signaling channel.
Some numerical relays measure the absolute fault impedance and then
determine whether operation is required according to impedance boundaries
defined on the R/X diagram. Traditional distance relays and numerical relays
that emulate the impedance elements of traditional relays do not measure
absolute impedance. They compare the measured fault voltage with a replica
voltage derived from the fault current and the zone impedance setting to
determine whether the fault is within zone or out-of-zone. Distance relay
impedance comparators or algorithms which emulate traditional comparators
are classified according to their polar characteristics, the number of signal
inputs they have, and the method by which signal comparisons are made. The
common types compare either the relative amplitude or phase of two input
quantities to obtain operating characteristics that are either straight lines or
circles when plotted on an R/X diagram. At each stage of distance relay
design evolution, the development of impedance operating characteristic
shapes and sophistication has been governed by the technology available and
the acceptable cost. Since many traditional relays are still in service and since
some numerical relays emulate the techniques of the traditional relays, a brief
review of impedance comparators is justified.
7.1 Amplitude and Phase Comparison
Relay measuring elements whose functionality is based on the comparison of
two independent quantities are essentially either amplitude or phase
comparators. For the impedance elements of a distance relay, the quantities
being compared are the voltage and current measured by the relay. There are
numerous techniques available for performing the comparison, depending on
the technology used. They vary from balanced-beam (amplitude comparison)
and induction cup (phase comparison) electromagnetic relays, through diode
and operational amplifier comparators in static-type distance relays, to digital
sequence comparators in digital relays and to algorithms used in numerical
Any type of impedance characteristic obtainable with one comparator is also
obtainable with the other. The addition and subtraction of the signals for one
type of comparator produces the required signals to obtain a similar
characteristic using the other type. For example, comparing V and I in an
amplitude comparator results in a circular impedance characteristic centred at
the origin of the R/X diagram. If the sum and difference of V and I are applied
to the phase comparator the result is a similar characteristic.
7.2 Plain Impedance Characteristic
This characteristic takes no account of the phase angle between the current
and the voltage applied to it; for this reason its impedance characteristic when
plotted on an R/X diagram is a circle with its centre at the origin of the co-
ordinates and of radius equal to its setting in ohms. Operation occurs for all
impedance values less than the setting, that is, for all points within the circle.
The relay characteristic, shown in Figure 7, is therefore nondirectional, and in
this form would operate for all faults along the vector AL and also for all faults
behind the bus bars up to an impedance AM. It is to be noted that A is the
relaying point and RAB is the angle by which the fault current lags the relay
voltage for a fault on the line AB and RAC is the equivalent leading angle for a
fault on line AC. Vector AB represents the impedance in front of the relay
between the relaying point A and the end of line AB. Vector AC represents the
impedance of line AC behind the relaying point. AL represents the reach of
instantaneous Zone 1 protection, set to cover 80% to 85% of the protected
A relay using this characteristic has three important disadvantages:
i) it is non-directional; it will see faults both in front of and behind the relaying
point, and therefore requires a directional element to give it correct
ii) it has non-uniform fault resistance coverage
iii) it is susceptible to power swings and heavy loading of a long line, because
of the large area covered by the impedance circle
Figure 7: Plain impedance relay characteristic
Figure 8: Combined directional and impedance relays
Directional control is an essential discrimination quality for a distance relay, to
make the relay non-responsive to faults outside the protected line. This can be
obtained by the addition of a separate directional control element. The
impedance characteristic of a directional control element is a straight line on
the R/X diagram, so the combined characteristic of the directional and
impedance relays is the semi-circle APLQ shown in Figure 8.
If a fault occurs at F close to C on the parallel line CD, the directional unit RD
at A will restrain due to current IF1. At the same time, the impedance unit is
prevented from operating by the inhibiting output of unit RD. If this control is
not provided, the under impedance element could operate prior to circuit
breaker C opening. Reversal of current through the relay from IF1 to IF2 when
C opens could then result in incorrect tripping of the healthy line if the
directional unit RD operates before the impedance unit resets. This is an
example of the need to consider the proper co-ordination of multiple relay
elements to attain reliable relay performance during evolving fault conditions.
In older relay designs, the type of problem to be addressed was commonly
referred to as one of ‘contact race’.
7.3 Self-Polarised Mho Relay
The mho impedance element is generally known as such because its
characteristic is a straight line on an admittance diagram. It cleverly combines
the discriminating qualities of both reach control and directional control,
thereby eliminating the ‘contact race’ problems that may be encountered with
separate reach and directional control elements. This is achieved by the
addition of a polarising signal. Mho impedance elements
were particularly attractive for economic reasons where electromechanical
relay elements were employed. As a result, they have been widely deployed
worldwide for many years and their advantages and limitations are now well
understood. For this reason they are still emulated in the algorithms of some
modern numerical relays. The characteristic of a mho impedance element,
when plotted on an R/X diagram, is a circle whose circumference passes
through the origin, as illustrated in Figure 9(b). This demonstrates that the
impedance element is inherently directional and such that it will operate only
for faults in the forward direction along line AB. The impedance characteristic
is adjusted by setting Zn, the impedance reach, along the diameter and , the ϕ
angle of displacement of the diameter from the R axis. Angle is known as ϕ
the Relay Characteristic Angle (RCA). The relay operates for values of fault
impedance ZF within its characteristic.
It will be noted that the impedance reach varies with fault angle. As the line to
be protected is made up of resistance and inductance, its fault angle will be
dependent upon the relative values of R and X at the system operating
frequency. Under an arcing fault condition, or an earth fault involving additional
resistance, such as tower footing resistance or fault through vegetation, the
value of the resistive component of fault impedance will increase to change
the impedance angle. Thus a relay having a characteristic angle equivalent to
the line angle will under-reach under resistive fault conditions. It is usual,
therefore, to set the RCA less than the line angle, so that it is possible to
accept a small amount of fault resistance without causing under-reach.
However, when setting the relay, the difference between the line angle θ and
the relay characteristic angle must be known. The resulting characteristic is ϕ
shown in Figure 9(c) where AB corresponds to the length of the line to be
protected. With set less than θ, the actual amount of line protected, ϕ AB,
would be equal to the relay setting value AQ multiplied by cosine (θ- ). ϕ
Therefore the required relay setting AQ is given by:
Due to the physical nature of an arc, there is a non-linear relationship between
arc voltage and arc current, which results in a non-linear resistance. Using the
empirical formula derived by A.R. van C. Warrington, the approximate value
of arc resistance can be assessed as:
Ra = arc resistance (ohms)
L = length of arc (metres)
I = arc current (A)
On long overhead lines carried on steel towers with overhead earth wires the
effect of arc resistance can usually be neglected. The effect is most significant
on short overhead lines and with fault currents below 2000A (i.e. minimum
plant condition), or if the protected line is of wood-pole construction without
earth wires. In the latter case, the earth fault resistance reduces the effective
earth-fault reach of a mho Zone 1 element to such an extent that the majority
of faults are detected in Zone 2 time. This problem can usually be overcome
by using a relay with a cross-polarised mho or a polygonal characteristic.
Where a power system is resistance-earthed, it should be appreciated that this
does not need to be considered with regard to the relay settings other than the
effect that reduced fault current may have on the value of arc resistance seen.
The earthing resistance is in the source behind the relay and only modifies the
source angle and source to line impedance ratio for earth faults. It would
therefore be taken into account only when assessing relay performance in
terms of system impedance ratio.
Figure 9 : Mho Relay Characteristic
7.4 Offset Mho/Lenticular Characteristics
Under close up fault conditions, when the relay voltage falls to zero or near-
zero, a relay using a self-polarised mho characteristic or any other form of self-
polarised directional impedance characteristic may fail to operate when it is
required to do so. Methods of covering this condition include the use of non-
directional impedance characteristics, such as offset mho, offset lenticular, or
cross-polarised and memory polarised directional impedance characteristics. If
current bias is employed, the mho characteristic is shifted to embrace the
origin, so that the measuring element can operate for close-up faults in both
the forward and the reverse directions. The offset mho relay has two main
Figure 10: Typical applications for the offset mho relay
7.4.1 Third zone and busbar back-up zone
In this application it is used in conjunction with mho measuring units as a fault
detector and/or Zone 3 measuring unit. So, with the reverse reach arranged to
extend into the busbar zone, as shown in Figure 10(a), it will provide back-up
protection for busbar faults. This facility can also be provided with quadrilateral
characteristics. A further benefit of the Zone 3 application is for Switch-on-to-
Fault (SOTF) protection, where the Zone 3 time delay would be bypassed for a
short period immediately following line energisation to allow rapid clearance of
a fault anywhere along the protected line.
7.4.2 Carrier starting unit in distance schemes with carrier blocking
If the offset mho unit is used for starting carrier signaling, it is arranged as
shown in Figure 10(b). Carrier is transmitted if the fault is external to the
protected line but inside the reach of the offset mho relay, in order to prevent
accelerated tripping of the second or third zone relay at the remote station.
Transmission is prevented for internal faults by operation of the local mho
measuring units, which allows highspeed fault clearance by the local and
remote end circuit breakers.
7.4.3 Application of lenticular characteristic
There is a danger that the offset mho relay shown in Figure 10(a) may operate
under maximum load transfer conditions if Zone 3 of the relay has a large
reach setting. A large Zone 3 reach may be required to provide remote back-
up protection for faults on the adjacent feeder.
Figure 11: Minimum load impedance permitted with lenticular, offset
mho and impedance relays
To avoid this, a shaped type of characteristic may be used, where the
resistive coverage is restricted. With a ‘lenticular’ characteristic,
the aspect ratio of the lens is adjustable, enabling it to be set to
provide the maximum fault resistance coverage consistent with non-operation
under maximum load transfer conditions. Figure 11.11 shows how the
lenticular characteristic can tolerate much higher degrees of line loading than
offset mho and plain impedance characteristics. Reduction of load impedance
from ZD3 to ZD1 will correspond to an equivalent increase in load current.
7.5 Fully Cross-Polarised Mho Characteristic
The previous section showed how the non-directional offset mho characteristic
is inherently able to operate or close-up zero voltage faults, where there would
be no polarising voltage to allow operation of a plain mho directional element.
One way of ensuring correct mho element response for zero-voltage faults is
to add a percentage of voltage from the healthy phase(s) to the main
polarising voltage as a substitute phase reference. This technique is called
cross-polarising, and it has the advantage of preserving and indeed enhancing
the directional properties of the mho characteristic. By the use of a phase
voltage memory system, that provides several cycles of pre-fault voltage
reference during a fault, the cross-polarisation technique is also effective for
close-up three-phase faults. For this type of fault, no healthy phase voltage
reference is available.
Early memory systems were based on tuned, resonant, analogue circuits, but
problems occurred when applied to networks where the power system
operating frequency could vary. More modern digital or numerical systems can
offer a synchronous phase reference for variations in power system frequency
before or even during a fault.
As described in Section 7.3, a disadvantage of the self-polarised, plain mho
impedance characteristic, when applied to overhead line circuits with high
impedance angles, is that it has limited coverage of arc or fault resistance. The
problem is aggravated in the case of short lines, since the required Zone 1
ohmic setting is low. The amount of the resistive coverage offered by the mho
circle is directly related to the forward reach setting. Hence, the resulting
resistive coverage may be too small in relation to the expected values of fault
resistance. One additional benefit of applying cross-polarisation to a mho
impedance element is that its resistive coverage will be enhanced. This effect
is illustrated in Figure 12, for the case where a mho element has 100% a
cross-polarisation. With cross-polarisation from the healthy phase(s) or from a
memory system, the mho resistive expansion will occur during a balanced
three phase fault as well as for unbalanced faults. The expansion will not
occur under load conditions, when there is no phase shift between the
measured voltage and the polarising voltage. The degree of resistive reach
enhancement depends on the ratio of source impedance to relay reach
(impedance) setting as can be deduced by reference to Figure 13.
Figure 12: Fully cross-polarised mho relay characteristic with variations
of ZS/ZL ratio
Figure 13: Illustration of improvement in relay resistive coverage for fully
cross polarised characteristic
It must be emphasised that the apparent extension of a fully cross-polarised
impedance characteristic into the negative reactance quadrants of Figure 13
does not imply that there would be operation for reverse faults. With cross-
polarisation, the relay characteristic expands to encompass the origin of the
impedance diagram for forward faults only. For reverse faults, the effect is to
exclude the origin of the impedance diagram, thereby ensuring proper
directional responses for close-up forward or reverse faults.
Fully cross-polarised characteristics have now largely been superseded, due
to the tendency of comparators connected to healthy phases to operate under
heavy fault conditions on another phase. This is of no consequence in a
switched distance relay, where a single comparator is connected to the correct
fault loop impedance by starting units before measurement begins. However,
modern relays offer independent impedance measurement for each of the
three earth-fault and three phase-fault loops. For these types of relay,
maloperation of healthy phases is undesirable, especially when single pole
tripping is required for single-phase faults.
7.6 Partially Cross-Polarised Mho Characteristic
Where a reliable, independent method of faulted phase selection is not
provided, a modern non-switched
distance relay may only employ a relatively small percentage of cross
Figure 11.14: Partially cross-polarised characteristic with 'shield' shape
The level selected must be sufficient to provide reliable directional control in
the presence of CVT transients for close-up faults, and also attain reliable
faulted phase selection. By employing only partial cross-polarisation, the
disadvantages of the fully cross-polarised characteristic are avoided, while still
retaining the advantages. Figure 14 shows a typical characteristic that can be
obtained using this technique.
7.7 Quadrilateral Characteristic
This form of polygonal impedance characteristic is shown in Figure 15. The
characteristic is provided with forward reach and resistive reach settings that
are independently adjustable. It therefore provides better resistive coverage
than any mho-type characteristic for short lines. This is especially true for
earth fault impedance measurement, where the arc resistances and fault
resistance to earth contribute to the highest values of fault resistance. To
avoid excessive errors in the zone reach accuracy, it is common to impose a
maximum resistive reach in terms of the zone impedance reach.
Recommendations in this respect can usually be found in the appropriate relay
Figure 15: Quadrilateral characteristic
Quadrilateral elements with plain reactance reach lines can introduce reach
error problems for resistive earth faults where the angle of total fault current
differs from the angle of the current measured by the relay. This will be the
case where the local and remote source voltage vectors are phase shifted with
respect to each other due to pre-fault power flow. This can be overcome by
selecting an alternative to use of a phase current for polarisation of the
reactance reach line. Polygonal impedance characteristics are highly flexible
in terms of fault impedance coverage for both phase and earth faults. For this
reason, most digital and numerical distance relays now offer this form of
characteristic. A further factor is that the additional cost implications of
implementing this characteristic using discrete component electromechanical
or early static relay technology do not arise.
7.8 Protection against Power Swings – Use of the Ohm Characteristic
During severe power swing conditions from which a system is unlikely to
recover, stability might only be regained if the swinging sources are separated.
Where such scenarios are identified, power swing, or out-of-step, tripping
protection can be deployed, to strategically split a power system at a preferred
location. Ideally, the split should be made so that the plant capacity and
connected loads on either side of the split are matched.
This type of disturbance cannot normally be correctly identified by an ordinary
distance protection. As previously mentioned, it is often necessary to prevent
distance protection schemes from operating during stable or unstable power
swings, in order to avoid cascade tripping. To initiate system separation for a
prospective unstable power swing, an out-of-step tripping scheme employing
ohm impedance measuring elements can be deployed. Ohm impedance
characteristics are applied along the forward and reverse resistance axes of
the R/X diagram and their operating boundaries are set to be parallel to the
protected line impedance vector, as shown in Figure 16.
The ohm impedance elements divide the R/X impedance diagram into three
zones, A, B and C. As the impedance changes during a power swing, the point
representing the impedance moves along the swing locus, entering the three
zones in turn and causing the ohm units to operate in sequence. When the
impedance enters the third zone the trip sequence is completed and the circuit
breaker trip coil can be energized at a favourable angle between system
sources for arc interruption with little risk of restriking.
Figure 16: Application of out-of-step tripping relay characteristic
Only an unstable power swing condition can cause the impedance vector to
move successively through the
three zones. Therefore, other types of system disturbance, such as power
system fault conditions, will not result in relay element operation.
7.9 Other Characteristics
The execution time for the algorithm for traditional distance protection using
quadrilateral or similar characteristics may result in a relatively long operation
time, possibly up to 40ms in some relay designs. To overcome this, some
numerical distance relays also use alternative algorithms that can be executed
significantly faster. These algorithms are based generally on detecting
changes in current and voltage that are in excess of what is expected, often
known as the ‘Delta’ algorithm.
This algorithm detects a fault by comparing the measured values of current
and voltage with the values sampled previously. If the change between these
samples exceeds a predefined amount (the ‘delta’), it is assumed a fault has
occurred. In parallel, the distance to fault is also computed. Provided the
computed distance to fault lies within the Zone reach of the relay, a trip
command is issued. This algorithm can be executed significantly faster than
the conventional distance algorithm, resulting in faster overall tripping times.
Faulted phase selection can be carried out by comparing the signs of the
changes in voltage and current.
Relays that use the ‘Delta’ algorithm generally run both this and conventional
distance protection algorithms in parallel, as some types of fault (e.g. high-
resistance faults) may not fall within the fault detection criteria of
the Delta algorithm.
Discriminating zones of protection can be achieved using distance relays,
provided that fault distance is a simple function of impedance. While this is
true in principle for transmission circuits, the impedances actually measured
by a distance relay also depend on the following factors:
1. the magnitudes of current and voltage (the relay may not see all the
current that produces the fault voltage)
2. the fault impedance loop being measured
3. the type of fault
4. the fault resistance
5. the symmetry of line impedance
6. the circuit configuration (single, double or multiterminal circuit)
It is impossible to eliminate all of the above factors for all possible operating
conditions. However, considerable success can be achieved with a suitable
distance relay. This may comprise relay elements or algorithms for starting,
distance measuring and for scheme logic.
The distance measurement elements may produce impedance characteristics
selected from those described
in Section 7. Various distance relay formats exist, depending on the operating
speed required and cost considerations related to the relaying hardware,
software or numerical relay processing capacity required. The most common
formats are:
a) ingle measuring element for each phase is provided, that covers all
phase faults
b) ore economical arrangement is for ‘starter’ elements to detect which
phase or phases have suffered a fault. The starter elements switch a
single measuring element or algorithm to measure the most appropriate
fault impedance loop. This is commonly referred to as a switched
distance relay.
c) a single set of impedance measuring elements for each impedance
loop may have their reach settings progressively increased from one
zone reach setting to another. The increase occurs after zone time
delays that are initiated by operation of starter elements. This type of
relay is commonly referred to as a reach-stepped distance relay
d) each zone may be provided with independent sets of impedance
measuring elements for each impedance loop. This is known as a full
distance scheme, capable of offering the highest performance in terms
of speed and application flexibility.
Furthermore, protection against earth faults may require different
characteristics and/or settings to those required for phase faults, resulting in
additional units being required. A total of 18 impedance-measuring elements
or algorithms would be required in a full distance relay for three-zone
protection for all types of fault.
With electromechanical technology, each of the measuring elements would
have been a separate relay housed in its own case, so that the distance relay
comprised a panel-mounted assembly of the required relays with suitable
inter-unit wiring. Figure17(a) shows an example of such a relay scheme.
Digital/numerical distance relays (Figure17(b)) are likely to have all of the
above functions implemented in software. Starter units may not be necessary.
The complete distance relay is housed in a single unit, making for significant
economies in space, wiring and increased dependability, through the
increased availability that stems from the provision of continuous self-
supervision. When the additional features detailed in Section 11 are taken into
consideration, such equipment offers substantial user benefits.
Figure 17 (a): First generation of static distance relay
Figure 17 (b): MiCOM P440 series numerical distance relay
8.1 Starters for switched distance protection
Electromechanical and static distance relays do not normally use an individual
impedance-measuring element per phase. The cost and the resulting physical
scheme size made this arrangement impractical, except for the most
demanding EHV transmission applications. To achieve economy for other
applications, only one measuring element was provided, together with ‘starter’
units that detected which phases were faulted, in order to switch the
appropriate signals to the single measuring function. A distance relay using
this technique is known as a switched distance relay. A number of different
types of starters have been used, the most common being based on
overcurrent, undervoltage or under-impedance measurement.
Numerical distance relays permit direct detection of the phases involved in a
fault. This is called faulted phase selection, often abbreviated to phase
selection. Several techniques are available for faulted phase selection, which
then permits the appropriate distance-measuring zone to trip. Without phase
selection, the relay risks having over or underreach problems, or tripping
threephase when single-pole fault clearance is required. Several techniques
are available for faulted phase selection, such as:
a. superimposed current comparisons, comparing the step change of level
between pre-fault load, and fault current (the ‘Delta’ algorithm). This
enables very fast detection of the faulted phases, within only a few
samples of the analogue current inputs
b. change in voltage magnitude
c. change in current magnitude
Numerical phase selection is much faster than traditional starter techniques
used in electromechanical or static distance relays. It does not impose a time
penalty as the phase selection and measuring zone algorithms run in parallel.
It is possible to build a full scheme relay with these numerical techniques. The
phase selection algorithm provides faulted phase selection, together with a
segregated measuring algorithm for each phase-ground and phase to phase
fault loop (AN, BN, CN, AB, BC, CA), thus ensuring full scheme operation.
However, there may be occasions where a numerical relay that mimics earlier
switched distance protection techniques is desired. The reasons may be
economic (less software required – thus cheaper than a relay that contains a
full-scheme implementation) and/or technical.
Some applications may require the numerical relay characteristics to match
those of earlier generations already installed on a network, to aid selectivity.
Such relays are available, often with refinements such as multi-sided
polygonal impedance characteristics that assist in avoiding tripping due to
heavy load conditions.
With electromechanical or static switched distance relays, a selection of
available starters often had to be made. The choice of starter was dependent
on power system parameters such as maximum load transfer in relation to
maximum reach required and power system earthing arrangements.
Where overcurrent starters are used, care must be taken to ensure that, with
minimum generating plant in service, the setting of the overcurrent starters is
sensitive enough to detect faults beyond the third zone. Furthermore, these
starters require a high drop-off to pick-up ratio, to ensure that they will drop off
under maximum load conditions after a second or third zone fault has been
cleared by the first zone relay in the faulty section. Without this feature,
indiscriminate tripping may result for subsequent faults in the second or third
zone. For satisfactory operation of the overcurrent starters in a switched
distance scheme, the following conditions must be fulfilled:
a. the current setting of the overcurrent starters must be not less than 1.2
times the maximum full load current of the protected line
b. the power system minimum fault current for a fault at the Zone 3 reach
of the distance relay must not be less than 1.5 times the setting of the
overcurrent starters
On multiple-earthed systems where the neutrals of all the power transformers
are solidly earthed, or in power
systems where the fault current is less than the full load current of the
protected line, it is not possible to use
overcurrent starters. In these circumstances underimpedance starters are
typically used.
The type of under-impedance starter used is mainly dependent on the
maximum expected load current and equivalent minimum load impedance in
relation to the required relay setting to cover faults in Zone 3. This is illustrated
in Figure 11 where ZD1, ZD2, and ZD3 are respectively the minimum load
impedances permitted when lenticular, offset mho and impedance relays are
For correct operation, distance relays must be capable of measuring the
distance to the fault accurately. To ensure this, it is necessary to provide the
correct measured quantities to the measurement elements. It is not always the
case that use of the voltage and current for a particular phase will give the
correct result, or that additional compensation is required.
9.1 Phase Fault Impedance Measurement
Figure 18 shows the current and voltage relations for the different types of
fault. If ZS
and ZL
are the source and line positive sequence impedances,
viewed from the relaying point, the currents and voltages at this point for
double phase faults are dependent on the source impedance as well as the
line impedance. The relationships are given in Figure 19.
Applying the difference of the phase voltages to the relay eliminates the
dependence on ZS1. For example:

(For Double- Phase Faults )
Figure 18: Current and voltage relationships for some shunt faults
Figure 19: Phase currents and voltages at relaying point for 3-phase and
double-phase faults
Distance measuring elements are usually calibrated in terms of the positive
sequence impedance. Correct measurement for both phase-phase and three-
phase faults is achieved by supplying each phase-phase measuring element
with its corresponding phase-phase voltage and difference of phase currents.
Thus, for the B-C element, the current measured will be:
and the relay will measure ZL1 in each case.
9.2 Earth Fault Impedance Measurement
When a phase-earth fault occurs, the phase-earth voltage at the fault location
is zero. It would appear that the voltage drop to the fault is simply the product
of the phase current and line impedance. However, the current in the fault loop
depends on the number of earthing points, the method of earthing and
sequence impedances of the fault loop. Unless these factors are taken into
account, the impedance measurement will be incorrect. The voltage drop to
the fault is the sum of the sequence voltage drops between the relaying point
and the fault. The voltage drop to the fault and current in the fault loop are:
and the residual current I’N at the relaying point is given by:
where I’a, I’b, I’c are the phase currents at the relaying point. From the above
expressions, the voltage at the
relaying point can be expressed in terms of:
1. the phase currents at the relaying point,
2. the ratio of the transmission line zero sequence to positive sequence
impedance, K, (=ZL0/ZL1),
3. the transmission line positive sequence impedance
Figure 20: Effect of infeed and earthing arrangements on earth fault
distance measurement
The voltage appearing at the relaying point, as previously me ntioned, varies
with the number of infeeds, the method of system earthing and the position of
the relay relative to the infeed and earthing points in the system. Figure 20
illustrates the three possible arrangements that can occur in practice with a
single infeed. In Figure 20(a), the healthy phase currents are zero, so that the
phase currents Ia, Ib and Ic have a 1-0-0 pattern. The impedance seen by a
relay comparing Ia and Va is:
In Figure 20(b), the currents entering the fault from the relay branch have a 2-
1-1 distribution, so:
In Figure 20(c), the phase currents have a 1-1-1 distribution, and hence:

If there were infeeds at both ends of the line, the impedance measured would
be a superposition of any two of the above examples, with the relative
magnitudes of the infeeds taken into account.
This analysis shows that the relay can only measure an
impedance which is independent of infeed and
earthing arrangements if a proportion of the residual current In=Ia+Ib+Ic is
added to the phase current Ia. This technique is known as ‘residual
Most distance relays compensate for the earth fault conditions by using an
additional replica impedance Z
within the measuring circuits. Whereas the
phase replica impedance Z
is fed with the phase current at the relaying point,
is fed with the full residual current. The value of Z
is adjusted so that for a
fault at the reach point, the sum of the voltages developed across Z
and Z
equals the measured phase to neutral voltage in the faulted phase.
The required setting for Z
can be determined by considering an earth fault at
the reach point of the relay. This is illustrated with reference to the A-N fault
with single earthing point behind the relay as in Figure 20(a).
Voltage supplied from the VT’s:
= I
) = I
Voltage across the replica impedances:
= I
= I
= 3I
Hence, the required setting of Z
for balance at the reach point is given by
equating the above two expressions:
With the replica impedance set to earth fault measuring elements
will measure the fault impedance correctly, irrespective of the number of
infeeds and earthing points on the system.
Distance relays may suffer from a number of difficulties in their application.
Many of them have been overcome in the latest numerical relays.
Nevertheless, an awareness of the problems is useful where a protection
engineer has to deal with older relays that are already installed and not due for
10.1 Minimum Voltage at Relay Terminals
To attain their claimed accuracy, distance relays that do not employ voltage
memory techniques require a minimum voltage at the relay terminals under
fault conditions. This voltage should be declared in the data sheet for the
relay. With knowledge of the sequence impedances involved in the fault, or
alternatively the fault MVA, the system voltage and the earthing arrangements,
it is possible to calculate the minimum voltage at the relay terminals for a fault
at the reach point of the relay. It is then only necessary to check that the
minimum voltage for accurate reach measurement can be attained for a given
application. Care should be taken that both phase and earth faults are
10.2 Minimum Length of Line
To determine the minimum length of line that can be protected by a distance
relay, it is necessary to check first that any minimum voltage requirement of
the relay for a fault at the Zone 1 reach is within the declared sensitivity for the
relay. Secondly, the ohmic impedance of the line (referred if necessary to
VT/CT secondary side quantities) must fall within the ohmic setting range for
Zone 1 reach of the relay. For very short lines and especially for cable circuits,
it may be found that the circuit impedance is less than the minimum setting
range of the relay. In such cases, an alternative method of protection will be
A suitable alternative might be current differential protection, as the line length
will probably be short enough for the cost-effective provision of a high
bandwidth communication link between the relays fitted at the ends of the
protected circuit. However, the latest numerical distance relays have a very
wide range of impedance setting ranges and good sensitivity with low levels of
relaying voltage, so such problems are now rarely encountered. Application
checks are still essential, though. When considering earth faults, particular
care must be taken to ensure that the appropriate earth fault loop impedance
is used in the calculation.
10.3 Under-Reach - Effect of Remote Infeed
A distance relay is said to under-reach when the impedance presented to it is
apparently greater than the
impedance to the fault. Percentage under-reach is defined as:
ZR = intended relay reach (relay reach setting)
ZF = effective reach
The main cause of under reaching is the effect of fault current infeed at remote
busbars. This is best illustrated by an example.
Figure 21: Effect on distance relays of infeed at the remote busbar
In Figure 21, the relay at A will not measure the correct impedance for a fault
on line section ZC due to current infeed IB. Consider a relay setting of ZA+ZC.
For a fault at point F, the relay is presented with an impedance
So, for relay balance:
Therefore the effective reach is
It is clear from Equation 11.8 that the relay will under reach. It is relatively easy
to compensate for this by increasing the reach setting of the relay, but care
has to be taken. Should there be a possibility of the remote infeed being
reduced or zero, the relay will then reach further than intended. For example,
setting Zone 2 to reach a specific distance into an adjacent line section under
parallel circuit conditions may mean that Zone 2 reaches beyond the Zone 1
reach of the adjacent line protection under single circuit operation. If IB=9IA
and the relay reach is set to see faults at F, then in the absence of the remote
infeed, the relay effective setting becomes ZA+10ZC. Care should also be
taken that large forward reach settings will not result in operation of healthy
phase relays for reverse earth faults, see Section 10.5.
10.4 Over-Reach
A distance relay is said to over-reach when the apparent impedance
presented to it is less than the impedance to the fault.
Percentage over-reach is defined by the equation:
= relay reach setting
= effective reach
An example of the over-reaching effect is when distance relays are applied on
parallel lines and one line is taken out of service and earthed at each end.
10.5 Forward Reach Limitations
There are limitations on the maximum forward reach setting that can be
applied to a distance relay. For example, with reference to Figure 6, Zone 2 of
one line section should not reach beyond the Zone 1 coverage of the next line
section relay. Where there is a link between the forward reach setting and the
relay resistive coverage (e.g. a Mho Zone 3 element), a relay must not operate
under maximum load conditions. Also, if the relay reach is excessive, the
healthy phase-earth fault units of some relay designs may be prone to
operation for heavy reverse faults. This problem only affected older relays
applied to three-terminal lines that have significant line section length
asymmetry. A number of the features offered with modern relays can eliminate
this problem.
10.6 Power Swing Blocking
Power swings are variations in power flow that occur when the internal
voltages of generators at different points of the power system slip relative to
each other. The changes in load flows that occur as a result of faults and their
subsequent clearance are one cause of power swings. A power swing may
cause the impedance presented to a distance relay to move away from the
normal load area and into the relay characteristic. In the case of a stable
power swing it is especially important that the distance relay should not trip in
order to allow the power system to return to a stable conditions. For this
reason, most distance protection schemes applied to transmission systems
have a power swing blocking facility available. Different relays may use
different principles for detection of a power swing, but all involve recognising
that the movement of the measured impedance in relation to the relay
measurement characteristics is at a rate that is significantly less than the rate
of change that occurs during fault conditions. When the relay detects such a
condition, operation of the relay elements can be blocked. Power swing
blocking may be applied individually to each of the relay zones, or on an all
zones applied/inhibited basis, depending on the particular relay used. Various
techniques are used in different relay designs to inhibit power swing blocking
in the event of a fault occurring while a power swing is in progress. This is
particularly important, for example, to allow the relay to respond to a fault that
develops on a line during the dead time of a single pole auto reclose cycle.
Some Utilities may designate certain points on the network as split points,
where the network should be split in the event of an unstable power swing or
poleslipping occurring. A dedicated power swing tripping relay may be
employed for this purpose (see Section 7.8). Alternatively, it may be possible
to achieve splitting by strategically limiting the duration for which the operation
a specific distance relay is blocked during power swing conditions.
10.7 Voltage Transformer Supervision
Fuses or sensitive miniature circuit breakers normally protect the secondary
wiring between the voltage transformer secondary windings and the relay
terminals. Distance relays having:
a. self-polarised offset characteristics encompassing the zero impedance
point of the R/X diagram
b. sound phase polarisation
c. voltage memory polarization
may maloperate if one or more voltage inputs are removed due to operation of
these devices.
For these types of distance relay, supervision of the voltage inputs is
recommended. The supervision may be provided by external means, e.g.
separate voltage supervision circuits, or it may be incorporated into the
distance relay itself. On detection of VT failure, tripping of the distance relay
can be inhibited and/or an alarm is given. Modern distance protection relays
employ voltage supervision that operates from sequence voltages and
currents. Zero or negative sequence voltages and corresponding zero or
negative sequence currents are derived. Discrimination between primary
power system faults and wiring faults or loss of supply due to individual fuses
blowing or MCB’s being opened is obtained by blocking the distance
protection only when zero or negative sequence voltage is detected without
the presence of zero or negative sequence current. This arrangement will not
detect the simultaneous loss of all three voltages and additional detection is
required that operates for loss of voltage with no change in current, or a
current less than that corresponding to the three phase fault current under
minimum fault infeed conditions. If fast-acting miniature circuit breakers are
used to protect the VT secondary circuits, contacts from these may be used to
inhibit operation of the distance protection elements and prevent tripping.
A modern digital or numerical distance relay will often incorporate additional
features that assist the protection engineer in providing a comprehensive
solution to the protection requirements of a particular part of a network.
• Fault Location
• Instantaneous Overcurrent Protection
• Tee’d feeder protection
• Alternative setting groups
• CT supervision
• Check synchronizer
• Auto0reclose
• CB state monitoring
• CB condition monitoring
• CB control
• Measurement of voltages, currents, etc.
• Event recorder
• Disturbance recorder
• CB failure detection/ logic
• Directional/ Non-directional phase fault overcurrent protection (backup
to distance protection)
• Directional/ Non-directional earth fault overcurrent protection (backup to
distance protection)
• Negative sequence protection
• Under/ Overvoltage Protection
• Stub-bus Protection
• Broken conductor detection
• User-programmable scheme logic
The system diagram shown in Figure 22 shows a simple 230kV network. The
following example shows the calculations necessary to apply three-zone
distance protection to the line interconnecting substations ABC and XYZ. All
relevant data for this exercise are given in the diagram. The MiCOM P441
relay with quadrilateral characteristics is considered in this example. Relay
parameters used in the example are listed in Table 2. Calculations are carried
out in terms of primary system impedances in ohms, rather than the traditional
practice of using secondary impedances. With numerical relays, where the CT
and VT ratios may be entered as parameters, the scaling between primary and
secondary ohms can be performed by the relay. This simplifies the example by
allowing calculations to be carried out in primary quantities and eliminates
considerations of VT/CT ratios.
Figure 22: Example network for distance relay setting calculation
For simplicity, it is assumed that only a conventional 3-zone distance
protection is to be set and that there is no teleprotection scheme to be
considered. In practice, a teleprotection scheme would normally be applied to
a line at this voltage level.
12.1 Line Impedance
The line impedance is:
ZL = (0.089 + j0.476) x 100
= 8.9 + j47.6Ω
= 48.42 ∠79.410Ω
Use values of 48.42Ω (magnitude) and 800 (angle) as nearest settable values.
12.2 Residual Compensation
The relays used are calibrated in terms of the positive sequence impedance of
the protected line. Since the zero sequence impedance of the line between
substations ABC and XYZ is different from the positive sequence impedance,
the impedance seen by the relay in the case of an earth fault, involving the
passage of zero sequence current, will be different to that seen for a phase
Hence, the earth fault reach of the relay requires zero sequence compensation
(see Section 9.2).
For the relay used, this adjustment is provided by the residual (or neutral)
compensation factor KZ0, set equal to:
For each of the transmission lines:
12.3 Zone 1 Phase Reach
The required Zone 1 reach is 80% of the line impedance.
12.4 Zone 2 Phase Reach
Ideally, the requirements for setting Zone 2 reach are:
1. at least 120% of the protected line
2. less than the protected line + 50% of the next line
Sometimes, the two requirements are in conflict. In this case, both
requirements can be met. A setting of the
whole of the line between substations ABC and XYZ, plus 50% of the adjacent
line section to substation PQR is used. Hence, Zone 2 reach:
Use 62.95∠800 Ω nearest available setting.
12.5 Zone 3 Phase Reach
Zone 3 is set to cover 120% of the sum of the lines between substations ABC
and PQR, provided this does not result in any transformers at substation XYZ
being included. It is assumed that this constraint is met. Hence, Zone 3 reach:
Use a setting of 83.27∠80 0Ω, nearest available setting.
12.6 Zone Time Delay Settings
Proper co-ordination of the distance relay settings with those of other relays is
required. Independent timers are available for the three zones to ensure this.
For Zone 1, instantaneous tripping is normal. A time delay is used only in
cases where large d.c. offsets occur and old circuit breakers, incapable of
breaking the instantaneous d.c. component, are involved. The Zone 2 element
has to grade with the relays protecting the line between substations XYZ and
PQR since the Zone 2 element covers part of these lines. Assuming that this
line has distance, unit or instantaneous high-set overcurrent protection
applied, the time delay required is that to cover the total clearance time of the
downstream relays. To this must be added the reset time for the Zone 2
element following clearance of a fault on the adjacent line, and a suitable
safety margin. A typical time delay is 350ms, and the normal range is 200-
500ms. The considerations for the Zone 3 element are the same as for the
Zone 2 element, except that the downstream fault clearance time is that for the
Zone 2 element of a distance relay or IDMT overcurrent protection. Assuming
distance relays are used, a typical time is 800ms. In summary:
TZ1 = 0ms (instantaneous)
TZ2 = 250ms
TZ3 = 800ms
12.7 Phase Fault Resistive Reach Settings
With the use of a quadrilateral characteristic, the resistive reach settings for
each zone can be set independently of the impedance reach settings. The
resistive reach setting represents the maximum amount of additional fault
resistance (in excess of the line impedance) for which a zone will trip,
regardless of the fault within the zone.
Two constraints are imposed upon the settings, as follows:
i) it must be greater than the maximum expected phase-phase fault
resistance (principally that of the fault arc)
ii) it must be less than the apparent resistance measured due to the
heaviest load on the line
The minimum fault current at Substation ABC is of the order of 1.8kA, leading
to a typical arc resistance R
using the van Warrington formula of 8Ω. Using
the current transformer ratio as a guide to the maximum expected load
current, the minimum load impedance Z
will be 130Ω. Typically, the resistive
reaches will be set to avoid the minimum load impedance by a 40% margin for
the phase elements, leading to a maximum resistive reach setting of 78Ω.
Therefore, the resistive reach setting lies between 8Ω and 78Ω. Allowance
should be made for the effects of any remote fault infeed, by using the
maximum resistive reach possible. While each zone can have its own resistive
reach setting, for this simple example they can all be set equal. This need not
always be the case, it
depends on the particular distance protection scheme used and the need to
include Power Swing Blocking. Suitable settings are chosen to be 80% of the
load resistance:
R3ph = 78Ω
R2ph = 78Ω
R1ph = 78Ω
12.8 Earth Fault Impedance Reach Settings
By default, the residual compensation factor as calculated in Section 12.2 is
used to adjust the phase fault reach setting in the case of earth faults, and is
applied to all zones.
12.9 Earth Fault Resistive Reach Settings
The margin for avoiding the minimum load impedance need only be 20%.
Hence the settings are:
R3G = 104Ω
R2G = 104Ω
R1G = 104Ω
This completes the setting of the relay. Table 2 also shows the settings
No. Topic
Zone 1 Extension Scheme
Transfer Tripping Schemes
Blocking Over-Reaching Schemes
Directional Comparison Unblocking Schemes
Comparison of Transfer Trip and Blocking Relaying Schemes
Conventional time-stepped distance protection is illustrated in Figure 12.1.
One of the main disadvantages of this scheme is that the instantaneous Zone
1 protection at each end of the protected line cannot be set to cover the whole
of the feeder length and is usually set to about 80%. This leaves two 'end
zones', each being about 20% of the protected feeder length. Faults in these
zones are cleared in Zone 1 time by the protection at one end of the feeder
and in Zone 2 time (typically 0.25 to 0.4 seconds) by the protection at the other
end of the feeder.
Fig. 1 Conventional Distance Scheme
This situation cannot be tolerated in some applications, for two main reasons:
a. faults remaining on the feeder for Zone 2 time may cause the system to
become unstable
b. where high-speed auto-reclosing is used, the non-simultaneous
opening of the circuit breakers at both ends of the faulted section
results in no 'dead time' during the auto-reclose cycle for the fault to be
extinguished and for ionised gases to clear. This results in the
possibility that a transient fault will cause permanent lockout of the
circuit breakers at each end of the line section.
Even where instability does not occur, the increased duration of the
disturbance may give rise to power quality problems, and may result in
increased plant damage.
Unit schemes of protection that compare the conditions at the two ends of the
feeder simultaneously positively identify whether the fault is internal or external
to the protected section and provide high-speed protection for the whole
feeder length. This advantage is balanced by the fact that the unit scheme
does not provide the back up protection for adjacent feeders given by a
distance scheme.
The most desirable scheme is obviously a combination of the best features of
both arrangements, that is, instantaneous tripping over the whole feeder
length plus back-up protection to adjacent feeders. This can be achieved by
interconnecting the distance protection relays at each end of the protected
feeder by a communications channel. Communication techniques are
described in detail in Chapter 8.
The purpose of the communications channel is to transmit information about
the system conditions from one end of the protected line to the other, including
requests to initiate or prevent tripping of the remote circuit breaker. The
former arrangement is generally known as a 'transfer tripping scheme' while
the latter is generally known as a 'blocking scheme'. However, the
terminology of the various schemes varies widely, according to local custom
and practice.
This scheme is intended for use with an auto-reclose facility, or where no
communications channel is available, or the channel has failed. Thus it may
be used on radial distribution feeders, or on interconnected lines as a fallback
when no communications channel is available, e.g. due to maintenance or
temporary fault. The scheme is shown in Figure 12.2.
The Zone 1 elements of the distance relay have two settings. One is set to
cover 80% of the protected line length as in the basic distance scheme. The
other, known as 'Extended Zone 1'or 'Z1X', is set to overreach the protected
line, a setting of 120% of the protected line being common. The Zone 1 reach
is normally controlled by the Z1X setting and is reset to the basic Zone 1
setting when a command from the auto-reclose relay is received.
Fig. 2 Zone 1 Extension Scheme
On occurrence of a fault at any point within the Z1X reach, the relay operates
in Zone 1 time, trips the circuit breaker and initiates auto-reclosure. The Zone
1 reach of the distance relay is also reset to the basic value of 80%, prior to
the auto-reclose closing pulse being applied to the breaker. This should also
occur when the auto-reclose facility is out of service. Reversion to the Z1X
reach setting occurs only at the end of the reclaim time. For interconnected
lines, the Z1X scheme is established (automatically or manually) upon loss of
the communications channel by selection of the appropriate relay setting
(setting group in a numerical relay). If the fault is transient, the tripped circuit
breakers will reclose successfully, but otherwise further tripping during the
reclaim time is subject to the discrimination obtained with normal Zone 1 and
Zone 2 settings.
The disadvantage of the Zone 1 extension scheme is that external faults within
the 1X reach of the relay result in tripping of circuit breakers external to the
faulted section, increasing the amount of breaker maintenance needed and
needless transient loss of supply to some consumers. This is illustrated in
Figure 12.3(a) for a single circuit line where three circuit breakers operate and
in Figure 12.3(b) for a double circuit line, where five circuit breakers operate.
Fig. 3 Performance of Zone 1 Extension Scheme in Conjunction with
auto-reclose Relays
A number of these schemes are available, as described below. Selection of
an appropriate scheme depends on the requirements of the system being
3.1 Direct Under-reach Transfer Tripping Scheme
The simplest way of reducing the fault clearance time at the terminal that
clears an end zone fault in Zone 2 time is to adopt a direct transfer trip or
intertrip technique, the logic of which is shown in Figure 4.
Fig. 4 Logic for Direct under-reach transfer tripping scheme
A contact operated by the Zone 1 relay element is arranged to send a signal to
the remote relay requesting a trip. The scheme may be called a 'direct under-
reach transfer tripping scheme', 'transfer trip under-reaching scheme', or
'intertripping under-reach distance protection scheme', as the Zone 1 relay
elements do not cover the whole of the line.
A fault F in the end zone at end B in Figur 1(a) results in operation of the Zone
1 relay and tripping of the circuit breaker at end B. A request to trip is also
sent to the relay at end A. The receipt of a signal at A initiates tripping
immediately because the receive relay contact is connected directly to the trip
relay. The disadvantage of this scheme is the possibility of undesired tripping
by accidental operation or maloperation of signalling equipment, or
interference on the communications channel. As a result, it is not commonly
3.2 Permissive Under-reach Transfer Tripping (PUP) Scheme
The direct under-reach transfer tripping scheme described above is made
more secure by supervising the received signal with the operation of the Zone
2 relay element before allowing an instantaneous trip, as shown in Figure 5.
Fig. 5 Permissive under-reach transfer tripping scheme
The scheme is then known as a 'permissive under-reach transfer tripping
scheme' (sometimes abbreviated as PUP Z2 scheme) or 'permissive under-
reach distance protection', as both relays must detect a fault before the remote
end relay is permitted to trip in Zone 1 time.
A variant of this scheme, found on some relays, allows tripping by Zone 3
element operation as well as Zone 2, provided the fault is in the forward
direction. This is sometimes called the PUP-Fwd scheme.
Time delayed resetting of the 'signal received' element is required to ensure
that the relays at both ends of a single-end fed faulted line of a parallel feeder
circuit have time to trip when the fault is close to one end. Consider a fault F in
a double circuit line, as shown in Figure 6. The fault is close to end A, so
there is negligible infeed from end B when the fault at F occurs. The
protection at B detects a Zone 2 fault only after the breaker at end A has
tripped. It is possible for the Zone 1 element at A to reset, thus removing the
permissive signal to B and causing the 'signal received' element at B to reset
before the Zone 2 unit at end B operates. It is therefore necessary to delay
the resetting of the 'signal received' element to ensure high speed tripping at
end B.
Fig. 6 PUP Scheme Single end fed close-up fault on double circuit line
The PUP schemes require only a single communications channel for two-way
signalling between the line ends, as the channel is keyed by the under-
reaching Zone 1 elements.
When the circuit breaker at one end is open, or there is a weak infeed such
that the relevant relay element does not operate, instantaneous clearance
cannot be achieved for end-zone faults near the 'breaker open' terminal unless
special features are included, as detailed in section 3.5.
3.3 Permissive Under-reaching Acceleration Scheme
This scheme is applicable only to zone switched distance relays that share the
same measuring elements for both Zone 1 and Zone 2. In these relays, the
reach of the measuring elements is extended from Zone 1 to Zone 2 by means
of a range change signal immediately, instead of after Zone 2 time. It is also
called an 'accelerated underreach distance protection scheme'.
The under-reaching Zone 1 unit is arranged to send a signal to the remote end
of the feeder in addition to tripping the local circuit breaker. The receive relay
contact is arranged to extend the reach of the measuring element from Zone 1
to Zone 2. This accelerates the fault clearance at the remote end for faults
that lie in the region between the Zone 1 and Zone 2 reaches. The scheme is
shown in Figure 17. Modern distance relays do not employ switched
measuring elements, so the scheme is likely to fall into disuse.
Fig. 7 Permissive under reaching acceleration scheme
3.4 Permissive Over-Reach Transfer Tripping (POP) Scheme
In this scheme, a distance relay element set to reach beyond the remote end
of the protected line is used to send an intertripping signal to the remote end.
However, it is essential that the receive relay contact is monitored by a
directional relay contact to ensure that tripping does not take place unless the
fault is within the protected section; see Figure 8. The instantaneous contacts
of the Zone 2 unit are arranged to send the signal, and the received signal,
supervised by Zone 2operation, is used to energise the trip circuit. The
scheme is then known as a 'permissive over-reach transfer tripping scheme'
(sometimes abbreviated to 'POP'), 'directional comparison scheme', or
'permissive overreach distance protection scheme'.
Fig. 8 Permissive Over-reach Transfer Scheme
Since the signalling channel is keyed by over-reaching Zone 2 elements, the
scheme requires duplex communication channels - one frequency for each
direction of signalling.
If distance relays with mho characteristics are used, the scheme may be more
advantageous than the permissive under-reaching scheme for protecting short
lines, because the resistive coverage of the Zone 2 unit may be greater than
that of Zone 1. To prevent operation under current reversal conditions in a
parallel feeder circuit, it is necessary to use a current reversal guard timer to
inhibit the tripping of the forward Zone 2 elements. Otherwise maloperation of
the scheme may occur under current reversal conditions. It is necessary only
when the Zone 2 reach is set greater than 150% of the protected line
Fig. 9 Current reversal guard logic permissive over-reach scheme
The timer is used to block the permissive trip and signal send circuits as
shown in Figure 9. The timer is energised if a signal is received and there is
no operation of Zone 2 elements. An adjustable time delay on pick-up (t
) is
usually set to allow instantaneous tripping to take place for any internal faults,
taking into account a possible slower operation of Zone 2. The timer will have
operated and blocked the 'permissive trip' and 'signal send' circuits by the time
the current reversal takes place.
The timer is de-energised if the Zone 2 elements operate or the 'signal
received' element resets. The reset time delay (t
) of the timer is set to cover
any overlap in time caused by Zone 2 elements operating and the signal
resetting at the remote end, when the current in the healthy feeder reverses.
Using a timer in this manner means that no extra time delay is added in the
permissive trip circuit for an internal fault.
The above scheme using Zone 2 relay elements is often referred to as a POP
Z2 scheme. An alternative exists that uses Zone 1 elements instead of Zone
2, and this is referred to as the POP Z1 scheme.
3.5 Weak Infeed Conditions
In the standard permissive over-reach scheme, as with the permissive under-
reach scheme, instantaneous
clearance cannot be achieved for end-zone faults under weak infeed or
breaker open conditions. To overcome this disadvantage, two possibilities
The Weak Infeed Echo feature available in some protection relays allows the
remote relay to echo the trip signal back to the sending relay even if the
appropriate remote relay element has not operated. This caters for conditions
of the remote end having a weak infeed or circuit breaker open condition, so
that the relevant remote relay element does not operate. Fast clearance for
these faults is now obtained at both ends of the line. The logic is shown in
Figure 10. A time delay (T
) is required in the echo circuit to prevent tripping
of the remote end breaker when the local breaker is tripped by the busbar
protection or breaker fail protection associated with other feeders connected to
the busbar. The time delay ensures that the remote end Zone 2 element will
reset by the time the echoed signal is received at that end.
Figure 10 Weak Infeed Echo logic circuit
Signal transmission can take place even after the remote end breaker has
tripped. This gives rise to the possibility of continuous signal transmission due
to lock-up of both signals. Timer T
is used to prevent this. After this time
delay, 'signal send' is blocked.
A variation on the Weak Infeed Echo feature is to allow tripping of the remote
relay under the circumstances described above, providing that an
undervoltage condition exists, due to the fault. This is known as the Weak
Infeed Trip feature and ensures that both ends are tripped if the conditions are
The arrangements described so far have used the signalling channel(s) to
transmit a tripping instruction. If the signalling channel fails or there is no
Weak Infeed feature provided, end-zone faults may take longer to be cleared.
Blocking over-reaching schemes use an over-reaching distance scheme and
inverse logic. Signalling is initiated only for external faults and signalling
transmission takes place over healthy line sections. Fast fault clearance
occurs when no signal is received and the over-reaching Zone 2 distance
measuring elements looking into the line operate. The signalling channel is
keyed by reverse-looking distance elements (Z3in the diagram, though which
zone is used depends on the particular relay used). An ideal blocking scheme
is shown in Figure 11.
Fig. 11 Ideal Distance Protection Blocking Scheme
The single frequency signalling channel operates both local and remote
receive relays when a block signal is initiated at any end of the protected
4.1 Practical Blocking Schemes
A blocking instruction has to be sent by the reverse-looking relay elements to
prevent instantaneous tripping of the remote relay for Zone 2 faults external to
the protected section. To achieve this, the reverse-looking elements and the
signalling channel must operate faster than the forward-looking elements. In
practice, this is seldom the case and to ensure discrimination, a short time
delay is generally introduced into the blocking mode trip circuit. Either the
Zone 2 or Zone 1 element can be used as the forward-looking element, giving
rise to two variants of the scheme.
4.1.1 Blocking over-reaching protection scheme using Zone 2 element
This scheme (sometimes abbreviated to BOP Z2) is based on the ideal
blocking scheme of Figure 11, but has the signal logic illustrated in Figure 12.
It is also known as a 'directional comparison blocking scheme' or a 'blocking
over-reach distance protection scheme'.
Fig. 12 Signal logic for BOP Z2 Scheme
Operation of the scheme can be understood by considering the faults shown
at F1, F2 and F3 in Figure 11 along with the signal logic of Figure 12.
A fault at F1 is seen by the Zone 1 relay elements at both ends A and B; as a
result, the fault is cleared instantaneously at both ends of the protected line.
Signalling is controlled by the Z3 elements looking away from the protected
section, so no transmission takes place, thus giving fast tripping via the
forward-looking Zone 1 elements.
A fault at F2 is seen by the forward-looking Zone 2 elements at ends A and B
and by the Zone 1 elements at
End B. No signal transmission takes place, since the fault is internal and the
fault is cleared in Zone 1 time at end B and after the short time lag (STL) at
end A.
A fault at F3 is seen by the reverse-looking Z3 elements at end Band the
forward looking Zone 2 elements at end A . The Zone 1 relay elements at end
B associated with line section B – C would normally clear the fault at F3. To
prevent the Z2 elements at end A from tripping, the reverse-looking Zone 3
elements at end B send a blocking signal to end A . If the fault is not cleared
instantaneously by the protection on line section B-C, the trip signal will be
given at end B for section A – B after the Z3 time delay.
The setting of the reverse-looking Zone 3 elements must be greater than that
of the Zone 2 elements at the remote end of the feeder, otherwise there is the
possibility of Zone 2 elements initiating tripping and the reverse looking Zone 3
elements failing to see an external fault. This would result in instantaneous
tripping for an external fault. When the signalling channel is used for a
stabilising signal, as in the above case, transmission takes place over a
healthy line section if power line carrier is used. The signalling channel should
then be more reliable when used in the blocking mode than in tripping mode.
It is essential that the operating times of the various relays be skilfully co-
ordinated for all system conditions, so that sufficient time is always allowed for
the receipt of a blocking signal from the remote end of the feeder.
If this is not done accurately, the scheme may trip for an external fault or
alternatively, the end zone tripping times may be delayed longer than is
If the signalling channel fails, the scheme must be arranged to revert to
conventional basic distance protection. Normally, the blocking mode trip
circuit is supervised by a 'channel-in-service' contact so that the
blocking mode trip circuit is isolated when the channel is out of service, as
shown in Figure 12.
In a practical application, the reverse-looking relay elements may be set with a
forward offset characteristic to provide back-up protection for busbar faults
after the zone time delay. It is then necessary to stop the blocking signal
being sent for internal faults. This is achieved by making the 'signal send'
circuit conditional upon non-operation of the forward-looking Zone 2 elements,
as shown in Figure 13.
Fig. 13 Blocking Scheme using Reverse Looking Relays with Offset
Blocking schemes, like the permissive over-reach scheme, are also affected
by the current reversal in the healthy feeder due to a fault in a double circuit
line. If current reversal conditions occur, as described in section 9.9, it may be
possible for the maloperation of a breaker on the healthy line to occur. To
avoid this, the resetting of the 'signal received' element provided in the
blocking scheme is time delayed.
The timer with delayed resetting (td) is set to cover the time difference
between the maximum resetting time of reverse-looking Zone 3 elements and
the signalling channel. So, if there is a momentary loss of the blocking signal
during the current reversal, the timer does not have time to reset in the
blocking mode trip circuit and no false tripping takes place.
4.1.2 Blocking over-reaching protection scheme using Zone 1 element
This is similar to the BOP Z2 scheme described above, except that an over-
reaching Zone 1 element is used in the logic, instead of the Zone 2 element. It
may also be known as the BOP Z1 scheme.
4.2 Weak Infeed Conditions
The protection at the strong infeed terminal will operate for all internal faults,
since a blocking signal is not received from the weak infeed terminal end. In
the case of external faults behind the weak infeed terminal, the reverse-
looking elements at that end will see the fault current fed from the strong
infeed terminal and operate, initiating a block signal to the remote end. The
relay at the strong infeed end operates correctly without the need for any
additional circuits. The relay at the weak infeed end cannot operate for
internal faults, and so tripping of that breaker is possible only by means of
direct intertripping from the strong source end.
The permissive over-reach scheme described in Section 12.3.4 can be
arranged to operate on a directional comparison unblocking principle by
providing additional circuitry in the signalling equipment. In this scheme (also
called a 'deblocking overreach distance protection scheme'), a continuous
block (or guard) signal is transmitted. When the over-reaching distance
elements operate, the frequency of the signal transmitted is shifted to an
'unblock' (trip) frequency. The receipt of the unblock frequency signal and the
operation of over-reaching distance elements allow fast tripping to occur for
faults within the protected zone. In principle, the scheme is similar to the
permissive over-reach scheme.
The scheme is made more dependable than the standard permissive over-
reach scheme by providing additional circuits in the receiver equipment.
These allow tripping to take place for internal faults even if the transmitted
unblock signal is short-circuited by the fault. This is achieved by allowing
aided tripping for a short time interval, typically 100 to 150 milliseconds, after
the loss of both the block and the unblock frequency signals. After this time
interval, aided tripping is permitted only if the unblock frequency signal is
This arrangement gives the scheme improved security over a blocking
scheme, since tripping for external faults is possible only if the fault occurs
within the above time interval of channel failure. Weak Infeed terminal
conditions can be catered for by the techniques detailed in Section 3.5.
In this way, the scheme has the dependability of a blocking scheme and the
security of a permissive over-reach scheme. This scheme is generally
preferred when power line carrier is used, except when continuous
transmission of signal is not acceptable.
On normal two-terminal lines the main deciding factors in the choice of the
type of scheme, apart from the reliability of the signalling channel previously
discussed, are operating speed and the method of operation of the system.
Table1 compares the important characteristics of the various types of scheme.
Criterion Transfer tripping
Blocking scheme
Speed of operation Fast Not as fast
Speed with in-service
Slower As fast
Suitable for auto reclose Yes Yes
Security against
maloperation due to
Current reversal Special features
Special features required
Loss of Communications Poor Good
Week infeed/ Open CB Special features
Special features required
Table 1
Modern digital or numerical distance relays are provided with a choice of
several schemes in the same relay. Thus scheme selection is now largely
independent of relay selection, and the user is assured that a relay is available
with all the required features to cope with changing system conditions.
No. Topic
Basic Concepts
Distribution of Generation Resources in India
Coal-Fired Thermal Power Generation
Combined Cycle Gas Power Generation
Nuclear Power Generation
Hydro Generation
Wind Energy Generation
Expectations from a Generator connected to the Grid
Important Terms and definitions
Electric power generation is simply the conversion of energy from one form to
another. The major sources for power generation are hydro, fossil, nuclear,
wind solar, geothermal, biomass, municipal waste etc. Each type of generation
technology has its own complexity. However from the perspective of the grid,
one needs to focus mainly on the process, conversion efficiency, variable cost,
peaking capability, maximum continuous rating under different conditions,
reactive capability, loading restrictions, ramp-up/ramp-down rates, start-up
time-cold/hot. Besides, the impact of voltage and frequency on the generator
output also needs to be understood.
The fundamental laws that govern electric power generation are the Faraday’s
law and the Ampere’s law. Faraday’s law states that electromotive force (EMF)
produced around a closed path is proportional to the rate of change of the
magnetic flux through any surface bounded by that path. In practice, this
means that an electric current will be induced in any closed circuit when the
magnetic flux through a surface bounded by the conductor changes. This
applies whether the field itself changes in strength or the conductor is moved
through it.
The Ampere’s law states that the magnetic field in space around an electric
current is proportional to the electric current which serves as its source, just as
the electric field in space is proportional to the charge which serves as its
Virtually all generators have armature coils mounted on stationary housing
called the stators, where voltage (EMF) is produced due to the rotating
magnetic field produced by the rotor [Faraday’s law]. The amplitude of the
generator’s output voltage can be changed by changing the strength of the
rotor’s magnetic field [Ampere’s and Lenz’s law]. The mechanical means of
turning the generator’s rotor is called the prime mover. The source of energy
for prime mover could be fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil), nuclear, geothermal,
solar, hydro, wind etc.
Synchronous generators are rated in terms of maximum MVA output at a
specified voltage and power factor (usually 0.85 or 0.9 p.f. lagging) which they
can carry without over-heating.
Figure 1: Typical capability curve of a synchronous generator
The active power is limited by the prime mover capability to a value within
Synchronous generators are rated in terms of the maximum MVA output at a
specified voltage and power factor (usually 0.85 or 0.9 lagging) which they can
carry continuously without overheating. The active power output is limited by
the prime mover capability to a value within the MVA rating. The continuous
reactive power output capability is limited by three considerations: armature
current limit, field current limit, and end region heating limit. A typical generator
capability curve is shown in figure-1.
The distribution of generation resources in India is shown in the figure-2.
Figure 2: Distribution of generation resources in India
In a coal fired thermal power station, the heat produced by burning the
pulverised coal transforms the water into high pressure steam, which is then
superheated to about 550
C. This superheated, high-pressure steam is then
passed through the turbine, which converts steam energy into rotating
mechanical energy. The steam turbine drives the generator which converts the
mechanical energy into electrical energy. The steam leaving the turbine is
passed through a condenser, where it is converted back to water.
Figure 3: Simplified Steam power plant cycle
This water, known as condensate, is then pumped back into the boiler to
complete the cycle. This process improves the efficiency of the steam cycle.
The main parameters to be controlled in a thermal generating unit are turbine
speed/MW, steam pressure, steam temperature, drum level, furnace draft, air-
fuel ratio, condenser level, de-aerator level and voltage /MVAr.
Large steam turbine generators are sensitive to rapid temperature and
pressure changes. This means that they may take some hours to start up a
unit from a cold condition, bring it up to speed, synchronize, and to load to
maximum. However, when online, they can typically respond to load changes
in the order of tens of MW per minute without damage.
The overall efficiency of a fossil-fired power plant is 30-35 %. Oil support may
be required below about 60% MCR, depending on which mills are operating.
The turbine blades overheat if load is less than 20% MCR. Start-ups and
controlled shut-offs require a few hours each, considerable operator effort &
alertness, extra cost and reduce life. Daily shut-off are not recommended, but
units with high fuel cost can be boxed up by turn.
A brief description of the important components of a steam power plant is
given below.
S No. Component Description
i Boiler Used for converting water into steam
at required temperature and pressure
ii Turbine Turbine converts the thermal energy
of steam into mechanical energy and
drives the generator
iii Condenser Placed immediately below the
turbine. Serves the purpose of
reducing the turbine exhaust
pressure and of recovery of boiler
feed water
iv Boiler feed pump Provides continuous supply of feed
water to boiler at all times at
pressures in excess of the boiler
v Governor A device which automatically controls
the speed and regulates the output of
turbine in all types of power plants.
Consists of speed sensitive device
vi Circulating water pump The cooling water requirement in
steam generators is large (5-8
litres/m/kW) and the availability of
circulating water is essential for
continuous operation of a steam
vii Economizer Used for increasing thermal efficiency
by causing the heat in exhaust gases
to be absorbed by feed water
viii Air heater Used to preheat the air used for
combustion in order to raise thermal
efficiency by causing air to absorb as
much heat as possible from the flue
gases. It is installed after
Economizer. The hot flue gases pass
within the tubes while air is made to
pass on the outside over the tubes.
ix Soot Blower Adherence of ash to the heating
surface of the boiler can plug the
spaces between the water tubes and
increase draft resistance to such as
extent that the stoppage of boiler for
cleaning operations becomes
necessary. Soot blowers are used to
remove the ash adhering to the water
tubes during operation periodically.
x Forced draft fan Used to force air into combustion
chamber of boiler
xi Induced draft fan Used to provide suction pressure to
remove the exhaust gases from the
chamber of boiler
xii Bowl mill (Ball Mill) Used to pulverise the coal into
powder for sending it to furnace
xiii Dust extraction or
precipitating equipment
Used for removal of dust and fly ash
from the exhaust gases either
mechanically or by a combination of
mechanical and electrostatic
precipitating equipment.
xiv Feed water treatment Water supplied to Boilers must be of
such a purity so as not to cause scale
formation, corrosion and
accumulation of solids within the
boiler drums tubes. The extraction of
impurities is done under water
treatment plant.
xv Generator cooling Hydrogen cooling is a standard
practice in all steam turbine
generators above 20 MW. The
advantages of hydrogen cooling are
high efficiency, increased output, low
windage loss and longer life for
machine. Hydrogen is used at
pressure up to 3kg/cm
.Because of
the explosive nature of the hydrogen
gas, the pressure and purity of the
hydrogen are automatically controlled
xvi Exciters Exciters are used to create magnetic
flux in the air gap.
The total installed capacity of coal fired thermal stations in India may be seen
from ( The largest unit size is
660 MW. The major coal fired thermal stations in India are tabulated below.
Table 1: Installed Capacity of major thermal power stations in India
Station State Commissioned
Capacity (MW)
1 Singrauli Uttar Pradesh 2000
2 Korba Chhatisgarh 2600
3 Ramagundam Andhra
4 Farakka West Bengal 2100
5 Vindhyachal Madhya
6 Rihand Uttar Pradesh 2000
7 Kahalgaon Bihar 2340
8 NCTPP Dadri Uttar Pradesh 1820
9 Talcher
Orissa 3000
10 Unchahar Uttar Pradesh 1050
11 Simhadri Andhra
12 Sipat Chhatisgarh 1660
13 Anpara Uttar Pradesh 1630
14 Ropar Punjab 1260
15 Neyveli-II Tamil Nadu 1470
16 Suratgarh Rajasthan 1500
17 Wanakbori Gujarat 1470
18 Panipat Haryana 1360
19 Dr. N. Tata
20 Rayalasema Andhra
21 Barkeshwar West Bengal 1050
22 Mundra Gujarat 1980
23 Kota Rajasthan 1240
Tripping of a thermal unit causes thermal shocks and reduces plant life. A full-
load trip of combined cycle unit causes high thermal stresses and reduces GT
life by 500 hours.Thus tripping of thermal units should be avoided / prevented
as long as possible. The common reasons for outage of thermal units are
described in the section below.
a) Drum level high or low
b) Fire out/Flame failure:
c) Furnace pressure high/low
d) Induced draft (I.D.) fan outage
e) Forced draft (F.D.) fan outage
f) Primary air (P.A.) fan outage
g) Boiler tube leakages
h) Bowl mill/ball mill outage
i) Air pre heater (APH) problem
j) Bottom ash disposal system (BADS) problem
a) Axial shaft high
b) Lube oil pressure low
c) Tripping of circulating water (CW) pumps/low vacuum in condenser
d) Steam temperature high/low
e) Steam pressure high
f) Boiler feed pump trip
g) Problem in main steam valve/control valve/emergency stop valve
h) Over speed trip
i) Abnormal vibrations
j) Eccentricity high
k) Condenser tube leakage/choking
l) Governing system problem
m) H.P. heater outage
n) Dearerator level low
a) Generator differential protection: This is the main protection for the
stator winding against phase-to-phase faults and trips the generator
immediately. Usually an overall differential protection for the generator
and generator transformer is provided.
b) Rotor earth fault protection: A single earth fault on the field winding or in
the excitation system of a generator is not dangerous to the machine
and the unit may be taken out at an opportune time. However a second
earth fault will result in a part of the field winding being short circuited
resulting in magnetic unbalance of the field system with subsequent
mechanical damage to the machine bearings. The unit trips under these
c) Loss of field protection: Failure of the field system results in the
generator operating as an induction generator, drawing magnetizing
current from the system. This will result in overloading of the stator and
overheating of the rotor and the unit is tripped in case the field supply is
not restored within a set time.
d) Negative Sequence protection: Unbalanced loadings on the three
phases causes negative sequence current to flow in the stator winding.
These result in severe heating of the rotor due to the double frequency
currents induced in it. If the negative sequence current exceeds a
particular limit, the unit trips after a time delay.
e) Low forward power/reverse power relay: In case the steam supply to
the turbine gets cut off and the generator will start acting as a motor.
This may result in overheating and distortion of the turbine blades. Unit
is set to trip with a time delay.
f) Hydrogen leakage: Unit is set to trip if hydrogen pressure goes below a
particular limit.
g) D.M. water conductivity high: Demineralized water is used to cool the
stator winding bars. Unit is set to trip in case of low flow or in case when
conductivity is above a particular limit.
h) Overfluxing in generator/transformer
i) Undervoltage on 6.6 kV auxiliary supply or station supply failure: An
under voltage relay with a time delay is provided to trip the power
station 6.6 kV and 415 V auxiliaries whenever the voltage goes below
70%. This results in tripping of the entire power station. This protection
is necessary to avoid stalling of the A.C. motors and consequent
damage to the power station auxiliaries.
j) Generator transformer outage: Tripping of the generator transformer
due to any of the reasons (operation of Buchholz relay, differential
protection, winding/oil temperature high, back-up over current and earth
fault protection, over fluxing etc.) will result in tripping of the unit.
House load operation means that the generating unit is operating in isolation
to the grid and generating electric power to cater to its own auxiliaries.
Gas turbines, also known as combustion turbines, use combustion products
directly. The gaseous products of combustion pass directly through turbine,
where the heat energy is converted into rotating mechanical energy. The fuel
burned could be natural gas, high speed diesel, naptha etc.
The term ‘combined cycle’ implies any heat and power producing process
where the prime movers employ more than one working fluid in combination of
turbines. The most common and practical form of such plant is the
combination of one or more gas turbines with a steam turbine. The combined
cycle uses the inherent characteristics of the gas turbine process, where
combustion takes place and, following expansion in the turbine, the heat
rejected is utilized for steam generation. Typically the steam turbine output will
be about 50% of the gas turbine output.
Figure 4: Simplified combined cycle plant employing one gas turbine and
one steam turbine
The overall efficiency of a gas power station is 45-50 %. The efficiency of the
Gas Turbine is maximum when it is operating at MCR. The heat rate of the
plant remains nearly same up to 80% load and then deteriorates rapidly.
Therefore utility operators hesitate to bring down the load to below 80% for
sake of efficiency. However the combined cycle plant can easily run at part
loads though frequent ramp up and down increases the maintenance
requirements. Under low demand conditions, it is advisable to close down one
GT in a module and load the remaining units on full load. If required combined
cycle power plants may be operated in 2 - shifts may be module-wise by turn.
The firing temperature of the gas turbine is the most critical parameter as it
has a direct effect on MW, efficiency, life and cost. The maximum continuous
rating goes up (down) considerably when ambient temperature goes down
The major combined cycle power stations in India are given in table below
Table 2: Installed Capacity of major combined cycle power station in
Station Commissioned
Capacity (MW)
1 Anta 413
2 Auraiya 652
3 Kawas 645
4 Dadri 817
5 Jhanor-
6 Kayamkulam 350
7 Faridabad 430
8 Ratnagiri 1940
9 Uran 672
10 Pragati 330
11 Essar 515
12 Gautam 464
13 Pragati-II 500
14 Peguthan 655
15 Sugen 1147
16 Vemagiri 370
17 Kondapalli 350

In a nuclear plant, the basic cycle is similar to that of a fossil plant- that is,
steam is used to run the turbine-generators. However the heat is obtained
from the fission of nuclear fuel such as uranium instead of burning fossil fuel.
The difference is that the heat necessary to change the water into steam
comes from a nuclear reaction-not from burning fossil fuels. The various
designs for nuclear generators include the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) and
the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR).
Figure 5: Reactor layout and containment system of Boiling Water
Due to stringent government requirements concerning the safety of nuclear
plants, design requirements for a nuclear reactor are far more complicated
than for the fossil-fired or hydro units. They are also more complicated to
operate, when one considers such items as waste disposal, safety, licensing
etc. Nuclear power stations are normally operated as base load plants. The
reactor power is controlled by inserting / withdrawing the control rods. The
temperature differential of coolant across the reactor is the most critical
parameter for stable reactor control.
Figure 6: Simplified flow diagram of PHWR
The list of nuclear power stations in India is given in table below:
Table 3: Installed Capacity of nuclear power stations in India
Capacity (MW)
1 TAPS-1&2 BWR 320
2 TAPS-3&4 PHWR 1080
The principal nuclear processes occurring during irradiation which affect
reactor operation are
1. the burn-up of fissile isotopes
2. the build up of transuranic* elements, some of which are fissionable
3. the build up of fission products which absorb neutrons to varying
*Transuranic elements are elements with atomic number greater than 92 that
do not exist in nature but are produced artificially.
U-235 Te-135
Cs-135 Ba-135
Xenon Production Xenon Destruction
Figure 7: Production and destruction of Xenon
Xenon (Xe-135) is one such fission product. It has a fairly short half-life but a
high neutron absorption capability. The Xenon produced during nuclear fission
is destroyed by neutron absorption as well as radioactive decay. During
normal operation the production and removal of Xenon is in perfect
equilibrium. However when a nuclear reactor is suddenly shutdown, the
removal of Xenon (by neutron absorption) is reduced to zero but the
production of Xenon by radioactive decay of iodine (one of the fission product)
does not immediately reduce and the net result is an increase in xenon level.
A peak in xenon level is reached after about ten hours and then decays over
two or three days (refer figure below).
In order to override the xenon build-up extra reactivity is needed. Without it the
reactor may not be capable of achieving criticality and starting up during few
days immediately following a reactor shutdown.
During grid operation it has been observed that the reactor shut down may be
caused by outage of evacuating feeders. From the figure it may be inferred
that under such conditions it is important that evacuation is extended within 30
minutes else the reactor would achieve criticality after 36 hours.
Figure 8: Xenon reactivity load
Considering the stringent safety requirements and the complexities associated
with reactor poisoning, the nuclear generating plants are operated with a
carefully designed islanding scheme. Whenever the grid parameters are
unfavourable the nuclear generators are designed to island themselves.
In hydro plants, electric power is generated by water flowing through turbine,
which is coupled solidly to a generator. The amount of power produced is
proportional to the flow and the “head”, or the height of the reservoir above the
tail race. The “head” is usually provided by building a dam. In the design of a
hydro power plant, consideration must be given to the seasonal variations in
water flow. Thus the hydro station could be of run-of-the river type and
storage type. During the high inflow period the hydro plants are generally
operated at steady power output. However during the lean period the hydro
plants are generally operated as peaking plants. An example of a hydro
peaking plant is the pumped storage system. In this system, use is made of
two reservoirs—one upper and one lower. During the off-peak periods when
the demand is low, water is pumped from the lower to the upper reservoir.
Then during peak periods when power demand is high, the same water is
allowed to flow down through the hydro turbine generators, and therefore,
produce power at the time when it is most required on the system. Normally
both the machine does both jobs—pumping and generating.
Hydro turbine generators rotate at relatively slow speed in the range of 100 to
250 revolutions per minute. One advantage of the hydro unit is that it can be
started up synchronized and loaded within few minutes. The CERC tariff
regulations recognize three types of hydro stations: run-of-river hydro stations;
run-of-river with pondage; and storage. Each of these is defined below:
a) ‘Run-of-river generating station’ means a hydro generating station
which does not have upstream pondage;
b) ‘Run –of-river generating station with pondage’ means a hydro
generating station with sufficient pondage for meeting the diurnal
variation of power demand;
c) ‘Storage type generating station’ means a hydro generating station
associated with large storage capacity to enable variation of generation
of electricity according to demand;
The reservoir level in a hydro station must be maintained between the Full
Reservoir Level (FRL) and the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL). The FRL
is the maximum height of the water in the reservoir. It is typically reached at
the peak of the rainy season. If water rises above FRL, it is let out through
gates to protect the dam. The MDDL is the minimum permissible level in the
The difference levels of water at the storage reservoir and the turbine is called
the ‘Head’. Head is measure in metres and is like pressure. When water flows
down through the penstock and valves, some pressure is lost due to friction.
This friction head is around 5% and the remaining ‘net head’ contributes to
power generation. The rate of flow of water is measured in cubic
metres/second. One cubic metre is equal to 1000 litres.
Water flows from the reservoir through the penstock to the turbine to generate
power. The water flowing in the penstock has some pressure (because of the
height difference between the reservoir and turbine) and some speed
(because water will be flowing at an increasing speed as it comes down the
penstock). At the turbine, if the water is converted to jets of water, then all the
potential energy will be converted into kinetic energy. This jet can be made to
turn a wheel producing rotational mechanical energy and such turbines are
called impulse turbines. Such turbines are used where the flow is generally
low but head is large.
On the other hand, if the water is made to flow through an enclosed space in
the turbine, making the turbine blades turn, the water will have both pressure
energy and kinetic energy. Both these types of energy are converted into
rotational mechanical energy by the turbine. Such turbines are called pressure
turbine or reaction turbines. In reaction turbines the pressure drop takes place
in both fixed and rotating parts of the machine. The reaction turbine range
from radial flow turbines (such as Francis turbine) to axial or propeller types
(such as Kaplan turbine).
Figure 9: Pelton wheel turbine
The Pelton turbine is like a water wheel. A jet of water hits the bucket like
turbine blades at a tangent, making the wheel turn. This is used when the
head is large (more than 250 metres).
Figure 10: Francis turbine
In Francis turbine, water flows into the turbine along the blades in a radial
direction and flows out along the axis. It is used when the head is medium (16-
70 metres).
The flow of water in a Kaplan turbine is like the airflow in a plane propeller.
Water enters along the axis from one side and leaves from the other side
along the axis.
Figure 11: Kaplan turbine
Power generated by the turbine is related to the head, water flow rate and
efficiency of the turbine. The higher the head or the water flow rate, the higher
the power generation possible. Considering the turbine efficiency of 90 % and
generator efficiency of 85-90%, an approximate formula for electric power
output by a hydro generator is:
Power = 8 x Net Head x Flow rate/1000; Power in kW, Net head in metres and
flow rate in litres/second.
Major hydro electric power stations in India are tabulated below:
Table 4: Installed Capacity of major hydro stations in India
Station Units Commissioned
Capacity (MW)
1 Bhakra (Right) 5x157 785
2 Dehar 6x165 990
3 Chamera-I 3x180 540
4 Nathpa Jhakri 6x250 1500
5 Tehri 4x250 1000
6 Ranjit Sagar Dam 4x150 600
7 Baghlihar 3x150 450
8 Sadar Sarovar-
6x200 1200
9 Koyna 4x250 1000
10 Bhira PSS 1x150 150
11 Srisailam LBPH 6x150 900
12 Kalinadi 3x135+3x15
13 Upper Indravati 4x150 600
14 Purulia PSS 4x225 900
15 Teesta 3x170 510
16 Ranganadi 3x135 405
Some hydro stations can generate only reactive power. This is known as
‘condenser mode of operation. In this mode, a minimum water flow is to be
maintained and the unit will consume some active power from the grid (around
8-10% of its capacity).
Table 5: List of Hydro Generators Capable of running in Synchronous
Condenser Mode
Sl. No. Utility SubStation Capacity (MW)
1 BBMB Pong 6 X 66 = 396
2 HPSEB Larji 3 X 42 = 126
3 PSEB Ranjit Sagar HEP
4 X 150 = 600
4 RVUN Rana Pratap Sagar
4 X 43 = 172
5 RVUN Jawahar Sagar (JS) 3 X 33 = 99
6 THDC Tehri 2 X 250 = 500
Tehri HEP units in Northern Region were tested for operating as a
synchronous condenser mode on 7
April 2008, 09
April 2008, 3
2009 and 4
August 2009. The plots are shown below.
4:00:00 4:16:40 4:33:20 4:50:00 5:06:40 5:23:20 5:40:00 5:56:40
Tehri Synchronous Condenser mode of Operation on 7th April 2008
Unit 3 MW
Unit 3 MVAR
Meerut kV
Mandaula kV
Figure 12: Synchronous Condenser Operation at Tehri on 27th April 2008
4:30:00 4:46:40 5:03:20 5:20:00 5:36:40 5:53:20 6:10:00 6:26:40
Tehri Synchronous Condenser mode of Operation on 9th April 2008
Unit 3 MW
Unit 3 MVAR
Meerut kV
Mandaula kV
Figure 13: Synchronous Consenser Operation at Tehri on 27th April 2008
166 MVAR
374 KV
384 KV
Synchronous Condenser Mode of Tehri HEP
on 3-Aug-2009
Figure 14: Synchronous Condenser Operation at Tehri on 03rd Aug 2009
161 MVAR
382 KV
Synchronous Condenser Mode of Tehri HEP
on 4-Aug-2009
Figure 15: Synchronous condenser Operation at Tehri on 04th Aug 2009

Table 6: Synchronous condenser operation at Tehri HEP
Mode of
Energy Consumed (-ve)/
Generated (+ve) by the
-92 1004
-122 -2674
-28 481
-16 311
Average -64 1118
Pumped Storage type hydro generation comprises cyclic/daily conversion of
the off-peak surplus capacity in a given power system into on-peak power. The
surplus power which may come from run-of-river type hydro, thermal, nuclear
or renewable energy sources is used to pump water from lower (tail) pool to
the head reservoir and utilizing the stored water (hydro) potential to generate
power to supply the system peak load period. Pumped storage operation could
be utilized for frequency control in the grid. However it involves a net loss of
energy in each cycle of operation. Therefore for its economics and
competiveness, it has to take all the above factors into account.
Pumped storage power stations in operation in India are tabulated below.
Table 7: Pumped Storage Plants in India
Station Location Commissioned Capacity
1 Kadamparai
Tamil Nadu 4 x 100 MW
2 Srisailam L.B.
6 x 150 MW
3 Purulia PSS West Bengal 6 x 150 MW
4 Ghatgar PSS Gujarat 250 MW
5 Bhira PSS Maharashtra 1 x 150 MW
Figure 16: Typical operation of Kadamparai PSP
Figure 17: Kadamparai pump operation (Million Units) 2008-09 to 2010-11
Wind power plants use large spinning blades to capture the kinetic energy in
moving wind, which then is transferred to rotors that produce electricity. The
power extracted from wind by a wind turbine may be given by the equation
P= (½) ρ v
π r
P = mechanical power
ρ = air density
v = wind speed
r = wind turbine rotor radius
Cp = coefficient of efficiency
λ = tip-speed ratio (i.e. the ratio of blade tip speed to wind speed)
It is clear that air density, the speed of the air and the radius of the wind
turbine rotor are not controllable. Thus, to maximize energy output from a wind
turbine, based on (1), the only parameter that can be controlled is the
coefficient of efficiency (Cp). The theoretical maximum value of Cp is 0.593
(Betz’s Law). In practice, Cp values close to 0.4 are achievable. For a given
blade pitch and rotation speed, Cp is a non-linear function of wind speed and
will peak at a given turbine tip-speed to wind speed ratio (called the ‘tip-speed
ratio’), and will drop off again to zero at higher tip-speed ratios. A good wind
site may have an average wind speed ranging around 7 to 10 m/s. Very high
wind speeds occur seldom and also tend to put significant stress on the
turbine. Thus, the turbine would be typically designed to extract the maximum
amount of wind energy possible at wind speeds between 10 to say 15 m/s,
and to start to spill away some of the power at wind speeds in excess of 15
m/s until they shut-down at relatively high wind speed – typically, in excess of
20 to 25 m/s. That is, a mechanism is required to control the turbine power
once wind speeds increase beyond a certain amount, in order to avoid
increasing the turbine power above its rating. To achieve this necessitates a
form of power control on the turbine.
Wind turbines are manufactured by many companies around the world. There
are essentially three major types of wind turbine designs:
1. Constant speed turbines
2. Variable speed turbines
3. Gearless turbines
Constant speed turbines employ conventional induction generators while
variable speed designs are based either on doubly-fed asynchronous
generators or conventional generators connected to the grid through a full
back-to-back frequency converter. Gearless turbines typically use
conventional or permanent magnet generators connected to the grid through a
full back-to-back frequency converter.
As per the website of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy up to 31
2011 a total capacity of 14156 MW of wind energy has been installed, as
per following break-up.
Table 8: Wind Generation Installed Capacity
S No. State Capacity (MW)
1 Tamil Nadu 5904
2 Maharashtra 2317
3 Karnataka 1727
4 Rajasthan 1525
5 Madhya Pradesh 276
6 Andhra Pradesh 192
7 Kerala 35
8 Others 4
It is now widely accepted that for large wind farms connected to the bulk
transmission system, it is expected that the wind turbines should be able to
ride through a normally cleared single or multi-phase fault that occurs at the
transmission voltage level (not within the wind farm collector system).
Figure 18: Schematic for explaining fault ride through
To illustrate the point consider the figure of a hypothetical system give above.
In this case, if a fault were to occur at F3 or F4 it is clear that wind farms 1 or
2, respectively, would be essentially disconnected from the system and thus
would not be expected to ride through the disturbance – for these disturbances
wind farm 3 should remain connected to the system. However, for all the other
faults shown (F1, F2, F5, F6 and F7) it is quite reasonable to expect that all
three wind farms ride-through the fault while line relays clear the particular
faults. Otherwise, one might experience the loss of several hundred
megawatts of generation together with the loss of the faulted line. This would
further aggravate the problem and lead to potential stability concerns system
wide. This is particularly true if a single disturbance should lead to a total loss
of wind generation equal to or greater than the single largest generating facility
on the system – most systems will carry enough spinning reserve to
accommodate for the forced outage of the largest unit on the system.
Various technical standards to be complied by a generator connected in the
Grid may be referred to in the Central Electricity Authority (Technical
Standards for Construction of Electrical Plants and Electric Lines) Regulations,
2010 ; CEA (Technical Standards for Connectivity to the Grid) Regulations,
2010; Indian Electricity Grid Code.
a) ‘Maximum Continuous Rating' or MCR in relation to a unit of the
thermal generating station means the maximum continuous output at
the generator terminals, guaranteed by the manufacturer at rated
parameters, and in relation to a block of a combined cycle thermal
generating station means the maximum continuous output at the
generator terminals, guaranteed by the manufacturer with water or
steam injection (if applicable) and corrected to 50 Hz grid frequency
and specified site conditions; [‘block’ in relation to a combined cycle
thermal generating station includes combustion turbine-generator,
associated waste heat recovery boiler, connected steam turbine-
generator and auxiliaries;]
d) 'Auxiliary Energy Consumption' or AUX in relation to a period in case
of a generating station means the quantum of energy consumed by
auxiliary equipment of the generating station, and transformer losses
within the generating station, expressed as a percentage of the sum of
gross energy generated at the generator terminals of all the units of the
generating station. Auxiliary Energy Consumption (AUX) for coal fired
stations may be in the range of 6% to 12%. AUX in lignite fired stations
is usually higher. For gas power stations the AUX may typically be 3%
in combined cycle operation and 1% in open cycle operation. AUX for
hydro stations is usually in the range of 0.7% (for rotating exciter) to
1.2% (static exciter).
e) 'Design Energy' means the quantum of energy which can be
generated in a 90% dependable year with 95% installed capacity of the
hydro generating station;
f) `Gross Calorific Value’ or GCV in relation to a thermal generating
station means the heat produced in kCal by complete combustion of
one kilogram of solid fuel or one litre of liquid fuel or one standard cubic
meter of gaseous fuel, as the case may be;
g) `Gross Station Heat Rate’ or GHR means the heat energy input in
kCal required to generate one kWh of electrical energy at generator
terminals of a thermal generating station; Typical Gross Station Heat
Rate (GHR) for coal fired 200/210/250 MW set is 2500 kCal/KWh.
Typical GHR for coal fired 500 MW Sets (Sub-critical) is 2425
kCal/kWh. For old thermal units GHR may be higher. Typical GHR for
gas power station in combined cycle may be in the range of 2040 to
2400 kCal/kWh while in open cycle it may be in the range of 2960-3500
h) 'Plant Availability Factor (PAF)' in relation to a generating station for
any period means the average of the daily declared capacities (DCs) for
all the days during that period expressed as a percentage of the
installed capacity in MW reduced by the normative auxiliary energy
i) 'Unit' in relation to a thermal generating station other than combined
cycle thermal generating station means steam generator, turbine-
generator and auxiliaries, or in relation to a combined cycle thermal
generating station, means turbine-generator and auxiliaries; and in
relation to a hydro generating station means turbine-generator and its
[1]. Central Electricity Authority (Technical Standards for Construction of
Electric Plants and Electric Lines) Regulations 2010
[2]. Central Electricity Authority (Technical Standards for Connectivity to the
Grid) Regulations 2010
[3]. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Terms and Conditions of
Tariff) Regulations, 2009
[4]. CBIP Publication No. 288, Hydroelectric Power Stations in Operation in
India, 2003
[5]. Guthrie-Brown, J. (Ed), Hydro-Electric Engineering Practice’, Blackie
and Son
[6]. CIGRE Technical Brochure No. 328, ‘Modeling Wind Generation’
[7]. Power point presentation by Sh Bhanu Bhushan, in the classroom
session, on ‘Generation Technologies’ held at PSTSI Bangalore
[8]. PRAYAS (Energy) Group, ‘Know Your Power-A Citizen’s Primer on the
Electricity Sector’,2
Edition, May 2006
[9]. British Electricity International Limited, ‘Modern Power Station Practice-
Turbines, Generators and Associated Plants, Volume C’, 3
March 1990
[10]. British Electricity International Limited, ‘Modern Power Station Practice-
Nuclear Power Generation, Volume J’, 3
edition, March 1990
No. Topic
1. Introduction
2. Power Supply Frequency
3. Adverse Effects Of Frequency Fluctuations
4. Frequency Standards
5. Frequency Control
6. Primary Response from Generators
7. Primary Response from Load / Load Damping
8. Equilibrium Frequency
9. Frequency Response Characteristics
10. Rate of Change of Frequency
11. Frequency Control Through Market Mechanism
12. Defense Mechanism
13. Monitoring Frequency Profile
14. Reference
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time.
For cyclical processes, such as rotation, oscillations, or waves, frequency is
defined as a number of cycles per unit time. In physics and engineering
disciplines, frequency is usually denoted by a Latin letter f or by a Greek letter
ν (nu). In SI units, the unit of frequency is the hertz (Hz), named after the
German physicist Heinrich Hertz: 1 Hz means that an event repeats once per
second. It is sometimes also referred as cycles per second.
A traditional unit of measure used with rotating mechanical devices is
revolutions per minute, abbreviated RPM.
The period, usually denoted by T, is the length of time taken by one cycle, and
is the reciprocal of the frequency f:
The SI unit for period is the second.
In a power system, the frequency indicates the number of times the voltage
reverses in half a second. The rated frequency of power supply in India (as in
many other countries) is 50 Hz (or cycles per second). This implies that all
electrical equipment to be used in India has to be designed for a power supply
frequency of 50.0 Hz. Not only this, all mechanical equipment driven by
electric motors has to be designed for running at a speed corresponding to its
motor’s speed when power supply frequency is 50.0 Hz. Likewise at 50 Hz, a
two pole turbine generator would run at 50 rps or 3000 rpm at 50 Hz while at
49 Hz it would run at 2940 rpm. The relationship between the mechanical
speed and the power supply frequency is as under:
f : Frequency in Hz
P : Number of poles
N : Rotor revolutions per minute
In a synchronous system the frequency must be same at every point in the
grid because the polarity of voltage produced by all generators must be same
at a particular time and must reverse together.
The frequency does not remain constant because the consumer load keeps
changing from time to time and the generation is not changing in step with the
load. The normal operating frequency range allowed by the Indian Electricity
Grid Code w.e.f 3rd May 2010 is 49.5-50.2 Hz.
Lighting and heating appliances are generally insensitive to supply frequency.
Most of other equipment is sensitive to frequency in one manner or the other.
Performance of the rotating load is influenced by power supply frequency. Low
frequency would generally reduce the efficacy of a motorized appliance,
whereas high frequency can cause overloading. At frequency lower than the
rated value, the output of the motor would reduce. At frequency higher than
the rated value, the motor may get overloaded. Abnormal speed may cause
heating, damage rotor shaft, bearings etc.
The power generating capability of the turbine is directly proportional to its
speed, which is proportional to grid frequency. The total generating capability
of a power plant is however dependent on the performance of the auxiliaries
(i.e. the pumps and fans in the power plant). At low frequency, the output of
the auxiliaries decrease and thus reduce the output of the generating unit.
The last stage blades of large steam turbines are sensitive to resonant
vibrations at both high and low frequencies. Abnormal frequency has adverse
impact on the turbine blade life. Different turbine manufacturers specify
somewhat different ranges of frequency in which their turbine can operate
without risk to their blades. Operation at frequencies outside this range can
result in fatigue and breaking of turbine blades and can cause serious damage
to the turbine generator.
The gas turbines are prone to compressor surging at low frequencies, which
are very damaging. Further the manufacturers stipulate tripping of a gas
turbine when frequency moves out of the permissible range. Such trippings
have a very serious effect on gas turbine life because of the sudden
quenching, differential expansion/contraction and thermal/mechanical
Frequency fluctuations mean corresponding changes in the speed of coolant
pumps, and consequent changes in coolant flow through the reactor. This
leads to fluctuations in the differential temperature (between coolant at outlet
and inlet), even when generating a constant amount of heat. This gives an
erroneous control signal and causes unnecessary perturbations in the reactor
control system which calls for stresses to fuel rods and reduction of their
useful life.
Low frequency may cause over fluxing in transformers due to core saturation.
This can be easily inferred if one refers the relationship between the induced
EMF, frequency and the Flux generated in the core of any electrical machine.
Voltage = 4.44 x Frequency x Number of turns x Flux in the core
This implies that the flux generated in the core would be very high if high
voltage and low frequency occur simultaneously.
Effectiveness of shunt capacitors and reactors fall with frequency. The
capacitance and reactance of transmission lines vary with frequency. A
reduction in frequency will result in instrument errors of approximately 1%.
Voltage is proportional to the frequency. At reduced frequency the magnetizing
current of transformers, motors and other inductive equipment is increased,
thereby increasing the system reactive load. The kVArs supplied by shunt
capacitors overhead lines and underground cables vary directly as frequency.
Also a 10% reduction in voltage will reduce the kVArs by 10%. In a nutshell
low frequency may result into low voltage and high frequency may result into
high voltage in the power system.
Selection of a power frequency is a matter of considerable importance. During
the development of commercial electric power systems in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, many different frequencies (and voltages) had been
used. Efforts were directed towards standardization because generators could
be interconnected to operate in parallel only if they are of the same frequency
and wave-shape. By standardizing the frequency used, generators in a
geographic area could be interconnected in a grid, providing reliability and cost
savings. It was also realized that international trade in electrical equipment
would be possible only after standardization. However it wasn't until after
World War II with the advent of affordable electrical consumer goods that more
uniform standards were enacted.
Large investment in equipment at one frequency made standardization a slow
process. In Britain, a standard frequency of 50 Hz was adopted in 1904. Most
parts of the United States of America used 60 Hz as standard frequency. The
standard frequency in the SAARC countries including India is 50.0 Hz. Thus
both 50 Hz and 60 Hz frequencies co-exist today (some countries such as
Japan use both) with no technical reason to prefer one over the other and no
apparent desire for complete worldwide standardization.
Operation at the rated frequency is most desirable. Permissible band of
frequency would be determined by the obligations to the consumers,
requirements of power plants, and requirement of power system. The present
Indian Electricity Rules permit a frequency variation of +/- 3%, i.e. from 48.5
Hz to 51.5 Hz. This implies that no consumer can complain if the supply
frequency is in this range, which means that all equipment has to be designed
to be capable of (i) delivering the necessary output even when the frequency
is down to 48.5 Hz, and (ii) withstanding the overloading when frequency rises
to 51.5 Hz. Designing the equipment for such requirements does increase its
cost, but these are the statutory requirements. This however has a beneficial
side effect: additional margins in equipment design, which means extra
efficacy and more life in case the frequency remains closer to 50.0 Hz.
Time for Operation
100 MW, 200
MW, 210 MW
of Russian
49.0 to 50.5 Continuous unrestricted operation
50.5 to 51.0
3 minutes at a stretch and 500 minutes in
whole life
48.0 to 49.0
3 minutes at a stretch and 500 minutes in
whole life
47.0 to 48.0
1 minutes at a stretch and 180 minutes in
whole life
46.0 to 47.0
10 seconds at a stretch and 30 minutes in
whole life
210 MW, 500
47.5 to 51.5 Continuous unrestricted operation
Below 47.5 2 hours in whole life
Above 51.5 2 hours in whole life
200 MW of GE
48.5 to 50.5 Continuous unrestricted operation
50.5 to 51.0 90 minutes in whole life
48.0 to 48.5 90 minutes in whole life
51.0 to 51.5 15 minutes in whole life
47.5to 48.0 15 minutes in whole life
51.5 to 52.0 1 minute in whole life
47.0 to 47.5 1 minute in whole life
2x220 KW
English Electric
Summation in lifetime
t<= 3 minutes where ‘t’ is the operating
time for incidents of frequency excursion
below 48.5 Hz
> 51.5 Not recommended
110 MW of
Skoda Design
49.0 – 51.0 Continuous unrestricted operation
48.0 - 49.0 2 Hours at a stretch and 30 hours in a year
47.0 – 48.0 30 minutes at a stretch and 2 hours in a
Source : Extracts from the report of “Task Force on Frequency Control” NREB,
1992 in the PSEB letter dated 06.10.1998.
Figure 1: Permissible range of frequency for steam turbine
The frequency standard, permissible frequency band and the permissible
deviation as a percentage of standard frequency in various countries are
shown in the table below.
Frequency Band
Deviation (%)
60 Hz 59.95 – 60.05 +/- 0.00083%
60 Hz 59.856 – 60.144 +/- 0.0024%
Nordic countries 50 Hz 49.9 – 50.1 +/- 0.02%
Europe 50 Hz 49.8 – 50.2 +/- 0.004%
Bangladesh 50 Hz 49.5 – 51.0 +/- 2%
Bhutan 50 Hz 49.2 – 50.3 +/- 2%
India 50 Hz 49.5 – 50.3 - 1.6%/+0.6%
Maldives 50 Hz 49.5 – 50.5 +/- 1%
Nepal 50 Hz 49.5 – 50.5 +/- 1%
Pakistan 50 Hz 49.5 – 50.5 +/- 1%
Sri Lanka 50 Hz 49.5 – 50.5 +/- 1%
Table 1 : Frequency Standard Adopted in Various Countries
The regulations regarding frequency standard adopted in India may be
referred in IEGC 5.2(m).
Frequency control is an essential requirement of reliable electric power system
operations. At the most basic level, the input energy of a generator must
balance. If more mechanical energy is being delivered to a generator than
electrical energy is being removed from the electrical terminals then the
excess energy will be stored in the generator’s rotation (kinetic energy),
resulting in acceleration of the generator. Likewise, if more electrical power is
taken out of the generator than mechanical power is put into it, then the
generator will decelerate. The magnitude of acceleration depends upon the
quantity of the power mismatch, and the inertia of the turbine – generator.
Inertia is a physical constant of each turbine-generator that defines its ability to
store rotational kinetic energy, and is analogous to mass. Power system
frequency responds to a generation and load imbalance in the same manner.
The rate at which frequency moves depends upon the magnitude of the
energy imbalance and the inertia of all of the generators and loads within the
Steam input to turbo-generators (or water input to hydro generators)
must be continuously regulated to match the active power demand
Fig. 2 : Energy Conversion in Power System
Chemical Energy (Coal)
Potential Energy (Water)
Kinetic Energy
Mechanical Energy
Heat Energy
Light Energy
Electrical Energy
Frequency provides an indication of the interconnection’s generation/load
balance. It is instantly available everywhere within the interconnection without
the need for additional communications. This facilitates dispensed,
autonomous response to system casualties by generators and loads.
Frequency response is classified into three categories – primary, secondary,
and tertiary control.
5.1 Primary Frequency Control
Primary frequency control involves autonomous and automatic actions to
arrest deviations in power system frequency whenever imbalances arise
between load and generation. Primary frequency control actions are fast; they
are measured in MW/seconds. Primary frequency control actions include
governor response, load damping, and more recently voluntary frequency
responsive load control, all of which contribute to frequency response.
The rate of frequency decline is slowed by “load rejection”. Motor load in
particular is affected by frequency. When frequency drops, the motors slow
down and they produce less work and therefore consume less energy.
All generators have some type of governor control. The governor on a
generator is basically identical to cruise control on an automobile. The
governor senses a change in speed and allows more energy to be delivered to
the generator’s prime mover (more water in a hydro station, more steam to a
turbine, more fuel to a combustion turbine).
5.2 Secondary Frequency Control
Secondary frequency control involves centrally coordinated actions to return
frequency to its scheduled value. Secondary frequency control actions are
slower than primary frequency control actions; they are measured in MW/min.
They are deployed both during normal operations and after primary frequency
control resources have arrested frequency following major disturbances.
Secondary frequency control actions include generation (or load) that
responds to automatic generation control (AGC) signals or to operator
dispatch commands. AGC is often referred to as “regulation” service.
In line with regulation 6.4.5 of IEGC, the regional grids shall be operated as
power pools with decentralized scheduling and despatch, in which the States
shall have operational autonomy. Further in line with regulation 6.4.6, the
regional entities are allowed to deviate from their interchange schedule as long
as such deviations do not cause system parameters to deteriorate beyond
permissible limits and/or do not lead to unacceptable line loading. Thus there
is no provision for secondary frequency control in India.
5.3 Tertiary Frequency Control
Tertiary frequency control involves centrally coordinated actions to dispatch
generation (or load) to move to a new operating point while maintaining
balanced operation. They include coordinated dispatch changes in opposite
directions, raise and lower as well as increasing generation to replace
generation losses. Tertiary frequency control actions are the slowest of
frequency control actions although, like secondary control actions, they are
also measured in MW/min. They include coordinated changes in dispatch to
follow load, implement interchange transactions or coordinated changes in
generating unit loading to redistribute reserves. Tertiary control is often
referred to as “ramping” or “load-following” service.
In India all regional entities have to abide by the concept of frequency-linked
load despatch and pricing of deviations from schedule. This is explained in
sections ahead. In line with IEGC regulation 5.4.2 SLDC/SEB/Distribution
Licensee and bulk consumer have to initiate action to restrict the drawal of its
control area, from the grid, within the net drawal schedule whenever the
system frequency falls to 49.7 Hz. Each SLDC shall regulate the load/own
generation under its control so that it may not draw more than its net drawal
schedule during low frequency conditions and less than its drawal schedule
during high frequency conditions.
The Regional entity generating stations have to maintain generation such that
it may not generate less than its generation schedule during low frequency
conditions and more than its generation schedule during high frequency
conditions. In case any state constituent is likely to face power shortage
situation despite requisitioning its full entitlement from long term bilateral
contracts, then it shall endeavour to enter into a bilateral agreement with the
other state constituents having surplus power and vice-versa. In any case,
during low frequency conditions no state would carry out over-drawals.
Further sudden reduction in generator output by more than one hundred (100)
MW unless, under an emergency condition or, to prevent an imminent damage
to the equipment, is to be avoided, particularly when frequency is falling below
49.5 Hz. Sudden increase in load by more than 100 MW by any regional
entity, particularly when frequency is falling below 49.5 Hz and reduction in
load by such quantum when frequency is rising above 50.2 Hz is also to be
When a generator synchronizes to the interconnection, it couples itself to
hundreds of other machines rotating at the same electrical speed. Each
generator in the system has a turbine governor. The purpose of the governor
is to maintain load-generation balance and hence stop the frequency from
rising or falling as a result of imbalance. The governor on each unit
continuously monitors turbine-generator speed and sends signal to the control
valve to adjust the amount of energy input to the turbine. This energy input
could be steam flow for a steam turbine, water flow for hydro turbine, or fuel oil
or gas for a gas turbine. The contribution by a generator depends upon the
droop setting, load limiter setting and dead band of the governor.
6.1 Speed Droop
Speed droop is the amount of speed (or frequency) change that is necessary
to cause the main prime mover control mechanism to move from fully closed
to fully open. Speed droop is used to control the magnitude of governor
response for a given frequency change so all generators will share response
after a disturbance. In general, the percent movement of the main prime
mover control mechanism can be calculated as the speed change (in percent)
divided by the per unit droop.
When the load on a system generator increases such as when a consumer
switches on a large motor or heater, the generator begins to slow down
because the additional load is met by conversion of some stored kinetic
energy into electrical energy. This causes the electrical frequency to drop.
The governor, sensing the speed change, opens the main steam-valve wider
until the speed (and hence frequency) decay is arrested. When the frequency
decay is arrested the generator will be operating at a frequency lower than
scheduled, but at a higher output. The frequency will remain at a lower level
until the governor set points are adjust by the plant operator.
As per the IEGC regulation 5.2 (f)(ii)(c), all governors shall have speed droop
between 3 – 6%. For example, a 5% speed droop means that if the electrical
frequency drops by 5%, the unit is loaded from zero to full load or vice versa.
Speed droop is a method of controlling how load change is apportioned
among units in parallel. Without droop, the unit whose governor responds the
fastest would pick up the total load change.
Two generators of same rating and have equal droop operating in parallel
share the additional load equally. However, The additional load is shared in
inverse proportion to their unit size if the droop is equal but the unit rating is
Consider the case of two generating units of 100 MW capacity each with
speed regulation of 5% and 2% operating in parallel and operating at 50% of
load. If the initial system load is 100 MW and an additional load of 35 MW
results in a drop in system frequency by 0.5% from normal then the change in
the output of the units would be computed as shown below :
Unit 1 : 0.5 x 100/5 = 10%
Unit 2 : 0.5 x 100/2 = 25%
This is shown in Figure 3.
Fig. 3: Response of two units operating in parallel but having different
speed droop
Subsequently the plant operator may change the dispatch of the system by
moving the droop curve up or down on a number of units. This would
effectively change the set point of the unit as shown in Fig. 4. The re-
despatch is generally based on the merit order of the unit.
Fig. 4 : Supplementary Regulation
As per the IEGC regulation 5.2 (h), the rate for changing the governor setting,
i.e. supplementary control for increasing or decreasing the output (generation
level) for all generating units, irrespective of their type and size, would be one
(1.0) per cent per minute or as per manufacturer’s limits.
6.2 Frequency Linked Despatch Guidelines for Supplementary
All thermal generating units of 200 MW and above as well as all hydro units of
10 MW and above are mandated to participate in primary regulation wherein
the output of the generator increases or decreases without any manual action
when the frequency decreases or increases respectively. However, as per
IEGC regulation 6.4.15, all regional entities should abide by the frequency
linked dispatch guidelines. This implies that each generating stations will
maintain its scheduled generation till a threshold frequency where the
Unscheduled Interchange (UI) rate is more than the variable cost of generation
of that unit. Therefore, when the output of the generating unit has changed as
a result of mandatory primary response, its output may be readjusted (known
as supplementary regulation) depending upon the system frequency and the
variable change of the station.
For this purpose, the threshold frequency for the generating unit shall be
determined from the prevailing design of the Unscheduled Interchange vector
and the variable energy rate of the station. The generator on its own can
reduce generation when frequency goes above this cut-off frequency. For
frequency below cut-off frequency, the generator would respond to frequency
changes but would come back to its set point in a slow manner with ramp
rates of 1% MW per minute.
Figure 5 illustrates the frequency linked dispatch guidelines. The generator
whose variable cost is about ‘X’ paise per unit and can maintain at set point
given by RLDC/SLDC till frequency reaches 50.2 Hz. At 50.2 Hz, the cost of
UI power from the regional pool is also equal to ‘X’ paise per unit.
Fig. 5 : Frequency linked despatch for supplementary regulation
Suppose a generator (say 500 MW) capacity is operating at ‘A’ with 5% droop
and contributing to primary regulation and the set point given is 100% i.e. 500
MW. If frequency falls from 49.8 Hz to 49.6 Hz and the generator would pick
up load upto 105% of the set point (525 MW and limited by load limiter set at
525 MW) instantaneously and the operating point would be at ‘B’. The load on
this generator may be reduced in a slow manner back to the set point that is
500 MW in about 5 minutes time through supplementary regulation. The new
operating point would now be ‘C’. The machine can once again respond to
frequency changes from ‘C’ with a droop of 5% (dotted line CD). The
frequency may stabilize at say 49.6 Hz.
In case of frequency rise, the machine output would reduce from ‘A’ to ‘E’
instantaneously. The load on the generator may once again be increased to
‘F’ in a slow manner and the frequency may stabilize at 49.8 Hz.
At point ‘G’ corresponding to 500 MW load and 50.2 Hz, the machine is
operating at cut-off frequency. In case of frequency rises, the machine can
drop generation and can operate at reduced level of generation and need not
come to the original set point that is 500 MW. The generator can also choose
to further reduce its set point from ‘G’ as for frequency above 50.2 Hz, the cost
of UI generation is lower than the generator’s variable cost of generation.
Typical primary response alongwith supplementary regulation is shown in
Figures below.
Fig. 6: Primary response demonstrated by Ropar Unit 2 on 23
October 2003
Fig. 7 : Primary response demonstrated by Bhakra Unit 5 on 23

Fig. 8 : Primary response demonstrated by Dadri Unit 2 on 25
Jan 2004
If the governor is tuned to be "isochronous" (i.e. zero droop), it will keep
opening the valve until the frequency is restored to the original value. This type
of tuning is used on small, isolated power systems, but would result in excess
governor movement on large, interconnected systems. This setting is also
used during black start of a generating unit.
6.3. Load Limiter
Load limiter is the maximum permissible output from a generator. It is
generally considered as 105% of Maximum Continuous Rating of the
generator. The load limit is adjustable and sometime it is used to limit the
output of the generator to some level below the true full load output. As per
IEGC regulation 5.2 (h), all thermal generating units of 200 MW and above
and all hydro units of 10 MW and above operating at or up to 100% of their
Maximum Continuous Rating (MCR) shall normally be capable of (and shall
not in any way be prevented from) instantaneously picking up to 105% and
110% of their MCR, respectively, when frequency falls suddenly. After an
increase in generation as above, a generating unit may ramp back to the
original level at a rate of about one percent (1%) per minute, in case continued
operation at the increased level is not sustainable.
6.4. Governor Response Time
There is a time lag between a change in generator speed and the change in
turbine power. The governor time lag has several components. The first
component is the dead band of the governor. It is inherent in the governor due
to mechanical linkages involved. Therefore, the governor may not move for
small frequency changes, typically less than +/-0.02 Hz. For frequency
excursions larges than the dead band, the governor reacts with a small time
delay of about 0.25 seconds. This dead band is the amount of frequency
change a governor must see before it starts to respond. It prevents governors
from continuously “hunting” as frequency varies ever so slightly. As per IEGC
5.2 (f) ii (b), dead band of +/ -0.03 Hz is permissible. The next component of
the time lag comes from the steam throttle valve mechanism and the hydraulic
power unit which moves it. The valves are large and heavy and thus have
considerable inertia to overcome, so it is not possible to move the valve
instantaneously. It takes about 0.5 second to move the valve by a significant
The steam flow itself also contributes to the total lag, particularly in the reheat
turbine sections, where the flow must accelerate or decelerates to the new
flow rate following a change in the valve position. There is a slight delay before
equilibrium is reached at the new steam flow rate. The time lags are additive,
since they occur one after the other (i.e., valve position is changed first then
steam accelerates or decelerates to achieve the new flow rate. The result is
that it takes a few seconds for the turbine power to change once a speed
change is detected by the governor. For a hydro turbine, this delay may be 5
to 10 seconds.
6.5. Transient Stability And Governor Response
During steady state operation any load generation imbalance and consequent
frequency change occurs gradually. Therefore, in the steady state, this
governor time lag is barely noticeable. However immediately following a
disturbance, this time lag is significant. During the transient period following a
fault, the stability or instability of the system will be determined within the first
0.25 to 0.5 seconds while the governor response may take a few seconds.
Therefore, during the transient period, the governor does not appreciably help
the system.
6.6. Boiler Turbine Control System
There are three basic types of control systems used for boiler and turbine
output control. They are boiler follow turbine system, turbine follow boiler
system and integrated or Coordinated Control system. The names for each
mode listed above refer to the sequence of events that occur in restoring load-
generation balance following a disturbance.
In the “boiler follow turbine” system, the speed change is first detected by the
speed control (governor). Thus if there is a drop in frequency the turbine
valves open. The steam rushes into the turbine and the pressure in the steam
system starts to drop as the steam is drawn out of the piping and the boiler
system. When the pressure drops, the boiler controls detect it and allow more
fuel to enter the boiler. This raises steam generation and the steam pressure
recovers. In this method the turbine controls act first and the boiler controls
In the “turbine follow boiler” system the load controls detect a speed change
but do not directly change the turbine valve position. Instead, the fuel, air, and
feed water into the boiler are changed. As a consequence, the steam
generation is changed. The turbine valves are controlled to maintain a
constant boiler pressure and thus, as pressure tend to raise, the valve opens
and more steam flows, raising the power output. Boiling water nuclear plants
are of this type.
The third system is a combination or “integrated control” system. The signals
for increased load go to both the turbine valve control and the boiler control.
The valves are opened and more fuel starts flowing in some relationship that
depends on the particular boiler turbine system.
Fig. 9 : Boiler Turbine Control System Schematic
The response characteristics of different boiler-turbine systems are shown in
figure 10. It would be seen that the boiler following system supplies the extra
MW with the smallest time lag because energy is drained from piping and
boiler. However its boiler goes through the largest pressure excursion and the
output is often oscillatory.
Fig. 10 : Response Characteristics under different Boiler-Turbine Control
The turbine following system goes through almost no pressure deviation but
takes about 3 minutes to supply the extra MW. The integrated system has a
response time between that of the others. It also tends to arrive at the desired
output more quickly and with less variation.
6.7. Blocked Governors
Blocking the governor of a generator essentially bypasses the governing
feedback mechanisms and maintains the generator at a fixed output level.
Under such conditions the output of the generator remains constant
irrespective of the change in the system frequency. A typical case is shown in
figure 11. Although blocking of governor action may facilitate generator control
for plant personnel, serious system problems may arise if too many generators
are operating with blocked governors. These problems include:
a) system instability can occur since fewer units will be capable of reacting to
system frequency deviations
b) restoration of system frequency to normal following a disturbance may take
c) loading on interties can be further aggravated during system disturbances
Fig. 11: Typical response of Generator when Governors are blocked
As per IEGC regulation 5.2 (g), the facilities available with/in load limiters,
Automatic Turbine Run up System (ATRS), Turbine supervisory control,
coordinated control system, etc., shall not be used to suppress the normal
governor action in any manner and no dead bands and/or time delays shall be
deliberately introduced except the permissible ripple filter of +/-0.03 Hz.
6.8. Restricted Governor Mode Of Operation
The normal operation is generally termed as Free Governor Mode of
Operation or FGMO. The IEGC mandated a slightly modified version which is
referred to as Restricted Governor Mode of Operation or RGMO. A generator
in RGMO should not reduce generation in case of any rise in frequency up to
50.2 Hz. (for example if grid frequency changes from 49.3 to 49.4 Hz. then
there shall not be any reduction in generation). Whereas for any fall in grid
frequency, generation from the unit should increase by 5% limited to 105 % of
the MCR of the unit subject to machine capability.
6.9. Exemption From Governor Operation
The Indian Electricity Grid Code regulations 5.2 (f) mandates that all thermal
generating units of 200 MW and above and all hydro units of 10 MW and
above, which are synchronized with the grid, irrespective of their ownership,
shall have their governors in operation at all times. If any of these generating
units is required to be operated without its governor in operation as specified
above, the RLDC shall be immediately advised about the reason and duration
of such operation. As per regulation 5.2 (f) (iii) all other generating units
including the hydro stations with pondage up to 3 hours, Gas
turbine/Combined Cycle Power Plants, wind and solar generators and Nuclear
Power Stations have been exempted from governor operation till the
Commission reviews the situation.
It is a common experience that induction motors/ synchronous motors and
other rotating load draw less power from the system if frequency goes below
rated value. The decline in load demand with decline in frequency is referred
to as Load damping. In the figure below, curve A, indicates the variation in
load demand with variation in frequency for motors / rotating loads. Typically a
1 % decline in frequency would cause a 2% decline in power drawn by the
rotating load from the system. On the other hand resistance type loads such
as lighting and heating load (shown as curve B) are not sensitive to frequency
at all.
Fig. 12: Load Damping Exhibited by different category of Load
For these loads, power demand remains constant throughout all frequency
deviations. Curve C, represents the composite load damping curve for a power
system having a mix of rotating loads and lighting / heating loads. Typically, a
1% reduction in frequency would result in 1.5% reduction in load demand for
the entire power system. During frequency dynamic conditions, the load
damping effects help in stabilization of frequency.
7.1. Estimation Of Connected Load
Considering the frequency dependence of load, assessment of true demand in
any system would have to consider the frequency at which all loads are being
recorded. For instance if the actual connected load at 50 Hz is P50 MW and if
frequency drops to f Hz then
Reduction in demand due to reduction in frequency (assuming 1.5% load
damping) would be ∆P.
∆P = P
x [(50-f) / 50] x 1.5
The demand recorded at changed frequency i.e. ‘f’ would be Pf and can be
computed as follows:
= P
= P
– {P
x [(50-f)/50] x 1.5}
= P
{1-[(50-f)/50] x 1.5}
= P
/ {1-[(50-f)/50] x 1.5}
In the present monitoring system, all MW recordings (i.e. P
) are at frequency
‘f’ and do not therefore represent the true indication of the connected load or
the system demand. For estimating the connected load, the above formula has
to be applied. P
is also understood as frequency corrected load. The above
formula however neglects the effect of voltage dependence of load.
Consider an isolated system with total load of 9850 MW (L= 9850 MW)
operating initially at 50 Hz with all speed governors disabled. Suppose the
load increases from 9850 MW to 10000 MW (i.e. ∆L =150 MW). Since the
governor droop line is vertical, the combined output of all the units remains
constant at 9850 MW. Because of the imbalance, the frequency would drop.
As the frequency declines the effective load in the system would decline and
the operating point would start to slide down the load damping line. This would
continue till the point where the effective load in the system is once again
equal to the total generation at point C. If one assumes a load damping of
1.5% the frequency at point C would be 49.5 Hz (1% drop). So at point C,
while the connected load is still 10000 MW, the actual load at this point is only
9850 MW.
Fig. 13: Equilibrium Frequency with Load Damping and Governor
With composite governor droop characteristics the load generation balance
shall be reached by intersection of curve BC with AE at D. The frequency at
point D would be lower than 50 Hz but higher than the frequency at point C.
The worst case scenario would be all speed governors disabled and only
heating / lighting load is persisting in the system (zero rotating load). The
frequency dip in such cases due to any load increase or tripping of unit would
be very sharp and of very large magnitude. However, the above situation is
unlikely as there is always some amount of rotating load in the system and the
presence of such loads help in arresting the frequency dip to some extent.
Thus the equilibrium frequency after a disturbance would depend upon the
amplitude of disturbance, primary response from the generators and the
dynamic characteristics of connected load.
Typical profile of the grid frequency in Northern Region with (27-Oct 2003) and
without (27-Oct-2002) governor response is shown in figures below.
Fig. 14: Frequency Profile with and without Governor Response
Similar charts for Southern and Eastern Region when governor was in service
are shown in Figures below:
The above charts clearly indicate that with governors in service the frequency
is more steady as the frequency fluctuations reduce drastically.
Primary Response is the characteristic displayed by load and generation
within control areas, and therefore an Interconnection, in response to a
significant change in load-resource balance. Because the loss of a large
generator is much more likely than a sudden loss of load, primary response is
typically discussed in the context of a loss of a large generator. The frequency
response of a control area may be computed with the help of following steps.
• Actual net interchange immediately before disturbance = P

• Actual net interchange immediately after disturbance = P

• Change in net interchange = P

• Load (+) or generator (-) loss causing the disturbance = P

• Control Area response = P

• Change in Frequency = f

• Frequency Response Characteristics = ∆p/∆f
The frequency response characteristic is known as stiffness constant or the
system inertia. It is the ability of power system to oppose changes in
frequency. Physically, the system inertia is loosely defined by the mass of all
the synchronous rotating generators and motors connected to the system. If
system inertia is high, then frequency will fall slowly during a system casualty
such as a
generator tripping off line. If system inertia is low, then frequency will fall faster
during this casualty. Thus higher system inertia is better than lower system
inertia because it will provide more time for operators to respond to the change
in system frequency.
The general equation of the system behaviour following a loss of generation or
load is as below.
If the damping effect is neglected then the above equation gets simplified as
Therefore, df/dt can be computed if we have the value the system inertia
constant (H). The system inertia constant is defined as the kinetic energy
stored in the system per MVA. The system inertia constant on system base
may be in the range of 3 to 10 seconds.
Assuming inertia constant as 8 seconds, the rate of change of frequency for a
loss of 1500 MW in the system size of 60,000 MW operating at 50 Hz can be
computed as below:
= 60000
= 60000-1500 = 58500 MW
∆P = 1500/58500 = 0.0256
= 50
H = 8
Df/dt = 0.0256 x{ 50/(2x8)}= 0.080 Hz/second

Fig. 17: Typical pattern of rate of change of frequency in the grid during
a disturbance
There is coupling between the reliability requirements of maintaining frequency
and the commercial interest in Unscheduled Interchange energy. Frequency
deviates when generation and load are not in balance. The interconnection
does not “care” how load and generation are rebalanced as long as it is done
quickly and accurately and that transmission constraints are respected. In
India, the frequency linked Unscheduled Interchange mechanism has been
devised for energy balance in real-time. It works on the basic principle that the
settlement rate for any unscheduled interchange with the grid is high when the
frequency is low (indicative of a generation shortage in the grid). Likewise the
settlement rate for any interchange with the grid is low when the frequency is
high (indicative of surplus generation in the grid). In the UI mechanism there
are commercial incentives and disincentives so that the generators and load
serving entities are encouraged so that the frequency is controlled collectively.
Fig. 18: Typical relationship between the system frequency and System
Marginal Price
The defense mechanism for frequency control include flat frequency load
shedding schemes, rate of change of frequency linked load shedding schemes
and generator tripping. The present setting adopted for shedding load through
Under Frequency Relay (UFR) and df/dt relays are shown in tables below.
Table 2: Setting of Under frequency Relay adopted in the regional grids
Region UFR Stage-I UFR Stage-II UFR Stage-III
Northern Region 48.8 Hz 48.6 Hz 48.2 Hz
Western Region 48.8 Hz 48.6 Hz 48.2 Hz
Eastern Region 48.5 Hz 48.2 Hz 48.0 Hz
Southern Region 48.5 Hz 48.2 Hz 48.0 Hz
North-eastern 48.4 Hz - -
Table 3: Setting of Rate of Change of Frequency adopted in regional
Df/Dt relay setting Stage-I Stage-II Stage-III
Enabling frequency 49.9 Hz 49.9 Hz 49.9 Hz
Rate of change 0.1 Hz/sec 0.2 Hz/sec 0.3 Hz/sec
There may be instances in the grid when the frequency may deviate to levels
that may not be safe for the generating units. The typical setting in generating
unit against abnormal frequency operation is shown in table below.
Table 4: Typical setting in generators against operation under abnormal
Station Low Frequency setting in Hz High frequency setting
NAPS 47.7 (Islanding) 51.5 Hz tripping (with 15 sec
time delay)
RAPS-B 47.7 instantaneous 51.5 Hz tripping (with 10 sec
time delay)
Ropar 47.5 Hz, 5 seconds time delay -
Suratgarh 47.5 Hz, hand tripped -
Kota 47.5 Hz, hand tripped - -
Singrauli 47.5 Hz, alarm, hand tripped -
Tanda 47.5 Hz, alarm, hand tripped - -
Unchahar 47.5 Hz, Alarm, hand tripped -
Rihand 47.5 Hz, alarm, hand tripped -
Anpara 47.2 Hz, 5 sec, auto 51.8 Hz, run back to house
load (26 MW)
Chamera-I 45.4 Hz -
Chakera – II 46.0 Hz -
The power system frequency is continuously monitored in the control room of
the State, regional and National Load Despatch Centre. There are digital as
well as trend displays. At the end of the day the frequency profile is analyzed.
Maximum frequency, minimum frequency, average frequency, standard
deviation, frequency variation index, number of excursions outside the IEGC
band and the % of time for which the frequency remained within/outside the
IEGC band is computed and analyzed.
Frequency Variation Index = S { [( f
– 50 )
] / N } x 10
1. Central Electricity Authority, “Indian Electricity Rules, 1956”
2. Central Electricity Authority (Grid Standards) Regulation, 2010
3. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, (Indian Electricity Grid Code)
Regulations, 2010
4. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, (Unscheduled Interchange
charges and related matters) Regulations, 2010
5. Bauman, Hahn, Metcalf, “The effect of reduction on plant capacity and on
system operation”, Symposium on Plant Capability at Low frequencies
and load relief, February 1955
6. Bhushan B., “Disadvantages of deviation from rated frequency”, Letter
dated 22 Oct 1999 addressed to Secretary CERC
7. Kirby B.J., Dyer J., Martinez C., Rahmat A. Shoureshi, R. Guttromson J.
Dagle, “Frequency Control Concerns in the North American Electric Power
System”, Report by Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology
Solutions, December 2002
8. Illian H. F., “Frequency Control Performance Measurement and
Requirements”, Energy Marc Inc., December 2010
9. Cohn N., “Control of Generation and Power flow on interconnected
systems”, John Wiley and sons, Inc., 1971
10. WECC control working group, “WECC Tutorial on Speed Governors”,
February 1998
11. NERC Training Resources Working Group, “NERC Training Document
Understand and Calculate Frequency Response”, February 2003
12. Video training workbook-Power System Operation -13,14 &15, Equipment
response to abnormal conditions-I
13. Module on load frequency control in the PTI Advanced System Operator
14. NERC, ‘Frequency Response Standard Whitepaper’, April 2004
15. UCTE, ‘Operation handbook Annex-I Load frequency control
performance’, 2004
16. British Electricity International, Modern Power Station Practice-System
Operation Volume-L’
17. Kundur P., ‘Power System Stability and Control’, McGraw Hill, 1994
18. Nicoud G.,‘System Operational Procedures-Reviewing procedures and
philosophies in the Indian practice for more coordinated and integrated
operation’ 1988
19. Nagrath I.J., Kothari D.P. ‘Power System Engineering’ Tata McGraw Hill
20. Narasimhan S.R., “Effect of System frequency on consumer demand”
21. Berger A. W., Schweppe F.C., “Real-time pricing to assist in Load
Frequency control, IEEE transactions on Power System, Vol. 4, No. 3,
August 1989
22. Bhushan B., ‘A primer on Availability Tariff’, June 2005
23. Soonee S K., ‘Realising A Collective Vision through Non-Cooperation’,
Workshop on Electricity Market in India and learning from developed
markets”, Delhi, March, 2005
24. Soonee S.K., Narasimhan S.R., Pandey V., ‘Significance of Unscheduled
Interchange Mechanism in the Indian Electricity Supply Industry’,
International Conference on System Operation under deregulated
Regime, 2006
25. Soonee S.K., S.C.Saxena, ‘Frequency Response Characteristics of an
interconnected power system-A case study of regional grids in India’6th
International R&D conference on sustainable development of water and
energy resources-needs and challenges, Lucknow, February 2007
26. Dwarkanath, “Under Frequency Trend Relay as Power System Savior”,
International Seminar on “Grid Stability and Load Management”,
GRIDSAFE –1995, 12-14 January, 1996, I.E. (I), Nagpur, India
27. Report of the sub-group constituted by NR-OCC to Review the df/dt or
rate of change of frequency relay setting In Northern Region, May 2007.
No. Topic Page No.
Reactive Power Fundamentals 153-166
Reactive Power Sources and Sinks 167-184
Capacitors 185-200
Reactive Power Compensation in
Transmission System
Reactive Power Compensation in Distribution
1.0 Introduction
Voltage is proportional to the magnetic flux in the power system element. Most
of the Power System elements are reactive in nature. They absorb / generate
reactive power depending on system loading conditions. The balance in
reactive power availability and requirement at a node indicates steady voltage.
Drawal of reactive power leads to reduction in voltage and supply of reactive
power leads to increase in voltage at the node. Ideally, the reactive power
balance should be effected within each region, within each distribution system.
Excess of MVAr ⇒ high voltage
Deficit of MVAr ⇒ Low Voltage
MVAR balance ⇒ Good voltage ⇒ low system losses
A great many loads consume not only active but also reactive power. The
electric network itself both consumes and produces reactive power.
Transmission and distribution of electric power involve reactive power losses
due to the series inductance of transformers, overhead lines and underground
cables. Lines and cables also generate reactive power due to their shunt
capacitance; this generation of reactive power is, however, only of significance
at high system voltages.
During the steady-state operation of an AC power system the active power
production must match the consumption plus the losses, since otherwise the
frequency will change. There is an equally strong relationship between the
reactive power balance of a power system and the voltages. In itself, a
reactive power balance will always inherently be present, but with
unacceptable voltages if the balance is not a proper one. An excess of
reactive power in an area means high voltages: a deficit means low voltages.
The reactive power balance of a power system also influences the active
losses of the network, the heating of components and, in some cases, the
power system stability.
Contrary to the active power balance, which has to be effected by means of
the generators alone, a proper reactive power balance can and often has to be
effected both by the generators and by dispersed special reactive devices,
producing or absorbing reactive power. The use of shunt reactive devices. i.e.
shunt compensation, is a straightforward reactive-power compensation
method. The use of series capacitors, i.e. series compensation is a line
reactance compensation method.
No special reactive compensation devices were used in the early AC power
systems, because the generators were situated close to the loads. As
networks became more widespread, synchronous motors, small synchronous
compensators and static shunt capacitors were adopted for power-factor
correction. Ever larger synchronous compensators were installed in
transmission systems. Along with the development of more efficient and
economic capacitors, there has been a phenomenal growth in the use of shunt
capacitors as a means of furnishing reactive power, particularly within
distribution systems. With the introduction of extra-high-voltage lines, shunt
reactors and series capacitors became important compensation devices. The
latest development is the Thyristor-controlled static var compensator, which is
now well established not only in high- power industrial networks but also in
transmission systems.
In the following a distinction is made between transmission and distribution
systems and also between different voltage ranges in terms of HV, EHV, etc. It
should therefore be appropriate to explain briefly these terms.
Classification of System Voltages
Voltage Level in kV Category of Voltage
<33 kV Distribution System
33 kV to132 kV Sub. Transmission System
230 kV to 400 kV HV Transmission System
750 kV and above UHV System
Transmission systems form those parts of power systems conveying
comparatively large amounts of electrical power. They link the generating
sources with the distribution systems and interconnect parts of the power
system or adjacent power systems. Distribution systems form the continued
links to the consumers. The boundary between transmission and distribution
systems is not very well defined. Systems for voltages higher than 132 KV are
usually called transmission systems. Systems for voltages lower than 33 KV
are usually called distribution systems. Systems in the range 33 to 132 kV are
called distribution, sub transmission systems.
All the figures given in this introduction refer to the highest voltage for
1.1 Need for management of reactive power
In an integrated power system, efficient management of active and reactive
power flows is very important. Quality of power supply is judged from the
frequency and voltage of the power supply made available to the consumers.
While frequency is the measure of balance between power generated (or
power available) and MW demand impinged on the system, the voltage is
indicative of reactive power flows.
In a power system, the ac generators and EHV and UHV transmission lines
generate reactive power. Industrial installations whether small or large as also
the irrigation pump motors, water supply systems draw substantial reactive
power from the power grid.
The generators have limited defined capability to generate reactive power- this
is more so in respect of large size generating units of 210 MW/500 MW
capacity. Generation of higher reactive power correspondingly reduces
availability of useful power from the generators. During light load conditions,
there is excess reactive power available in the system since the transmission
lines continue to generate the reactive power thereby raising the system
voltage and this causes reactive power flows to the generators.
Particularly in India, the load curves show wide fluctuations at various hours of
the day and in various seasons of the year. When load demand is heavy, there
is low voltage, which is harmful to the consumers as well as utility’s
installations. Burning of motors occur. When load demand is very low, high
voltage occurs in the system and this has harmful effect on insulation of power
transformers. Failure of power transformers occur.
For better efficiency, it is necessary to reduce and minimize reactive power
flows in the system.
Besides harmful effects, the reactive power flows also affect the economy
adversely both for the utility and the consumer. If reactive power flows are
reduced i² R power losses as well as i² X losses are reduced. The generators
can produce additional active power. If the consumer reduces reactive power
requirement his demand KVA is reduced. For energy conservation also there
is need to reduce reactive power demand in the system.
It is therefore very clear that for efficient management of power system and for
improving the quality of electric supply, it is very essential to install reactive
compensation equipment. Such installations are necessary and essential for
utility as well as the consumer. Infact the utility should be made responsible for
making available only the active power to the consumer. Unfortunately, in
India, the responsibilities of users are not well defined and there is not enough
realization in this regard. Utilities have now introduced power factor clause in
the tariff structure. However. It would be worthwhile to note that even a 90%
power factor load requires 43% reactive power from the grid.
1.2 Basic Principles
A phasor description of voltage and current, the reactive power supplied to an
AC circuit is the product of the voltage and the reactive (watt-less) component
of the current, this reactive current component being in quadrature with the
A single-phase circuit according to Figure 1.1 the reactive power Q is given by
Q= VIsin φ (1)
Unit is volt-ampere reactive (VAR) The sign of Q is a matter of convention, it
depends on the definition of the direction of φ. According to the IEC the sign
shall be such that the net reactive power supplied to an inductive element is
positive. Consequently, the net reactive power supplied to capacitive element
is negative. In the past the opposite sign convention has also been used. With
the sign convention as base, reactive power is said to be produced/generated
by overexcited synchronous machines and capacitors, and consumed or
absorbed by under excited synchronous machines, inductors, etc.
Reactive power can be considered as a convenient evaluation quantity, giving
information about the watt-less current, which greatly influences voltages,
active losses.
1.3 Sources and sinks of Reactive power :
S.No. Sources (Q- Generation) Sinks (Q – Absorption)
1 Gen. Over excited Gen. Under excited
2 Transmission Lines - charging Transmission Lines - series
reactance drop
3 Shunt Capacitors Shunt Reactors
4 Static Var Compensators (Q –gen
Static Var Compensators (Q –
absorb mode)
5 Series Capacitors (C
) -
6 Synchronous Condenser over
Synchronous Condenser under
7 Loads -Capacitive Loads - Inductive
1.4 Power transmission in a Transmission line
Vs =Sending end voltage
Vr =Receiving end voltage
Sr = Receiving end complex power
Pr = Receiving end active power
Qr = Receiving end reactive power
δ = The angle difference between Vs and Vr
Ir = Receiving end current
X = Line reactance
Ps = Sending end active power
Qs = Sending end reactive power
Sr = Pr +j Qr = Vr . Ir
→ (1)
j X
Fig. 1.2 Simple Transmission System
= V


− +
X j
V Sin jV V
r s s
δ δ


V Cos V V
j Sin
r r s r s
r s
P Sin P
· · δ δ
sin → (2)
For a loss less line.
P and δ are closely related.
V Cos V V
r r s
− δ
→ (3)
Qs =
Cos V V V
r s s
δ −
→ (4)
For small angles of δ
( )
r s r

→ (5)
Qs =


¸ −
r s
→ (6)
Q and V are closely coupled.
If V1and V2 are the sending end and receiving end voltages
The transmission capacity increases as the square of the voltage level
1. the direction of MW flow is determined by δ
V1 leading V2 ⇒ P is 1 → 2
V1 lagging V2 ⇒ P is 2 → 1
2. Magnitudes of V1 and V2 do not determine the MW flow direction
3. Though P1=P2, Q1≠ Q2
4. The reactive loss in line reactance is
r V s V
Qr Qs
2 2
2 2

5. If Vs > Vr the MVAR flows 1→ 2
If Vr> Vs the MVAR flows 2 →1
1.5 Power Losses in a Transmission line:
Losses across the series impedance of a transmission line are I
R and I
Where I =


¸ −


¸ +
= I.I* =
( ) ( ) ( )
2 2
* .
jQ P jQ P +
+ −
= I
R =
2 2


→ (7)
X = X
2 2
→ (8)
Hence in order to minimize losses we have to minimize the transfer of Q.
1.6 Voltage Regulation
Voltage regulation is defined as the change of voltage at the receiving
end when rated load is thrown off, the sending end voltage being held
∠δ =V∠0 +j X I =V + j X


¸ −
jQ P
r r
= V +
r r
→ (9)
∴ The voltage rise term in phase with V depends on Q.
The angle, δ depends mainly on the quadrature term involving P.
Three methods of system voltage control are available : (a) Varying excitation
of generators, (b) Varying the turns ratio of transformers by OLTC and (c)
Varying shunt compensation.
Fig 1.3 Voltage regulation in a loss less system
Shunt compensation is drawing or injection of reactive power at a node.
Reactor absorbs reactive power and so reduces system voltage. Capacitor
injects reactive power and so increases system voltage.
1.7 Short circuit capacity
f sc
I V S 3 ·
MVA → (10)
V = Phase to phase voltage in kV
= The three phase fault current in k.A.
Expressed in p.u parameters
= (V
) p.u. = I
p.u. =


→ (11)
=The prefault voltage in p.u. = 1.0 p.u.
= Thevinin impedance = Driving point impedance of the network.
The change in voltage when certain quantity of reactive power is supplied to
the system is given by
. pu

· ∆
∆Q = Change in Q injection
=Short circuit capacity
∆V = Change in voltage in per unit
1.8 Reactive power - physical analogy
The reactive power is the extra effort needed to pull a load along the rail when
the effort, s is at an angle, θ to the rails.
1.9 Power transfer components
Transformers, overhead lines and underground cables make up the major AC
power transfer components and are discussed in this subsection.
Fig 1.4. Physical analogy for Active and Reactive powers
1.9.1 Transformers
Figure 1.5 shows a simple equivalent circuit of a two-winding transformer. The
series reactance X is of main interest, usually lying within the range 0.05 to
0.15 p.u. based on the transformer power rating, with low values for small and
high values for large transformers. The resistance is usually negligible. The
total reactive power losses due to the magnetizing shunt reactance Xm of
many small transformers within a distribution system can, however, be of
some importance. The magnetizing reactive power may also increase rapidly
with the voltage level, due to core Saturation.
1.9.2 Overhead lines
Overhead lines and underground cables are distributed-constant circuits, which
have their series resistance, series inductance and shunt capacitance
distributed uniformly along its length. Figure 1.6 shows a lumped-constant
equivalent circuit. If we assume constant operating voltages at the ends, the
reactive power generated due to the capacitance, the charging reactive power,
is practically independent of the power transferred. Particularly when we are
dealing with long EHV lines, the so-called Surge Impedance Load (SIL) P
natural load of an uncompensated line is a convenient value for reference
purposes. It is given approximately by:
· (12)
V = voltage, line-line kV
b = susceptance mho/km
Fig 1.5 Equivalent Circuit of Transformer
x = reactance ohm/km

A loss less line (a reasonable approximation of an EHV line) transferring an
active power P
and with equal voltages at the line ends has reactive power
balance. The reactive power loss due to the line inductance is equal to the
reactive power generated by the line capacitance.
voltage kV
Line charging
Table 1. Typical values of overhead line characteristics at 50Hz.
Table 1 gives typical values of overhead line characteristics at 50Hz. At 60 Hz
the SIL values are the same while the line charging, X and X/R values are 20
per cent higher. The SIL is usually much lower than the thermal rating. Below
69 kV the line charging is usually negligible while it is a significant source of
reactive power for long lines of higher system voltages.
Paradoxically, the series reactance is fairly independent of the system voltage,
assuming a single conductor. The lower values at 400 kV, 500 kV and 750 kV
illustrate the effect of the necessary use of bundle conductors for these system
voltages. In reality there is a great spread in the X/R values, for a system
voltage under consideration, in particular at low system voltages. The figures
are however, included in order to illustrate that the X/R ratio increases rapidly
with the system voltage.
1.9.3. Underground cables
Table 2 gives sample values of underground cable characteristics. The
spread in parameter values for a system voltage under consideration is very
much larger than for overhead lines, depending on the cable type, size and
conductor geometry and spacing. Except for low voltage cables, the SIL is
usually much larger than the thermal rating. The line charging of polyethylene
insulated cables, now being introduced at ever higher system voltages, is
much lower, e.g. 50 per cent of that of paper-insulated cables.
voltage kV
Line charging
Table.2 Sample values of underground cable characteristics at 50 Hz.
0.4. 10 kV:PVC, 132,400kV paper-insulated cables.
1.10 Loads
A great many loads consume not only active but also reactive power. The
Industry wise power factor is generally observed to be as follows:
Some typical values of reactive power consumption of individual loads are
given below:
• Induction motors 0.5 to 1.1 kvar/kW, at rated output.
• Uncontrolled rectifiers 0.3 kvar/kW.
• Controlled rectifiers usually consume much more kvar/kW than
uncontrolled ones and with dependence on the rectifier delay angle.
• Arc furnaces around 1 kvar/kW.
Both controlled rectifiers and arc furnaces of steel mills have a reactive power
consumption characterized by a high average value and fast variations. Purely
resistive loads, like filament lamps and
electric heaters, do not, of course,
consume reactive power.
The synchronous motor is the only type of
individual load, which can produce reactive
power. it consumes reactive power when
under excited and produces reactive
power when overexcited. Synchronous
motors are usually operated overexcited
and thus usually produce reactive power.
Individual loads may, of course, vary within
short or long time ranges. The composite
loads of a power system. Each one being
Fig.1.7 Examples of load
Textiles 0.65/0.75
Chemical 0.75/0.85
Machine shop 0.4 / 0.65
Arc Welding 0.35/ 0.4
Arc Furnaces 0.7 / 0.9
Coreless induction furnaces and heaters 0.15/0.4
Cement plants 0.78/0.8
Garment factories 0.35/0.6
Breweries 0.75/0.8
Steel Plants 0.6 / 0.85
Collieries 0.65/0.85
Brick Works 0.6 / 0.75
Cold Storage 0.7 / 0.8
Foundries 0.5 / 0.7
Plastic moulding plants 0.6 / 0.75
Printing 0.55/0.7
Quarries 0.5 / 0.7
the total load of a certain area, usually vary with the time of the day, the day of
the week and the season of the year and may also grow from year to year.
The consumer demand for reactive power varies in a somewhat similar way to
the demand for active power. Figure 1.7 illustrates how the active and the
reactive power supplied from a transmission substation into a load area, with
mixed industrial and domestic loads, may vary during a Sunday and a
The resultant active power demand of a power system varies roughly as the
variation of total toad. The resultant reactive power demand may vary
considerably more due to the changing series reactive power losses in the
1.11. Relationship of voltage to reactive power
As regards the study of terminal voltages
of a transmission or a distribution link, the
link can be represented by the series
impedance only if the shunt admittances of
the equivalent circuit are included in the
treatment of the connecting parts of the
power system, Fig. 1.8. The link may be an
overhead line, an underground cable, or a
transformer. The voltage drop, i.e. the
scalar voltage difference, is defined by:
∆V= |V1| – |V2| (13)
The Phasor diagram of Figure 1.8, for a case with lagging power factor, shows
that it can be approximately expressed by the following equations:

∆V=RI cosΦ+XI sin Φ (14)
∆V= (RP+XQ) / V2 (15)
The accuracy of the equations (14) and (15) is better, the less the voltage-
angle difference is. The equations are usually sufficiently accurate for
calculations concerning a single link with lagging power factor. The equations
are less accurate and should not be used in calculations for -leading power
factor. Precise calculations concerning a complete network are, nowadays,
performed by means of computer power flow programs.
The equation (15) is, however, generally useful for qualitative discussions of
voltage versus reactive power. For transformers, R can always be
disregarded. For transmission (not distribution) lines and cables. X is usually
much larger than R. For all these many links, where X is -much larger than R,
there will evidently be a much greater influence on ∆V per kvar of reactive
power than per kW of active power transmitted.
When power is supplied through a single link, Figure 1.8, assuming V1
constant, V2 varies with changes in P and Q. Load variations create voltage
variations if not counteracted. This is a general, and sometimes -troublesome,
operation feature of AC power systems.
There are three major methods of power system voltage control:
• Varying the excitation of the generators by means of their
excitation systems.
• Varying the turn’s ratio of transformers by means of their on-load
tap changers.
• Varying the shunt compensation, where applied.
By shunt compensation is meant drawing or injection of reactive power, at a
point of a power system by means of a shunt-connected device, which is
installed for this sole purpose. Drawing reactive power. e.g. absorption by
means of a shunt reactor, effects voltage reduction. Injection of reactive
power, e.g. production by means of a shunt capacitor, effects voltage rise. The
equation (15) and Figure 1.8 show how shunt compensation influences the
voltage. The voltage-change directions mentioned arise because the network
equivalent impedance has an inductive character at the fundamental
frequency. The shunt compensation may be fixed, switchable in steps or
continuously controllable. Around the nominal voltage, the voltage change ∆V,
when the shunt compensation is changed in step, is approximately expressed
∆V =
Q ∆
∆Q- change in nominal three phase reactive power injection Mvar
Ssc- Short-circuit capacity in MVA
Adjacent generators with voltage regulators and adjacent transformers with
voltage-relay controlled on-load tap changers will, of course, more or less
reduce the voltage change after a certain time. By series compensation is
meant compensation of line inductive reactance by means of a capacitor in
series with the line, thus reducing the effective inductive reactance of the line
and the effects thereof.
1.12 PV Curves
PV Curves are the product of parametric analysis. Take into consideration the
system shown at right. Power is transferred from the Sending Area to the
Receiving Area via a set of transmission lines forming an Interface. As the
transfer increases, the conditions on the lines and buses along the transfer
path, including those within the Sending and Receiving area, change. The
voltages may drop, flows on branches may increase or decrease.
Monitoring voltage at a particular bus and plotting this against the power
transfer produces a familiar diagram known as the PV Curve. A sample curve
is shown below. When the voltage at the selected bus goes below some pre-
defined criteria, then the transfer at which this occurs is the Low Voltage
transfer limit for that bus. Ignoring the low voltage and continuing to increase
transfer would eventually bring the curve to a point where the system
collapses. The point of collapse can likewise be designated as the Voltage
Collapse transfer limit.
In PSS™TPLAN, PV curves are provided as a distinct Analytical Engine. As
such it is provided with powerful features:
• Easy setup
• Comprehensive results
• Adaptive step size. You define a range for the transfer increment, and
PSS™TPLAN will select a step size which will maintain the accuracy of
the simulation at minimum loss of resolution.
• Non-divergent power flow. The last point on the curve is always
accurately determined by a special algorithm which can identify
1.13 Need to optimize reactive power resources:
The need to optimize reactive power sources is essential to
 Capacity utilization of existing transmission facilities for power
 Maximize the existing reactive power resources to minimize
investment in additional facilities.
 Minimize transmission losses
 Improve system security
 Maintain power supply quality by maintaining bus voltages close to
nominal value.
1.14. Remarks
Active power must, of course, be transmitted from the generators to the loads.
Reactive power need not, and with regard to voltage differences, losses and
thermal loading as discussed in the preceding subsections, should not be
unnecessarily transferred. Ideally, a reactive power balance should be
effected within each region of a power system, within each transmission
system and within each distribution system. In practice, however, this principle
is not always followed for one reason or another. The subject of reactive
power compensation is easy to understand if we consider a single link of a
power system, but quite complex when we consider an entire power system
with its different conditions and behaviors.
2.0 Introduction
Sources of reactive power are
• Generating units
• Synchronous condenser
• On-load tap changers and phase-shifting transformers.
• Capacitors and reactors
• Static compensators.
Power system component characteristics
A brief look at characteristics for power system components will help to explain
reactive power matters. The role of power system components in reactive
power control are briefed below.
2.1 Generators
The purposes of generators are to supply the active power, to provide the
primary voltage control of the power system and to bring about, or at least
contribute to, the desired reactive power balance in the areas adjacent to the
generating stations. A generator absorbs reactive power when under excited
and it produces reactive power when overexcited. The reactive power output is
continuously controllable through varying the excitation current. The allowable
reactive power absorption or production is dependent on the active power
output as illustrated by the power charts of Figures 2.1 and 2.2. For short-term
operation the thermal limits are usually allowed to be overridden.
The step-response time in voltage control is from several tenths of a second
and upwards. The rated power factor of generators usually lies within the
range 0.80 to 0.95. Generators installed remotely from load centers usually
have a high rated power factor; this is often the case with large hydro-turbine
generators. Generators installed close to load centers usually have a lower
rated power factor. In some cases of large steam-turbine generators the rated
power factor may have been selected at the lower end of the above range in
order to ensure reactive power reserve for severe forced outage conditions of
the power system.
Fig 2.1 Typical Power chart for large steam turbine and gas turbine
a — Turbine power limit
b — Stator winding thermal limit
c — Field winding thermal limit
d — Steady-slate stability limit with proper AVR
e — Assumed intervention curve of under excitation limiter
Fig.2.2. Typical power chart for large hydro-turbine generators (salient-
pole machines)
Large generators are usually connected direct to transmission networks via
step-up transformers. The terminal voltage of a large generator is usually
allowed to be controlled within a ± 5% range around the nominal voltage, at
rated load. In most countries the generator step-up transformers are usually
not equipped with on-load tap changers.
Excitation Control: The MVAR output of a generator is dependent on its
excitation. The MVAR is generated during over excitation and is absorbed
during under excitation. The rotor current depends on the excitation. The
rotor winding temperature, the air gap temperature and the machine
temperature increase during over excitation. The winding temperature is
limited to about 90
C during normal loading. It increases to 100 – 105
during over loading. The machine which is already over heated due to MVAR
generation can not take MW load to its full capacity. Hence MW load is to be
compromised when the unit is excited beyond its normal limits.
When the unit generates MVAR and supplies to the system, the system
voltage profile around the generating station increases. This increase in
voltage is more in first neighbourhood. The load end voltages which are
beyond, say second neighbourhood will not get effected because of this unit
excitation. Hence the influence of a unit on voltage profile in the system is
local in nature. The load end voltages can not be controlled by the generating
However depending on the capability curve of the generating unit and as long
as margin is available in the unit, it can be used to control the system voltages
in its vicinity.
The change in the voltage ∆V in the first neighbourhood of the generating
station depends on the relation
∆V = ∆Q/S in p.u.
Where ∆V = change in bus voltage in pu
∆Q = Amount of Q supplied through over excitation in p.u.
S = Fault level of the system at first neighbourhood in p.u.
2.2 Shunt reactor
A shunt reactor is a reactor connected in shunt to a power system for the
purpose of absorbing reactive power. In some cases where a fixed or
mechanically switched shunt reactor can be used with regard to the voltage
control requirements. It is usually the most economic special means available
for reactive power absorption. The majority of shunt reactors are applied in
conjunction with long EHV overhead lines. They are also applied in
conjunction with HV and EHV underground cables in large urban areas.

Shunt reactors in use range in size from a few Mvar at low medium voltages
and up to hundreds of Mvar.
Shunt reactors are necessarily installed to suppress high voltage during light
load conditions. For 400kV and UHV lines, shunt reactors are directly
connected on line. This is for the purpose of compensating leading charging
MVAR released by the line. Shunt reactors are also connected on tertiary delta
windings of autotransformers so that these can be switched on during light
load periods.
Reactor Operation: The shunt reactor is a coil connected to the system
voltage and grounded at the other end. It draws the magnetizing current,
which is purely inductive, from the system and hence forms an inductive load
at the point of connection. Hence the reactor absorbs reactive power from the
system as long as it is connected to the system. Hence it is complimentary to
a capacitor bank in its function. The reduction in voltage at the point of
connection is given by ∆V = ∆Q/S, all expressed in p.u. terms.
The reactors are required to be used at EHV voltages of 400 kV and above, as
the line charging at this voltage is quite significant, it increases the receiving
end voltage to unacceptable limits under light load conditions. A 400 kV line
generates about 55 MVAR per 100 km and hence this Ferranty effect is high
for lines of 300 km and above.
Two types of reactor connection are adopted in EHV systems.
A) The bus reactor, which is connected to the bus through a circuit breaker
and hence can be switched as and when required.
B) The line reactor; which is connected to the line through only an isolator
and hence can be removed from the system only when the line is
switched off.
The functions of both bus reactor as well as line reactor are same. They
absorb the reactive power from the system depending upon their capacity.
The bus reactors are switchable and hence are cut-in whenever the system
voltage is higher and can be cut-off from the system whenever the system
voltage reduces.
The line reactors are permanently connected to the lines and hence the
system. Their role is to –
a) Reduce the effect of line charging
b) Provide a least impedance path for the switching over voltages
generated in the system due to inductive load currents’ switching. The
switching over voltages are of power frequency and equal to 1.5 to 2.5
p.u. in magnitude.
c) When the EHV lines have single phase switching facility and auto
reclose protection scheme is implemented, the abnormal voltages
developed across the circuit breaker can be contained only with a line
reactor on the line side.
d) The line reactors provide a least impedance path for low frequency
(power frequency) switching over voltages. Hence they act as surge
diverters for power frequency over voltages. The lightning over
voltages cannot pass through the line reactor because of their high
2.3 Shunt capacitors
A shunt capacitor is a single capacitor unit or, more frequently, a bank of
capacitor units connected in shunt to a power system for the purpose of
absorbing reactive power. When a fixed or mechanically switched shunt
capacitor can be used with regard to the voltage control requirements, it is the
most economic means available for reactive power supply. The majority of
shunt capacitors are applied within distribution systems of different types:
Industrial, urban, residential and rural. They have a widespread use there, for
power-factor correction. Some shunt capacitors are installed in transmission
substations. Very large shunt capacitor banks (usually filters) are to be found
in HVDC terminal stations.
Shunt capacitors in use range in size from a single unit rated a few kvar at low
voltage up to a bank of units, rated hundreds of Mvar.
Capacitor Operation: The capacitor banks are reactive power sources. They
produce reactive power equal to their rating when connected to the bus. In
order to keep the insulation costs less, they are connected to the system at
distribution voltage levels, e.g. 0.4 kV, 11 kV, 33 kV etc.
The output of a capacitor bank is Q
= V
Where Q
= output in MVAR
V = the system voltage in k.V.
C = in farads
Hence the output is proportional to the square of the voltage. If the system
voltage to which the capacitor bank is connected reduces to 0.9 p.u. the
MVAR generated by the capacitor reduces to 0.81 p.u. Hence the
performance of a capacitor bank will be poor under low voltage conditions, at
which time it is required most.
The influence of a capacitor bank on the system voltage is again local like in
case of a generator. It is most pre dominent at the bus to which it is
connected. Its effect gets reduced as we go to next neighbourhood. The
change in voltage at the point of connection is governed by the relation ∆V =
Where ∆V = change in bus voltage in pu
∆Q = Amount of Q supplied through the capacitor bank in p.u.
S = Fault MVA of the bus in p.u.
Hence it is possible to compute the capacitor requirement of the system at a
location using
∆Q = (∆V)(S)
where ∆Q is the amount of Q to be supplemented
∆V is the voltage raise required to reach the nominal value in p.u.
S is the fault level of the system in p.u.
Outstanding features of shunt capacitors are their low overall costs and their
high application flexibility. An unfavorable characteristic, most important in
conjunction with major outages and disturbances, is that they provide the least
support at the very time when it may be most needed, because the reactive
power output is proportional to the voltage squared. If used in a proper mix
with other reactive power sources, this is, however, no obstacle to an
extensive use of shunt capacitors. The losses of modern shunt capacitors are
of the order of 0.2w/Kvar, including the losses of fuses and discharge
Shunt capacitors are useful in
• Power factor correction
• Voltage control and reactive power balance
• Reducing transmission losses
• Meeting requirements of reactive loads
Pf correction by shunt capacitors is by far the most satisfactory and
economical method. The static capacitor owing to its low losses, simplicity and
high efficiency, is finding very wide and universal use for pf correction.
A detailed description on construction, operation, protection and trouble
shooting of capacitor banks is provided in Chapter 3.
2.4 Transformer Tap Changing
A transformer in the grid is like a node. Its voltage is maintained by the
requirement and availability of reactive power at its terminals. If the HV
voltage is low, due to bucking tap at, say -5, for e.g. at 0.96 pu the HV bus will
get a net reactive power in-flow of say 200 MVAR through its EHV
transmission network. The same reactive power flows towards the LV bus.
The LV bus voltage now increases. This is illustrated in Fig 2.3.
If the transformer tap is raised to say 5, it is now boosting the HV voltage to
say, 1.02 pu. Now the reactive power in-flow reduces to HV bus, to say 20
MVAR. This reduced MVAR is flowing to LV bus. Hence the LV bus voltage
reduces. This is illustrated in Fig 2.4. Hence the transformer tap only alters
the number of turns in the HV winding there by altering the HV voltage. If this
HV voltage is less than the neighbourhood voltage it receives MVAR, if it is
more, then it pumps MVAR to its neighbourhood. The LV bus voltage is
maintained only as a consequence of MVAR inflow or outflow to it from the HV
2.5 Synchronous condensers
Synchronous condenser is another reactive power device, traditionally in use
since 1920s. Synchronous condenser is simply a synchronous machine
without any load attached to it. Like generators, they can be over-exited or
under-exited by varying their field current in order to generate or absorb
reactive power, synchronous condensers can continuously regulate reactive
power to ensure steady transmission voltage, under varying load conditions.
They are especially suited for emergency voltage control under loss of load,
generation or transmission, because of their fast short-time response.
Synchronous condensers provide necessary reactive power even exceeding
their rating for short duration, to arrest voltage collapse and to improve system
Synonymous terms are synchronous compensator and synchronous phase
modifier. The synchronous compensator is the traditional means for
Continuous control of reactive power. Synchronous compensators are used in
transmission systems: at the receiving end of long transmissions, in important
substations and in conjunction with HVDC inverter stations. Small
synchronous compensators have also been installed in high-power industrial
networks of steel mills; few of these are in use today. Synchronous
compensators in use range in size from a few MVA up to hundreds of MVA.
Both indoor and outdoor installations exist. Synchronous compensators below,
say, 50 MVA are usually air-cooled, while those above are usually hydrogen-
cooled. Modern synchronous compensators are usually equipped with a fast
excitation system with a potential-source rectifier exciter. Various starting
methods are used; the modern one is inverter starting.
The size of a synchronous compensator is referred to the Continuous MVA
rating far the generation of reactive power. In the generating mode of operation
it usually has a rather high short-time overload capability. The absorption
capability is normally of the order of 60 per cent of the MVA rating, which
means that the control range is usually 160 per cent of the MVA rating. The
reactive power output is continuously controllable. The step-response time with
closed-loop voltage control is from a few tenths of a second, and up. The
losses of hydrogen-cooled synchronous compensators are of the order of 10
W/kvar at rated output. The losses of small air-cooled machines are of the
order of 20 W/kvar at rated output.
In recent years the synchronous compensator has been practically ruled out by
the SVC, in the case of new installations, due to benefits in cost performance
and reliability of the latter. One exception is HVDC inverter stations, in cases
where the short-circuit capacity has to be increased. The synchronous
compensators can do this, but not the SVC.
Comparison between Synchronous Condenser and shunt capacitor
Sl.No Synchronous condenser Shunt capacitor
1. Synchronous condenser can supply
kVAR equal to its rating and can
absorb upto 100% of its KVA rating
Shunt capacitor should be
associated with a reactor to give
that performance
2. This has fine control with AVR This operates in steps
3. The output is not limited by the
system voltage condition. This
The capacitor output is
proportional to V
of the system.
gives out its full capacity even when
system voltage decreases
Hence its performance
decreases under low voltage
4. For short periods the synchronous
condenser can supply KVAR in
excess of its rating at nominal
The capacitor can not supply
more than its capacity at nominal
voltage. Its output is
proportional to V
5. The full load losses are above 3%
of its capacity
The capacitor losses are about
6. These can not be economically
deployed at several locations in
The capacitor banks can be
deployed at several locations
economically in distribution
7. The synchronous condenser ratings
can not be modular
The capacitors are modular.
They can be deployed as and
when system requirements
8. A failure in the synchronous
condenser can remove the entire
unit ability to produce KVAR.
However failures are rare in
synchronous condensers compared
to capacitors
A failure of a single fused unit in
a bank of capacitors affects only
that unit and does not affect the
entire bank
9. They add to the short circuit current
of a system and therefore increase
the size of (11kV etc.) breakers in
the neighbourhood.
The capacitors do not increase
the short circuit capacity of the
system, as their output is
proportional to V
10. This is a rotating device. Hence the
O&M problems are more
These are static and simple
devices. Hence O&M problems
are negligible
2.6 Thyristor-controlled static var compensators (SVCs)
A Thyristor-controlled static var compensator is a static shunt reactive device,
the reactive power generation or absorption of which can be varied by means
of Thyristor switches. The adjective’ static’ means that, unlike the synchronous
compensator, it has no moving primary part. Because it is the latest developed
means of reactive compensation, it will be described and discussed in greater
detail than the other devices. In a strict sense, the term static var compensator
covers not only Thyristor-controlled compensator but also other, types and in
particular, the self-saturated iron-core reactor type. Even though the self-
saturated reactor compensators introduced before the Thyristor-controlled one,
the later completely dominates the applications of compensators in
transmission systems, covering more than 95 per cent of all compensators.
Today, it also leads industrial applications in conjunction with arc furnaces. The
following description is restricted to Thyristor-controlled compensators utilizing
traditional Thyristor (not GTO Thyristor).
As early as the first half of the 1970s the SVC became a well-established
device in high-power industrial networks, particularly for the reduction of
voltage fluctuations caused by arc furnaces. In transmission systems the
breakthrough came at the end of the 1970s. Since then, there has been an
almost explosive increase in the number of applications, in the first place as an
alternative to synchronous compensators, but also for a more extensive use of
dynamic shunt compensation, i.e. of easily and rapidly controllable shunt
Compensators in use range in size from a few Mvar up to 650 Mvar control
range, and with nominal voltages up to 765 kV.
2.6.1. Function of SVC’s in Power systems
SVCs are used to improve voltage regulations, improve power factor, reduction
of voltage and current unbalances, damping of power swings, reduction of
voltage flicker, improved transient stability of the system etc. This can result in
saving in operational costs, increased power transfer capability, reduced line
losses, higher availability of power etc. Voltage control in Power systems
The voltage variations in power systems are caused due to load switching,
power system elements’ switching. These variations are compensated by
SVC. Three phase system voltages are compared with adjustable voltage
reference and the error signal is used to generate firing pulses. All three
phases are fired at the same angle making a balanced control system. A
voltage droop proportional to the compensator current is added to the
measured system voltage and filtered to get low ripple feed back voltage
This way the SVC not only improves the voltage characteristic but also helps
in damping oscillations during post fault period. This property is also used for
damping of power swings. Damping of angular swings are improved by
feeding a properly conditioned signal derived from power flow on the line to
the voltage regulator. Reactive Power Control for Industrial loads
SVC can be used to compensate the reactive power to the loads, like furnaces,
roller mills. The load power factor is measured from voltage and current
signals, compared with a reference signal. Error signal controls the firing angle
of TCR or switching of TSC to generate the required reactive power. Load Balancing for unbalanced systems
Unbalanced loads are created in traction loads, electric arc furnaces. The SVC
regulator consists of separate reactive power measurement control and firing
pulse generation circuits for each phase to enable individual phase control.
Fig. 2.5 operating principle of Thyristor-switched
The firing angle for each phase will be different depending on its load
conditions thus effecting unbalanced control Flicker control for electric arc furnaces
Arc furnaces used to melt scrap in steel mills represent highly unbalanced and
rapidly fluctuating loads. They produce the following types of disturbances.
• Rapid open/short circuit conditions during arc initiation in the furnace
• Wide and rapid current fluctuations with unbalance between phases
• Fluctuations in the reactive current resulting in voltage variation which
causes flicker.
These loads cause flicker in lamps, interference in TV reception and other
electronic loads. To control flicker, furnace voltage and current are measured
and reactive power requirement calculated. Control of firing angle is done by
open loop to get very fast response.
The following subsections 2.5.2 to 2.5.5 apply in the first place to transmission
system SVCs. Industrial system SVCs in conjunction with arc furnaces usually
differ in some respects: No SVC transformer, fixed capacitor (filter)/Thyristor-
controlled reactor main circuit arrangement only, open-loop reactive-power
compensation control instead of closed-loop voltage control.
Principles of operation
Two types of Thyristor-controlled elements are used in SVCs:
1. TSC — Thyristor-switched capacitor
2. TCR — Thyristor- controlled reactor
From a power-frequency point of view they can both be considered as a
variable reactance, capacitive or inductive, respectively.
2.6.2 Thyristor-switched capacitor
Fig. 2.5 shows the basic diagram of a TSC. The branch shown consists of two
major parts, the capacitor C and the bi-directional Thyristor switch TY. In
addition, there is a minor component, the inductor L., the purpose of which is
to limit the rate of rise of the current
through the Thyristor and to prevent
resonance. Problems with the network.
Fig. 2.5 operating principle of Thyristor-switched
Fig. 2.5 illustrates the operating principle. The problem of achieving essentially
transient-free switching on of the capacitor is overcome by choosing the
switching instant when the voltage across the Thyristor switch is at a mini -
mum, ideally zero. In Fig 2.5 the switching-on instant is selected at the time
(t1) when the branch voltage has its maximum value and the same polarity as
the capacitor voltage. This ensures that the switching on takes place with
practically no transient.
Switching off a capacitor is accomplished by suppression of the firing pulses to
the Thyristor so that the Thyristor will block as soon as the current becomes
zero (t2). In principle, the capacitor will then remain charged to the positive or
negative peak voltage and be prepared for a new switching on.
The TSC is characterized by:
• Stepwise control
• Average one half-Cycle (maximum one cycle) delay for executing a
command from the regulator, as seen for a single phase
• Switching transients are negligible.
• No generation of harmonics
2.6.3 Thyristor controlled reactor
Fig. 2.6 shows the basic diagram of a TCR. The branch shown includes an
inductor L and a bi-directional Thyristor switch TY. The current and there by
Fig. 2.6 Operating principle of Thyristor-controlled reactor.
Fig 2.7 (a) SVC of the FC/ TCR type
(b) SVC of the TSC / TCR type
also the power frequency component of the current are controlled by
delaying the closing of the thyristor switch with respect to the natural zero
The TCR is characterized by
• Continuous control.
• Maximum one half-cycle delay for executing a command from the
regulator, as seen for a single phase.
• Practically no transients.
• Generation of harmonics
If stepwise control is acceptable, a switched mode of operation with constant
delay angle. ∝ = 90
, can be used (TSR mode of operation). The advantage of
this mode of operation is that no harmonic current is generated. A sufficiently
small SVC step size can usually be achieved by a few TSRs, sized and
operated in a so-called binary system.
2.6.4 Static Var Compensator
It is configured as FC + TCR or TSC + TCR.
The TCR and TSC are connected in delta for trapping harmonic currents of
zero sequence (3
, 9
Fig 2.8 illustrates the operating performance of the compensator according to
fig 2.7 (b)
Most transmission applications
require closed-loop bus voltage
control by an AVR.

For a rapid change of the control
order the change from full lagging
current to full leading current takes
place within a maximum of one cycle
of the network voltage.
2.6.5 SVC Characteristics
According to CIGRE an SVC shall be
considered as a reactive load on the power
system. That means the reactive power, Q,
of an SVC is positive when the SVC absorbs
reactive power, and negative when the SVC
generates reactive power.
Fig 2.9 SVC current verses voltage Characteristic.
Fig 2.8 Operating principle
of a SVC of type TSC + TCR for a slow change
of control order
Harmonics in SVC
A TSC does not produce harmonic currents, but a TCR does. All SVCs with
continuous reactive power control include one TCR or more thus they produce
harmonic currents. The harmonics of zero sequence character (eg. 3
, 9
etc.) are eliminated by some delta connection. The 5
and 7
harmonics are in
some cases eliminated by 12 pulse arrangement. As a last resort a filter is
The allowable amount of harmonic currents into the Power System expressed
in terms of voltage distortion at the point of SVC connection are :
• The allowed voltage distortion caused by a single harmonic current
• The allowed total voltage distortion caused by all harmonic
Dynamic Performance
The small-signal performance of an SVC
with closed-loop voltage control may be
characterized by its step-response time.
It is defined here as the time required to
achieve 90% of the called-for change in
voltage, for a step change in the
reference voltage. The step change
must be small enough for the SVC not to
reach a limit. The step-response time
depends on the power-system
equivalent impedance at the SVC point
of connection. It is typically less than a
few cycles of the power-frequency
voltage at the minimum short-circuit
MVA level considered when choosing
the voltage regulator gain.
If there is a risk that the short-circuit MVA level can be even lower and thereby
cause SVC voltage control instability, this can be cured by a gain supervisor
automatically reducing the gain in case of instability.
If there are frequent wide variations in the short-circuit MVA level and if it is
judged important to get as fast small-signal voltage control as possible for all
operating conditions, this can be achieved by a gain optimizer, automatically
and repeatedly adjusting the gain up or down versus the short-circuit MVA
The above discussion is primarily referred to continuously acting SVCs, but
does in principle also apply to discrete acting SVCs (SVCs of TSC, TSR or
TSC/TSR type in a binary arrangement).
The large-signal performance is essentially characterized by the actuating time
of the SVC triggering and main
circuits only. For a large voltage deviation, the SVC response time is typically
of the order of one power-frequency cycle, considering the power-frequency
voltage component only.
Fig. 2.11 Illustrates the dynamic performance of an SVC for a large step
change in the reference voltage IT, IC and IB mean total, capacitor and reactor
current respectively.
2.7 Series Capacitor
It is a bank of capacitor units inserted in a line for the purpose of canceling a
part of the line inductive reactance and so reducing the transfer impedance.
The reactive power generated in a series capacitor is proportional to I
and so
increases with increasing transmitted power and thus influences the reactive
power balance of the system.
The typical uses are:
• To increase the transmission loading capability as determined by
Transient stability limits
• To obtain a desired steady state active power division among parallel
circuits in order to reduce overall losses
• To control transmission voltages and reactive power balance
• To prevent voltage collapse in heavily loaded systems
• To damp the power oscillations in association with Thyristor control
The degree of compensation is 20 to 70% of line inductive reactance. The
series capacitor (C
) can be located at the ends of a long Transmission line or
in a switching station in the middle of it. Considerations are voltage profiles,
efficiency of compensation, losses, fault currents, over voltages, proximity to
attended stations etc.
2.7.1. Comparison between shunt and series compensation
S.N Shunt compensation Series compensation
1. The shunt unit is connected in
parallel across full line
voltage. The current through
the shunt capacitor is nearly
constant as the supply
terminal voltage and its
reactance are constant.
The series unit is connected in
series in the circuit and
therefore conducts full current
2. The voltage across the shunt
capacitor is substantially
constant as it is equal to the
system voltage and generally
within certain limits of say 0.9
to 1.1 pu.
The voltage across the series
capacitor changes
instantaneously as it depends
on the load current through it,
which varies from 0 to I
3. The power developed across
the shunt capacitor is
Csh KVAR =
Csh cSH
. ·


The power developed across
the series capacitor is
Cse KVAR = (I
) (I
)= I
4. The shunt capacitor supplies
lagging reactive power to the
system. Hence directly
compensating the lagging
KVAR load. It improves the
load power factor
substantially. Hence its main
purpose is to compensate the
load Power factor
The series capacitor reduces
the line reactance as it
introduces leading reactance in
series of the line. Thus series
capacitor at rated frequency
Compensates for the drop,
through inductive reactance of
the feeder. Hence it is used to
increase the line transmission
5. The size and capacity of
shunt capacitor is generally
higher for the same voltage
The size and capacity of a
series capacitor is relatively
lesser for the same voltage
6. Not suitable for transient The voltage regulation due to
voltage drops caused by say,
frequent motor starting,
electric welding etc.
series capacitor is proportional
to the I
hence it meets the
requirements of transient
voltage changes
7. Performance is dependent on
terminal voltage. Hence not
effective in fluctuating voltage
The performance does not
depend on the system voltage
variations. But depends on
system load current. Hence
gives full output under low
voltage and heavily loaded
8. The shunt capacitor need not
be on the source side. But
closer to the load point
The series capacitor should
always be on the source side of
the load.
9. The rating is based on
KVARCsh = KW(Tanφ1 -
Tanφ2) where φ1 is the power
factor angle before correction,
φ2 is the pf angle after
The rating is based on
percentage compensation of the
line reactance. Generally XCse
= 0.3 to 0.4 of Xline Ex: A
220KV, 0.4Ω/km, 100km line,
40%, XL = 0.4 X 100 = 40Ω,
Xcse = 0.4 x 40 = 16Ω =
1/2πfCse Cse =
µ µ 200
16 314
10 1

10. The Ferranti effect is
aggravated by shunt
The Ferranti effect is reduced by
the series capacitor
11. Power transferred through a
line P= δ Sin
r s

with shunt capacitor, Vr
increases ⇒ P increases
With Cse, Vr increases and X
decreases hence P increases
much more.
12. The shunt compensation does
not require special protection
arrangements as the terminal
voltage of the capacitor bank
falls under fault conditions
The voltage across series
capacitor abnormally rises due
to flow of fault current through it.
Hence it requires special
protection schemes.
The fig. 2.12 Shows the bypass arrangement series capacitor (C
) in case of
faults as large voltage develops across the series capacitor. But the transient
stability warrants reinsertion of C
into the system at the earliest. This is
achieved by the Zinc Oxide (Zno) varistor. It provides instantaneous capacitor

reinsertion after fault clearing. A triggered spark gap is provided to take care of
excess energy absorbed by Zno. Damping circuit (D) limits the discharge
Zno arrestor is highly non linear. It is
connected across the series capacitor
in addition to the triggered gap and by
pass switch. The varistor clamps the
capacitor voltage below its short time
over voltage rating during the fault.
The re-insertion is almost
instantaneous. Thus both capacitor
protection and
system stability
aspects are taken
care of.
Series Capacitor in radial distribution systems
A Series Capacitor is becoming popular in radial distribution systems because
• C
is a cost effective device of reducing voltage drops caused by steady
loads on a 11 or 33 KV radial line with load Power factor of say 0.7 to
• To take care of starting of a large motor and consequential voltage
• To decrease line losses due to the lower current
• To increase load ability of the feeder
• Simple and reliable bypass systems are available
• Advanced resonance detectors are available.
2.7.2. Sub Synchronous Resonance (SSR)
The SSR is generated in radially connected turbo generators with a series
Capacitor (C
) in the line.
Fig 2.13 System of the type most exposed to the sub-synchronous resonance
Fig.2.12 Series Capacitor with Zinc-
oxide varistor by-pass system.
Two basic phenomenon:
• The generator appears as an induction generator for sub synchronous
armature currents
• If the difference between the synchronous frequency and the sub
synchronous natural frequency of the electrical system lies close to a
natural frequency of the shaft mechanical system, the bilateral coupling
between the two systems becomes strong. If the net damping of the two
systems is negative, electrical and torsional oscillations will build up,
either spontaneously or after a disturbance, e.g. a line fault.
In case of hydro-turbine generator units, the risk of torsional oscillation
problem is practically negligible.
Preventive Measures:
• SSR detection and relaying leading to tripping of unit
• Compensating sub synchronous currents with Dynamic stability
• Pole-face amortizer winding against induction generator effect
• Thyrister Controlled Series Capacitor.
The use of a Thyristor-controlled module, appropriately controlled, of the
series capacitor bank seems to be a promising counter measure.
Another subject often discussed is how to ensure correct operation of line
relay protections in conjunction with series capacitors. According to service
experience the risk of maloperation of line distance protections seems small.
Ultra-high-speed line protections based on traveling wave detection can
eliminate the possible problems of line protection in conjunction with series
3.0 The Capacitance
Absolute permitivity (ε) =(Electric Flux density/ Electric Field Intensity)
ε = ε
ε = Absolute permitivity
Permitivity of free space = ε
Relative permitivity = ε
Electric field Intensity = (V/d) = ( Voltage across the dielectric / Thickness of
the dielectric)
Electric Flux density = (Q/A) =( Charge in coulombs/ Area of the dielectric)
Q = Charge accumulated in coulombs = (Current in Amperes X Time in
C = Capacitance = (Q / V) farads
A Farad is the capacity of a capacitor between the plates of which there
appears a difference of potential of one Volt when it is charged by a quantity of
electricity equal to one coulomb.
C = (ε
A / d) = ε A/d farads
A= area of the dielectric field in sq. mts.
d = distance between plates in mts.
ε = Absolute permitivity
Capacitors in series =
1 1 1 1
3 2 1
+ + + ·
Capacitors in parallel = C= C
+ …
3.1 Capacitor in AC circuits
3.2 Circuit containing Resistance & capacitance
= IR
= IX
Leading Ic
Fig 3.1. Voltage and current relationships in a.c. capacitive circuits
2 2
2 2
2 2 2
) ( ) (
+ · ·
+ · + ·
Fig 3.2. circuit containing resistance and capacitance a) Circuit b)
Phasor diagram
KVar = (I
) (V) = ωC V.V = 2πfC V
10 ) )( (

× V I
2 2
KVar KW +
KW = VI Cosφ x10
KVar = VI sinφ x10
Pf =
φ Cos
KVar =
Tan KW
KW KVA · · −
2 2
3.3 Dielectric Loss
The dielectric loss is present due to dielectric in a capacitor instead of perfect
vacuum. The phase angle of current falls short of 90
by δ. Hence Power
factor of capacitor = Cos (90-δ) = Sin δ ≅ tan δ.
Tan δ = r.cω
φ = (90-δ)
Power absorbed by capacitor = VI cos φ = VI tan δ for low values of δ
Tan δ = 0.0006 ⇒Loss of 0.6 w/KVar
Fig 3.3 Power absorbed by the capacitor equals VI cos φ ≈ VI tan δ
Tan δ =rCω
φ = 90
- δ
3.4 Charge and discharge of a capacitor
Fig 3.4. Charge / Discharge of a capacitor through a pure resistor
10 x
· = Single phase capacitor current
. 3
= Three phase capacitor Current
V = line to line voltage


− ·

e ch
I 1
CR = Time constant of the unit
e disch

Energy stored in a capacitor = J =½ CV
Where C in µF and V in kV
3.5 Capacitor for Power factor correction
= KW tanφ
= KW tanφ
2 ;
) = KW (tanφ
Fig 3.5.a Capacitor connected in parallel with load where V= supply
voltage, I
= current taken by load, I
= Current taken by capacitor, I=
current drawn from supply.
Fig 3.6. Phasor diagram showing the effect of adding capacitance where
=current flowing when no capacitor is connected. I
=current due to capacitor
only; I= current taken from supply with capacitor connected
3.6 Shunt Capacitors applied to Power Supply System:
Fig 3.5.b. Determination of shunt capacitor requirement
Fig 3.7. Simplified distribution system a) System b) simplified circuit c) Phasor
diagram lagging power factor d) phase diagram unity power factor with shunt
capacitor bank.
The reactive power is generated at the receiving end. Hence the HV
transmission and distribution system is relieved of this reactive power flow in
the system.
3.7 Series capacitors in Power Systems
Fig 3.8. Simplified distribution system with series connected capacitors a)
System b) Simplified circuit c) Phasor diagram without capacitor d) Phasor
diagram with capacitor
3.8 Protection of a Capacitor Bank
3.8.1 Design considerations for protection of HT Capacitors
The protection of HT Capacitors should consider abnormal voltage variations,
distorted current and voltage wave forms due to non linear loads, resonance,
parallel switching, restrike of switching device, identification and elimination of
failed capacitors etc.
a) BIS, IEC specify capacitors to be suitable to take care 10% over
voltage for 12 hours a day
b) The harmonics can be taken care of by a series reactor in series with
capacitor. The series reactor shall be say 6%. This combination offers
lower impedance at 5
harmonic. Net impedance at 5
harmonic is
inductive and hence no resonance takes place. Explained in section
c) The capacitor offers very low impedance at the time of switching.
These in rush currents will be larger when subsequent banks are
switched on. In order to limit this in rush current a 0.2 to 1% reactor is
used in series.
d) Restrike: When capacitor is switched off, one side of the switch is
system voltage and the other side the charge. Hence double system
voltage may appear across the contacts. If a restrike occurs the
capacitor gets damaged. Hence the switch should be restrike free.
e) The failed units of the capacitor bank shall have to be eliminated in
order to avoid over voltage on the remaining units.
3.8.2. A one line diagram of a protection scheme of a capacitor bank is as
shown in fig (3.9)
As per IEC – 70, Capacitor banks must
i) Withstand 10% over voltage
ii) Withstand 30% over load due to over voltage and/or harmonics
iii) Peak value of in rush current must not exceed 100 times the rated
current of the capacitor.
iv) Capacitor must not be re-energized until residual voltage falls below
10% rated voltage.
v) CB must be restrike free
3.8.3 Over load protection (50)
The capacitor bank tuning factor = 8.9
Rated load current = I = A 289
10 33 3
10 5 . 16

× ×
(1.1) Ir = 1.1 x 289 = 318 Amps
Hence the CT ratio at 33kV is 320/5 Amps
The relay should trip at 30% over load ⇒ 289 x 1.3/320 x 5 = 5.87
= 117%
The above overload current is not sufficient for an 1DMT relay. Hence
an O.C. relay with adjustable definite time delay is provided.
Recommended settings
a) Current = 1.3 x Ir
b) Timer = 0.3 sec.
3.8.4 Over voltage protection (59)
Recommended settings
a) Voltage = 1.1 V rated
b) timer = 7 to 10 sec.
3.8.5 Over current/Short circuit Protection
An IDMT relay is provided to take care of short circuits in the capacitor
3.8.6 Under voltage relay
This is provided with bus PT and set at 60% of rated voltage. A time
delay of 2 sec. is provided. This takes care of auto re-close CB on the
in coming feeder.
3.8.7. Capacitor Unbalance protection
This is to disconnect the bank when a fault has occurred inside the
bank in order to prevent a healthy unit from being exposed to more than
1.1 rated voltage.
a) Voltage unbalance scheme (60)
The unbalance can be detected by sensing the residual voltage coming
across the open delta of PT secondary as shown in fig.3.10
Disadvantages: i) The scheme can not distinguish between unbalance
due to capacitor internal fault and unbalance due to external fault or
unbalanced load.
ii) Sensitivity of voltage unbalance scheme is always less than
sensitivity of current unbalance scheme.
Fig. 3.10 Unbalance protection of 3 phase capacitor bank
with RVT
b) Current unbalance scheme (61)
3 phase capacitor banks are connected in double star. The CT between
two neutrals detects the unbalance current and trips.
Delay in re-closing operation
Once tripped the capacitor should be allowed to discharge to an appreciable
limit of ≅ 10% of Vrated within 5 mts. To facilitate this, a time delay interlock
is provided to prevent the reclosure of the breaker within 5 minutes.
The CB should be re-strike free
It should be capable to break the capacitor current at maximum permissible
bus voltage
Inrush current
Since generally the capacitor banks are used in series with reactors as filter
banks. Peak value of the in rush current is limited by the reactor within
specified limit. If it is used alone a small reactor is considered in series with
the capacitor to limit the peak in rush current.
3.9 Series reactor for harmonic suppression
When there are harmonic generators like rectifiers or arc furnaces present in
the system, there is a possibility of capacitors drawing much more current than
permissible limit.
A series reactor connected to a capacitor forms a circuit with tuning frequency,
At tuning frequency X = X
– X
≅ 0
⇒ X
= 2πf
L; X
= 1/(2πf
X = X
– X
= 0 ⇒ 2πf
L = 1/2πf
( ) LC
LC π π 2
· ⇒
The tuning frequency (fo) is the frequency at which the LC circuit offers least
Fig 3.12 the series reactor for harmonic suppression
impedance. In order to suppress harmonics, the series reactor is so chosen
that tuning frequency falls below the harmonics of the lowest order that may
be present in the system.
For example if 5
harmonic is the lower order present in the system then the
tuning frequency should be say 240 Hz so that the LC circuit will offer higher
impedance to the 7
, 11
……. harmonics.
The tuning number = n =
L f C f LC f
· · ·
1 1 1
1 2 . 2
π π π
Where fo = tuning frequency
f1 = fundamental frequency i.e. 50 Hz
= capacitive reactance
= series reactor reactance
The frequency response characteristic of the series LC circuit with 6% series
n =
4 7 . 16
06 . 0
≅ · ·
C o
f X
50 0.06 X
= 0.94X
100 0.12 X
/2 (1/2 – 0.12)X
= 0.76X
150 0.18 X
/3 (1/3 – 0.18)X
= 0.46X
200 0.24 X
/4 (1/4 – 0.24)X
= 0.04X
250 0.3X
/5 (1/5 – 0.3)X
= -0.5X
n = f
= 205/50 ≅ 4.09
The LC circuit does not offer high impedance to the harmonic currents close to
the tuning number. Hence the series reactor and the capacitor should be
designed to withstand these currents also.
S.No. f
/ f
= X
/ (f
as %ge of X
1 1 X
= X
(1.0) 100
Fig 3.13 the frequency response characteristic of a series LC circuit
2 3 X
= X
(0.11) 11
3 5 X
= X
(0.04) 4
4 7 X
= X
(0.02) 2
5 9 X
= X
(0.012) 1.2
6 11 X
= X
(0.0083) 0.83
3.10 Causes Of Capacitor Bank Failures And Remedial Measures
It has been found invariably, whenever capacitor bank failure takes place
leading to failure of capacitor units, the tendency of the user is to get the failed
units replaced as soon as possible or to use the bank with remaining lesser
number of units without going into details of failure and causes thereof,
Instead of rushing to re-install the capacitor bank one must analyse the failure
and arrive at the root cause of failure so that necessary remedial measures
can be taken to avoid recurring of such failures in future.
Capacitor Failures Can be segregated into following categories
• Failures due to internal unit faults.
• Failures due to installation problems.
• Failures due to system problems.
3.11 Failures Due To Internal Unit Faults
Faults are generally due to defective material used or due to manufacturing
Defective Materials include mainly POLYPROPYLENE FILM having voids or
spaces where thickness of the film is lower than average thickness stipulated
by film manufacturer. This gives rise to higher voltage stresses thereby leading
to puncture in the capacitor element and subsequent failure of the unit. In case
of units with internal element fuse protection, may be such defective elements
are Isolated and balance units continue to be in service. However, In case of
units having external fuse protection, such faulty elements may lead to arcing,
rise in Internal pressure, bulging (and may be unit bursting) before the external
fuse can identify the fault to trip the unit.
Impregnate Oil is also important from the point of view of providing interlayer
insulation and cooling. Any impurities in the oil are likely to give flashovers at
lead wires/interconnections and containers and thereby failure of the unit.
CRCA Sheets are used for containers because of their higher tensile strength,
which leads to distortion in the shape of the container in the event of abnormal
internal pressure. If the sheet material is not CRCA, rusting of container,
bursting due to internal pressure etc. are seen as reasons for unit failure.
Defective Workmanship include defects during the manufacturing process
such as Element Winding, Impregnation. Container Welding. Sealing of
Element Winding is necessarily required to be done in dust—free
atmosphere. Generally pressurised rooms are used for this purpose to avoid
dust entering into the winding room. Any dust particles in the element give
arcing in the elements and thereby failure of the unit
Impregnation process is most vital. Longer the impregnation cycle, better will
he the quality of capacitor. During impregnation cycle full vacuum should be
maintained in order to ensure complete drying of elements and then proper oil
impregnation shall take place. If during the process vacuum is lost or oil
impregnation is not done properly, premature failure of elements is likely.
If Container Welding & Sealing Of Bushings is not done properly, oil
leakages start and when oil leaks out, air contamination leads to subsequent
failure of tank. Generally raw material and process problems are identified
during inspection stage and testing. Such portion of faulty unit or entire unit
can be rejected during the process of manufacture. However, sometimes
these units pass the in-house testing but do not sustain field conditions and
lead to premature failure in operation. However, one must note, such failures
are only isolated cases and are restricted to one unit failure at a time and
generally within one month of commissioning of the bank.
3.12 Failures Due To Installation Problems
Capacitor Bank installations should he done properly as per SUPPLIERS
DRAWINGS and INSTRUCTION MANUALS. Unit configuration and number
of series groups should be strictly followed as per drawings. Mass failures are
likely to occur if the series groups and number of units per series group are not
installed properly.
If Handling of capacitors at the time of installation is done by dragging the
units on the floor with the help of bushings, oil leakages from bottom welding
portion or bushings solder may start leading to failure of the units. Sometimes
units damaged in transit with OIL LEAKED out completely are used in the
installation, which will cause subsequent failure. Interconnections between
unit bushings and busbars should be done with L clamps using 2 spanner
method to avoid breakage of solder joint of bushing. Sufficient space should
be available between units for better COOLING of the units particularly for
indoor banks
For open type banks live parts should be minimum 8 feet above ground level.
Either elevated structures or wire mesh enclosures should be used. This is
important with more than one series group is involved when the containers
become live. Electrical Safety clearances should be maintained as per IE
Earthing of installation is necessary but remember not to earth live structure or
floating neutral point of capacitor bank.
At places where BIRD FAULTS are likely, insulate live parts with insulating
tape, sleeving. Whenever live structures are involved with capacitor banks of
more than one series groups, bird faults may lead to mass failure. Wire mesh
may be used to avoid bird fault under such conditions.
Balancing Of Capacitor Units Per Group should be done before
commissioning with the help of capacitance meter or by applying low voltage
single phase AC supply. Failure of any unit in the group will also give
unbalance leading to overvoltage on balance units of the same group which
may be dangerous enough to cause failure of the units.
3.13 Failures Due To System Problems
As mentioned earlier, generally the capacitor bank should stabilize within one
month of operation. If however, it is found that the units fail one by one or
mass failure occurs, system study like harmonics, load variations, power factor
measurements at various loading conditions, voltages and voltage/current
surges due to loads/capacitor banks switching, will have to be carried out, to
ascertain cause of failure.
In case HARMONICS are present in the system, capacitor system should be
designed to take care of harmonics present since capacitor system offers
lowest impedance path to harmonics. By adding appropriate size of reactor in
the capacitor system, we can increase the impedance and curtail harmonics
entering into capacitor thus reducing loading on capacitors. However, if
harmonic contents are large• enough to give loading on capacitors more than
designed value, we have to use capacitors in the form of tuned filter circuit
designed to carry the required harmonics. If capacitors are not designed to
take care of these aspects they are likely to fail due to harmonics.
3.14 Selection Of Capacitors
Rating of capacitors, basic technology and operating conditions are vital
in selecting appropriate capacitors.
Rating should be selected to ensure that the Power Factor does not go leading
under all conditions of loading. Leading power factor particularly under light
load conditions is likely to rise system voltages as also resonance phenomena
between incoming transformer and capacitor bank may occur to build up
voltages and thereby failure of capacitors. Rated voltage of the capacitors
should be selected based on the highest system voltage keeping some safety
margin and considering effect of harmonics.
As per the latest trend and due to lowest loss figures 100% PP film capacitors
are used in HT applications. However, in case of LT applications, selection of
TECHNOLOGY will be vital. Metallised Polypropylene (MPP) capacitors are
available at moderate rates and loss figures. These are best suited for LT
system where harmonics are not present and application does not involve
frequent switching. For system with harmonics or application involving
frequent switching these capacitors’ output goes on reducing due to self
healing property. Under such conditions either Mixed Dielectric (MD)
capacitors of Paper plus polypropylene film dielectric or latest version with
very low losses, 100% polypropylene film (All PP) capacitors should be used.
Generally MPP capacitors are provided with inductor coil to reduce effect of
switching surge currents thereby extending life against self healing under
normal operating conditions.
When capacitors are connected directly across MOTOR in individual feeder
compensation, due care should be taken to check that under all loading
conditions of the motor, capacitors don’t overcompensate.
Number of SWITCHING OPERATIONS should not exceed 3-4 per day. If the
number of switching operations are likely to be more, the life of capacitor bank,
reduces as each time the capacitors have to carry high inrush currents. While
SWITCHING ON the capacitor bank, it shall be ensured that system voltage is
less than the rated voltage of the capacitor. Again, life expectancy goes down
with switching at higher voltages. In case capacitors are used near to
transformer with on-load cap changer it would be safer to have OLTC on the
primary side of the transformer and capacitor on secondary side as each
OLTC operation generates surges, dangerous to capacitors.
3.15 Selection Of Associated Equipment
Associated equipment selection is as import as capacitor selection for better
performance of capacitor bank system.
In order to avoid overvoltages generated at the time of opening of BREAKER,
the same should be restrike free. Necessary test certificates for breaker
suitability for capacitor duty should be obtained. Sometimes it may be
necessary to use surge absorbers With breakers used for capacitor duty. It
has also been noticed that switching of fully loaded inductive feeder by
vacuum circuit breaker (VCB)

gives rise to voltage surges. If capacitors are
connected to the same bus, these surges are likely to damage capacitors.
Here also it is advisable to use surge absorbers.
Series Reactors are used with capacitors to (i) Limit switching surge currents
particularly during parallel switching (ii) Limit harmonic currents (iii) For tuned
filter circuit. Depending upon the application involved, the parameters of the
series reactors are decided. Capacitor rated voltage should be increased to
the extent of drop in the series reactors. The series reactor current rating
should be chosen to cover 130% continuous current rating of associated
capacitor bank. The heat run test should be carried out at 130% current rating
for series reactors, to ensure this compliance and to avoid failures due to
higher currents. Series Reactors are available in magnetically & non-
magnetically shielded versions. Generally in systems with harmonics, non-
magnetically shielded reactors are used to avoid failures due to harmonic
fluxes flowing through shielding.
It is a common practice to reduce one unit from each phase if one of the unit
fails and use reduced capacity bank with same reactor. This should be
avoided as reduced capacity bank has higher Xc value thereby percentage of
series reactor compared to Xc reduces. Reduced value of series reactor may
not be effective to curtail harmonics. A small value reactor at neutral end of the
capacitor bank is always useful to improve capacitor bank performance as it
reduces considerably switching surges particularly during parallel switching
thereby reducing the duty on all the associated equipment including breakers.
Lightning Arrestors to some extent restrict switching surge voltages. Whenever
high surges are expected, Lightning arrestors of higher discharge handling
capacity should be used. Also, Lightning Arrestor leakage currents should be
periodically checked to confirm the same are not more than 150% of the value
recorded at the time of installation.
If RVT windings are not mechanically strong enough to sustain voltage surges
due to capacitor bank switching, RVT is likely to fail.
3.16 Nature of Failures
Whenever capacitor unit failure occurs, this necessarily gives rise to NDR
(Neutral Displacement Relay) operation. In case of capacitor units protected
with external expulsion fuse (or HRC FUSE), the fuse may operate to protect
the unit, which will also give rise to NDR operation. NDR will also operate if
RVT has internal fault. Therefore whenever capacitor bank trips on NDR
operation, one has to find out if fuse has blown but unit is intact. This can be
due to (i) Transient overcurrent or (ii) Overheating of fuse due to loose end
Capacitor bank may trip due to other protections offered like overcurrent, over
voltage, under voltage which are common protections. Here again bank may
trip without any failure of units, one has to identify by checking the capacitance
value of the unit and certify unit failure. From the protective relay operation
one can identify the type of fault which might have caused failure of unit.
3.17 Summary
Any unit failure should be analysed based on information given above and
such failures can be attributed to (a) manufacturing defects or (b) wrong
applications. Failures due to harmonics, switching over voltages or inadequate
protection shall not be attributed to manufacturers.
In order to find out cause of failure, full data of capacitor bank at the time of
commissioning and at the time of failure may be noted.
IEEE have standardised ratings of capacitor units to take care of normal site
conditions and safety margins in the form of adjusted rated voltages. After the
capacitor bank system is fully stabilized, spare units should be kept to replace
any of the failed units under circumstances beyond control, but only after
ascertaining the cause of failure.
1) A load of 85 KVA is working at pf of 0.6. The demand charges per KW of
Maximum Demand per month = Rs.180/-. If the power factor in a month is less
than 0.9 the MD charges for that month are increased by 1% for each 0.01 by
which the pf is below 0.9. Find payback period if cost/KVar = Rs.100/- and the
power factor is to be raised up to 0.95.
: a) Total demand charges prior to correction:
85 x 0.6 = 51.0 KW x 180 = 9180
pf penalty = 30% of above = 2754
11934 per month
b) The cost of capacitor:
Correction KVAR = Kw[Tan(cos
pf1) – Tan(cos
KVAR=51 [Tan(cos
0.6) – Tan(cos
0.95)] = 51 x 1.005
Hence 51 KVar is required to correct the power factor to 0.95
Cost per KVar = Rs.100/-
51 KVar ⇒ 100 x 51 = Rs. 5100/-
c) Improved Load conditions:
New total charges per month = 51 x 180 = 9180
Difference/month = 11934 – 9180 = 2754 Rs.
Hence the investment can be recovered in about 2.0 months
2) A HT consumer has 50 KW MD at 0.8 pf and average consumption of 5000
units per month. The distribution company penalizes @ 3 ps/kwh for each 1%
decrease in power factor below 0.9. If the cost of capacitor bank along with
associated switchgear is Rs.200/kVar. In how many months the investment
on capacitor can be recovered if the power factor is raised to 0.98.
Solution: Percentage of pf inviting penalty = (0.9 – 0.8)/1 x 100 = 10%
Energy charges penalty = 10 x 3 x
= 1500/- Rs.
∴ penalty is Rs.1500/ month on average consumption of 5000 units
Correction KVar = 50 kW [(tan(cos
0.8) – tan (cos
= 50 (0.541) = 27.050 KVar
Cost of 27 KVar = 27 x 200 = 5400/Rs.
It can be recovered in
= 3.6 months
3) Find the average reactive power flow through a 220 kV, 120 km line
operating at Sending end voltage (Vs) of 1.0 pu and Receiving end voltage
(Vr) of 0.9 pu and the δ = 30
: cosδ = cos 30 = 0.866
Qs =

( )
x x x x
VsVr V s 22 . 0 7794 . 1 ) 866 . 0 )( 9 . 0 )( 0 . 1 ( 0 . 1 cos
2 2


− δ
Qr =
x x x x
Vr VsVr 03 . 0 81 . 0 78 . 0 ) 9 . 0 ( ) 866 . 0 )( 9 . 0 )( 0 . 1 ( cos
2 2



− δ
220 kV, 120 km ⇒ x = 48Ω
Base impedance = Ω · · 484
2 2
Line impedance in pu =
PU 1 . 0

Qs =
2 . 2
1 . 0
22 .
= 220 MVAR
Qr =
pu 3 . 0
1 . 0
03 . 0
− ·

Qaverage pu
Qr Qs
95 . 0
9 . 1
) 3 . 0 ( 2 . 2
· ·
− +
· = 95 MVAR
4) A 100 MVAR capacitor is connected at a bus with 5000 MVA short
circuit capacity what is the expected voltage change.
Let 1 pu = 100MVA;
∆V =
Q ∆
∆Q = 100 MVAR,
∆Q in pu = 100/100 = 1 pu
= 5000 MVA
in pu = 5000/100 = 50 pu
∆V (pu) =
⇒ · ⇒

02 . 0
% 2
5) A bus experiences t 3% voltage fluctuation. The S
is 5000 MVA. We wish
to size the Static Var Compensator to smoothen the voltage fluctuation, what
shall be the size of SVC?
: ∆V = 0.03 pu; S
= 5000/100 = 50 pu
∆Q = (∆V )(Ssc) = (0.03)(50) = 1.50 pu = t 150 MVAR
Hence the size of SVC required is t 150 MVAR
4.0 Introduction
Well-planned and coordinated reactive power compensation is an
indispensable element in the design and operation of a reliable power system.
The effectiveness of reactive power control on power system may be of utmost
importance not only under normal conditions, but also during major system
It is often advantageous to operate the transmission parts of a power system.
• with a fairly flat voltage profile, in order to avoid unnecessary
reactive power flows.
• With a relatively small supply of reactive power into the distribution
• With reactive power capacity reserves available for use in
connection with major disturbances and under generator,
transformer or line outage conditions.
4.1 Transmissions with long overhead lines
This section discusses transmission and sub transmission systems, where
shunt compensation, in one form or another, is necessary or useful for reactive
power and voltage control and possibly also for synchronous stability
improvement. Problems of voltage control and synchronous stability are most
pronounced in systems with high “transfer impedances’. With low “transfer
impedances’ the question is more that of only balancing the reactive loads by
reactive power production. The heading “transmissions with long overhead
lines” has been chosen because long lines means high “transfer impedances”.
The discussion is grouped into the subjects of steady-state var and voltage
control, prevention of voltage collapse, reduction of temporary over voltages,
other voltage quality improvements and synchronous stability improvement.
4.2 Steady-state var and voltage control
The aim of the steady-state voltage control is to keep the transmission bus
voltages within fairly narrow limits, while the load transferred varies. The
desirable voltage range under normal operating conditions is usually defined
by the nominal voltage +/- 5 to 10 per cent, usually with higher voltage during
heavy load conditions than during light load conditions. Usually a larger
voltage deviation is allowed under circuit outage operating conditions than
under normal operating conditions. The set voltages on the different buses, for
which the voltage can be controlled directly, should be such that the reactive
power flows are minimized.
Since the reactive power transmitted may greatly vary hour by hour, the
variation of the reactive power balance of a line may be considerable, as
illustrated by Figure 4.1. In the case of a long EHV transmission, where
variations in the hundreds of Mvar per line are involved, this greatly influences
the reactive power balance of the entire transmission systems.
power p.u.of
Fig 4.1 Reactive power balance of a transmission line
If there is an outage, either, forced or scheduled, of one line out of a number of
heavily loaded parallel lines, a great increase in reactive power demand may
be created. The line generation of reactive power is reduced and the line
consumption of reactive power is greatly increased.
The basic voltage control of a power system is provided by the large
generators, each having its own excitation system with an automatic voltage
regulator. The generators are used for voltage control at the terminals to which
they are connected; reactive power is generated or absorbed, depending on
the load conditions. Transfer of reactive power from the generators to
electrically remote points of the power system or vice versa is usually avoided
under normal operating conditions.
Generators are, however, very important as reserve sources of reactive
power, needed also rather far from the generators, after contingencies such as
the sudden loss of a main generator or a major line section. The short-time
reactive overload capability of generators may also be valuable on such
occasions. Further, pure synchronous compensator operation of generators
can be valuable under unusual system operating conditions.
4.3 Passive shunt compensation
The coarse reactive-power balance and voltage control, in particular of the
parts of transmission systems which are not adjacent to generators, is brought
about through passive shunt compensation by means of breaker-switched and
permanently connected shunt reactors and breaker-switched shunt capacitors.
Also series compensation comes into picture.
Under light load conditions of a long EHV transmission, the excessive line-
generated reactive power must be drawn out at the buses in order to keep
down the voltages. Shunt reactors are frequently used on EHV lines of lengths
exceeding about 200 km they are also needed on shorter lines, if these are
supplied from weak systems. With this method, shunt reactive-power
absorption; the adjoining parts of the power system are released from reactive
power flows. There is a trend towards the highest degrees of compensation for
the highest system voltages and the longest lines. Degrees of compensation
of 60 to 70 percent of the line charging are not unusual for the highest EHV
Shunt reactors in EHV systems are usually connected either to tertiary
windings of transformer, for instance at 12 KV, or direct at line potential; in a
few cases to generator buses. Nowadays. Most new EHV system reactor
installations are at line potential. Shunt reactors are also used in EHV
transmissions with long lines or cables but less frequently than in EHV
With increasing load transferred by a long EHV transmission, the excessive
line-generated reactive power decreases and the reactive power absorption
has to be reduced. At least some of the shunt reactors are usually
disconnected so as not to cause an unnecessary voltage drop. Very long EHV
transmissions without series compensation are usually not operated above 1.0
p. u. of SIL per line.
The reactive power injections, which may be needed under heavy load
conditions are supplied from generators, shunt capacitors and dynamic shunt
compensation means; the latter is discussed under the next subheading.
Shunt capacitors are not frequently used in EHV transmission systems. They
are usually to be found in systems with lower nominal voltages; in HV
transmission systems and sub transmission systems, and in distribution
systems, in particular.
Series compensation is employed on long EHV lines; the main purpose is
usually to improve the transient stability or to obtain a desired load division
among parallel circuits. At the same time series compensation has a greatly
beneficial effect on the coarse reactive-power balance and voltage control.
Because of a smaller variation the net reactive power balance at the lines
versus the variation in the load transferred.
4.4 Dynamic shunt compensation
In cases where the voltage has to be better controlled than is possible with
passive shunt compensation, i.e. by breaker-switched shunt reactors and
shunt capacitors, active or dynamic shunt compensation may be needed to
provide high-performance voltage control. The latter term is referred here to
the control quantities of Continuity, rapidity, accuracy and frequency of control
The synchronous compensator and the Thyristor-controlled Static Var
Compensator (SVC) make to the devices for dynamic shunt compensation.
Synchronous compensators were installed and continue to be in service in AC
transmission systems at the receiving end of long radial transmission and at
main buses within meshed networks with long lines, particularly in regions
where there is only little local generation. For new installations of dynamic
shunt compensation devices the SVC has virtually replaced the synchronous
compensator due to benefits in costs, maintenance and performance
characteristics. A great many SVCs are in use for high-performance voltage
control, worldwide.
4.5 Prevention of voltage collapse
By voltage collapse is meant a severe voltage depression without inherent
recovery, The voltages do not necessarily decrease to zero but to low values,
making the continued proper operation of a small or large part of a power
system impossible. The phenomenon has appeared occasionally and is
sometimes difficult to predict. Generally, less attention is paid to voltage
collapse than to synchronous instability, but it can, nevertheless, be of great
importance. Particularly when leading to power system blackout. Voltage
collapse is a form of voltage instability. The key cause at its appearance is
inadequate reactive power supplies. One or more of the following factors are
usually involved:
• High transfer impedances
• High load content of induction motors
• Insufficient reactive power generation reserves
• Temporary operating conditions
• Generator, transformer or line outage
• High system loading
• Maintenance work
• Erroneous human action
• Equipment malfunction
• Automatic control of transformer on-load tap changers
• Actions of generator current limiters
The load-voltage characteristics, i.e. the real and the reactive power of the
actual composite loads versus the voltage have a tremendous influence on
the phenomenon. The process leading to voltage collapse takes place within
time ranges from a fraction of a second to half an hour very much depending
on how it is triggered but also on the network configuration and the operating
conditions. Three examples referring to different time ranges are given below:
 A forced outage, e.g., of a line, may cause a fast voltage collapse for a
limited load area of a power system.
 A large-scale voltage collapse preceding a system blackout, may take a
minute or more to develop after the initial disturbance. During this time
there may be cascade line disconnections, actions by field and stator
current limiters of generator excitation systems, actions by transformer
on-load tap changers. etc.
 Voltage collapse in a distribution system fed via a long sub transmission
line and due to receiving-end transformer tap changing as the load
increases, may take half an hour to develop.
Voltage collapse can usually be prevented by installing sufficient amounts of
controllable reactive-power supply sources at proper buses, e.g. in cases of
conceivable slow voltage collapse breaker-switched shunt capacitors and in
cases of conceivable rapid voltage collapse, SVCs. Network reinforcement by
series compensation, if applicable, can also prevent voltage collapse.
4.6 Reduction of temporary over voltage
Fundamental-frequency over voltages, the kind of temporary over voltages
primarily considered in this subsection, originates from switching operations
and faults. A rough rule of thumb is that temporary over voltages should
usually not exceed 1.5 p.u. And their duration not 1 second.
Figure 4.2 illustrates a marked case of conceivable high fundamental-
frequency over voltages, if not counteracted; a very long EHV line between
two systems and with a low short-circuit capacity Ssc of the sending system. If
receiving end load dropping occurs at high load, leaving the line energized
from the sending end only for some time, a high fundamental-frequency over
voltage will appear at both line ends and at the receiving end in particular. The
voltage rise is due to the change from active/inductive load to capacitive load
for the sending system and due to the so-called Ferranti effect of the line. If
the load dropping brings about a separation of the systems, problems of
frequency rise and of generator self-excitation may appear.
Perhaps the very worst case, sometimes considered, is a single line-to-ground
fault at the receiving end followed by load dropping. Fundamental-frequency
overvoltages, as discussed here, are usually most critical during the initial
period of transmission development, when the short circuit capacities and the
number of interconnections are low.
Energization of a long EHV line is similar to load dropping, but with lower
overvoltages; a long line is usually energized from the “best end”, i.e. the end
with highest short-circuit capacity.
The remedy for fundamental-frequency overvoltages, if they are a problem, is
reactive power absorption. The shunt reactors installed for the steady-state
voltage control and the line energization are usually sufficient. There is,
however, a problem in that some or all of the reactors may be disconnected
during heavy load conditions. One method to overcome this is to use a
combination of a minimum installation of permanently line connected shunt
reactors and switchable bus-connected shunt reactors. A third alternative is
SVCs with reactive power absorbing capability.
4.7 Other voltage quality improvements
Two special voltage quality subjects in conjunction with sub transmissions are
Reduction of voltage asymmetries, caused by time-varying single-phase
traction loads.
Unbalanced loads of the type mentioned give rise to asymmetrical currents
Fig 4.2 Reactive power absorption by shunt reactors at line potential
and voltages, the negative-sequence components of which can have
undesirable effects, particularly on rotating machines.
Let us consider first an unbalanced load consuming active power only. The
possibility to balance a steady-state load of this type by means of reactive
devices (capacitors and inductors) has been wellknown for many years. To
balance a rapidly varying load of this type has been practically impossible.
Now, the SVC with individual phase control allows this possibility. The
unbalance in reactive power consumption can, of course, also be balanced by
proper individual phase control. Several SVCs are in use for this purpose.
4.8. Reduction of voltage fluctuations caused by dragline loads
Dragline loads of remote mining plants create voltage fluctuations, which often
represent a problem both for the plant itself and for other consumers in the
vicinity of the plant. The power of a large dragline excavator is characterized
• Relatively rapid variations
• Shock loading
• The digging cycle, typically 1 minute
• Driving motor oscillations, if synchronous motor, typically 2 Hz
The SVC is an excellent means to reduce these voltage fluctuations.
4.9 Synchronous stability improvement
The term ‘synchronous stability’ denotes the ability of a power system to retain
the synchronous machines in synchronism without sustained rotor oscillations,
both after large disturbances (transient stability) and during steady state
conditions (steady-state stability). By the term stability limit is meant the
maximum power, which can be continuously transmitted stably. The critical
transient stability limit is usually lower than the steady-state stability limit. From
the economic point of view, transient stability, and in particular the first-swing
transient stability is the most important type of stability, because it may
influence the choice of high power elements of power systems: transmission
voltage levels, number of parallel lines, line sectionalization, etc.
4.9.1 First-swing transient stability
When transient instability occurs for a severe disturbance, it usually, but not
necessarily, appears during the first swing of rotor oscillation and within one
second. Loss of synchronism occurs between one machine and the rest of the
system or between groups of machines. If the system is stable through the
first swing, the behaviour during the subsequent swings is usually a matter of
damping only.
Let us consider a ‘two-machine system’, similar to that of with a link of parallel
lines, the resulting reactance of which, X, is an essential part of the impedance
between the generators. Under both steady-state and transient conditions the
voltage-angle difference θ of the link is approximately determined by:
P = sin
2 1
Now, without going into a discussion of transient stability as such, the following
statement is made: there is a close relationship between the first-swing
transient stability and this voltage angle difference θ.
In a critical case of first-swing stability (not all cases are critical) it is important
that the contribution θ from the link to the total difference of the generator
internal voltage angles does not become too great.
As can be seen from the equation, both rapidly controlled shunt compensation
and fixed series compensation can be used to reduce θ, thereby raising the
first-swing stability limit. Shunt reactive power injections at the nodes of the
link during the critical power swing after a disturbance will keep up the
voltages, thereby reducing θ. Series compensation, reducing X, means both a
lower value of θ before the disturbance and a smaller increase in θ during the
critical power swing.
If a severe stability criterion, such as a three-phase short circuit or a double
line-to-ground fault, is applied, the first swing transient stability may be critical
and of main concern. Full advantage should, of course, be taken of low-cost
countermeasures such as rapid fault clearing, rapid reclosing, etc., but in
critical cases this may not be sufficient.
Shunt reactive-power injections, as discussed above, through dynamic shunt
compensation by SVCs (voltage support) can be used. However, studies
performed have demonstrated that even with optimum locations of the SVCs
with regard to stability improvements, the necessary large normal size of the
SVCs will usually make this method less attractive than series compensation.
(The optimum locations of the SVCs are not necessarily at the ends of the link
as discussed above).
Series compensation is in many cases the most cost effective method of
raising first-swing transient stability limits.
4.9.2 Damping of Power Oscillations
The damping of synchronous machine eletromechanical rotor oscillations is of
interest to both steady-state stability (small disturbances) and subsequent
swings of transient stability (large disturbances).
The connected synchronous machines of a power system can be considered
as a system of coupled oscillatory objects, as long as the machines are in
synchronous operation. The system can be characterized by a number of
latent or developed modes of electromechanical oscillations, expressed in
terms of incremental rotor angle displacements and speeds. In principle, the
number of modes related to the machine inertias are equal to the number of
machines minus one. Usually, however, modes coincide with the result that a
fewer number of modes show up in the oscillations.
The oscillation frequency and the damping of each mode depend on several
factors. The oscillation frequencies are usually to be found within the range
0.2 to 2 Hz, in a few cases down to 0.1 Hz or up to 4 Hz. In many cases the
damping can be considered low; sometimes one has to accept damping ratios
ξ down to 0.05 and even lower. Fig 4.3 illustrates the meaning of different
damping ratios. In the network the rotor oscillations show up as oscillations in
power, voltages, etc. The term power oscillation is often used.
As to steady-state stability, if the damping of a mode becomes negative, an
oscillatory instability will appear. An oscillation will occur spontaneously or
after a small disturbance. The oscillation amplitude will be either constant or
growing in the former case the instability will disturb the continued operation of
the power system, in the latter case it will lead to loss of synchronism.
As to subsequent swings of transient stability, the oscillatory behaviour is
similar to that of steady-state stability, but with pronounced effects of the non-
linear characteristics of the power system.
In those cases where damping improvement is necessary or desired,
advantage should, of course, first be taken of the two low-cost measures
• Ensure that the most important generators are equipped with excitation
control systems with good performance qualities and that the voltage
regulator parameters of these systems are properly adjusted.
• Equip the voltage regulators of the above generators with so-called
power system stabilizers(PSS).
For those cases where the above measures are not sufficient, e.g. cases of
low-frequency inter-area or tie-line oscillations, SVCs may, depending on
some conditions, be an excellent means for further damping improvement.
This matter is discussed in the following of this sub-section.
Fig 4.4 illustrates the ideal control principle for optimum damping of one type
of a symmetrical two-machine system. Each machine may represent a
number of generators. Ideally the reference value for the midpoint voltage
should be composed of a fixed component and a component proportional to
the speed difference between the two equivalent generators. This means that
the modulation of the reactive power injection at the midpoint should lead by
90 degrees the power oscillation between the segments of the system.
In some few cases, and due to the load area locations in the power system, a
certain damping can be achieved by keeping the SVC bus voltage constant.
Usually, however, the SVC has to be equipped with a supplementary
controller, a so called power oscillation damper (POD) modulating the SVC
bus voltage with a proper relationship to the oscillations. POD input signals
used so far are local signals: active power of the passing lines or frequency of
the SVC bus voltage.
The use of an SVC with POD may raise the steady-state stability power limit of
a transmission link, i.e. of a tie line. This may be of great economic value.
Improvement of the damping of the oscillations after large disturbances may
also be desirable.
The following remarks are recommended to be considered when planning to
use an SVC for damping improvement:
• Whether an SVC will be useful for damping improvement or not depends
on the network configuration, where the power stations and load areas
are situated in the network and in particular where the SVC is connected.
• A study should usually be performed for each application in order to
determine if the desired damping improvement can be achieved and to
establish the POD parameter values to be set. Both frequency-domain
analysis based upon a linearized description of the power system and
time-domain simulations by means of a transient stability type program
are useful.
4.10 Extensive cable networks
Cables produce up to twenty to forty times more reactive power per km than
overhead lines. This creates voltage and reactive power control problems in
some large metropolitan or urban areas with extensive underground EHV
cables, particularly during light load periods. Local generators and shunt
reactors are used in the first place to absorb the excessive reactive power. In
the EREB (India) power system an unusual method, named tap staggering,
has also been applied. By this is meant operating parallel transformers on
different tap position thus creating a circulating current and increasing the
reactive power losses. Also in conjunction with long submarine EHV cables,
there may be a need for considerable absorption of excess reactive power. So
far, normal shunt reactors have usually been applied. It seems that a
combination of fixed shunt reactors and SVCs, of a type that can absorb
reactive power only, should be the ideal solution in several cases.
4.11 HVDC terminal stations
HVDC converters always consume reactive power when in operation. The
reactive power consumed is normally around 50 per cent of the active power
converted, which means that the terminal stations need large reactive power
supplies. Rectifier stations with adjacent generators, the reactive power need
is usually covered partly by the generators and partly by shunt capacitors in
the stations. At inverter stations with low short-circuit capacity, synchronous
compensators have often been installed in order to increase this, so as to
avoid some undesirable effects. These synchronous compensators are,
naturally, also used for reactive power production (or absorption), the AC
voltage control and to reduce load -rejection temporary over voltages. The
remaining reactive power need is then usually covered by shunt capacitors.
Most of the shunt capacitors, if not all of them, in a terminal station, form
integral parts of the necessary AC filters, which means that these shunt
capacitors perform the dual tasks of reactive power production at fundamental
frequency and diverting of harmonic currents.
The MVA amount for reactive power compensation devices needed in
conjunction with an HVDC transmission is quite high. For example the 6300
MW Itaipu HVDC system of FURNAS, Brazil, has 1541 Mvar of 500 kV AC
filter banks at the rectifier station and 2483 Mvar of 345 kV AC filter banks,
588 Mvar of 345kV normal shunt capacitor banks and 1200 MVA (2000 Mvar
control range) of synchronous compensators at the inverter station.
It seems that a combination of synchronous compensators and SVC s should
be an attractive solution, for easily and continuously variable reactive
compensation and voltage control, in several inverter plants, instead of
synchronous compensators only, where such are needed. This would be for
the reasons of rapid control and costs.
5.0 Introduction
Distribution systems need to be supplied with reactive power to equalize the
reactive power consumption of the loads and the net reactive power losses of
the distribution network itself. The required reactive power is supplied from
one or more of the following sources:
1. Possible synchronous machines within the distribution system
2. Shunt capacitors
3. Static compensators
Absorption of excessive reactive power is seldom needed. Many electric
supply utilities are, for the reasons discussed in the previous sections,
restrictive in supplying reactive power from transmission to distribution
systems. This is often reflected in the supply tariffs to large consumers, such
as retail distribution utilities and high-power industrial customers, with a
penalty for low power factor.
Under normal steady-State conditions, the voltage at the consumer terminals
should lie within a certain range around the nominal voltage. The limits vary
between different countries, different classes of service, etc., but are usually
from 5 to 10 per cent from the nominal voltage. The term power-factor
correction is used in conjunction with slowly varying loads of distribution
systems. It usually refers to the method of generating reactive power relatively
close to the loads consuming it.
Power-factor correction by means of fixed and switched shunt capacitors is
much used in many urban, residential and rural systems and extensively also
in high-power industrial systems. The objective is usually one or more of the
• To reduce power costs by avoiding low power-factor penalty, if
• To reduce active (i²R) and reactive power (i²X) tosses in the
distribution network.
• To release current capacity of transformers and cables (and, possibly,
overhead lines).
• To increase the voltage level and, in the cases of switched shunt
capacitors, to improve the voltage regulation (to reduce the voltage
variation from light to peak load conditions).
In many existing systems the two latter effects can postpone or even eliminate
otherwise necessary large investments in new equipment. Because of the
large number of parameters involved and the many alternative combinations of
shunt capacitor equipment possible, it is difficult to give universally applicable
recommendations for the location and rating of shunt capacitors. An evaluation
of the above gains versus the shunt capacitor costs has to be made,
considering different constraints such as maximum size of switched banks with
regard to voltage change, space availability, etc.
The control of switched shunt capacitors is an area with many alternative
methods in use: manual, time switch, automatic regulator or relay control of
voltage or current, or reactive power, or power factor, etc.
5.1 Application of shunt capacitors to HV distribution
Use of shunt capacitors in HV Distribution Systems result in the following
(a) They ensure that the transmission of inductive kvar to the load area
from the generating source is kept to reasonable limits.
(b) They avoid overloading of circuits and/or release circuit load-carrying
(c) By avoiding overloading they release spare MVA capacity on the
(d) They reduce the system I
R losses
(e) They reduce the system I
X losses
(f) They improve the voltage regulation and/or restore it to an acceptable
level for a given load.
(g) Shunt Capacitors have low dielectric loss = 0.006 W/KVar
(h) Have no moving parts – R&M is easy
(i) Do not require heavy foundation like Synchronous Condensers
(j) Automatic switching can be done
(k) Series and parallel arrangements are possible to suit the system
Fig 5.1. Radial distribution system – effect of improved load power factor
5.2 The effect of improved power factor on a radial distribution system
The Fig 5.1 illustrates the effect of improved power factor on a radial
distribution system
5.3 Application of series capacitor to distribution systems
Fig 5.2. A general radial distribution system with series capacitors (a) Equivalent series
capacitor circuit (b) phase diagram without series capacitor (c) Phasor diagram with series
The following formula gives the line to line voltage drop :
Voltage drop line-to-line =
[ ] kv X X R I
10 sin ) ( cos 3

− + φ φ
This is approximate short line formula and from consideration of this formula it
follows that :
1) With high power-factor loads, the value of Cos φ
is high and Sin φ
small. Hence, the resistance drop is predominant so that if the total
circuit resistance exceeds the total circuit reactance, the effect of a
series capacitor will be small.
2) Conversely, with a low power-factor load, and comparatively high circuit
reactance, the inductive voltage drop is dominant. Series capacitors
will produce the maximum effect in reducing total voltage drop as they
directly compensate for inductive voltage. Provided that improvement
only in voltage regulation was required, under these conditions a series
capacitor would be more effective than a shunt capacitor of the same
3) Series capacitors reduce voltage drop by compensating for the line
reactance but they have no effect on receiving-end power factor, and, in
radial circuits, no significant effect on the reduction of line losses. The
improvement in power factor of the load at the sending end is due to
compensation of the I
component of the line.
4) Series capacitors are self-regulating, because, at any load, the IX
component of the voltage drop is automatically cancelled by the voltage
appearing across the series capacitor.
Applications of series capacitor
a. Reduce voltage drop and improve voltage regulation on Transmission
b. Reduce flicker or rapid voltage fluctuation due to loads of repetitive and
rapidly fluctuating nature
ex: Large motors, arc furnaces, saw mills, welders etc.
c. Large resistance welders impose very high currents on the supply
circuit for only 2 or 3 cycles. Series Capacitor can reduce voltage drops
in such cases.
d. Control of load sharing in parallel lines : The series capacitor in a
parallel line will reduce its impedance and hence power carrying
e. The maximum power transmitted in a transmission line can be
increased for the same regulation with Series Capacitor. Hence the
stability margin can be improved.
5.4 Urban, residential and rural systems
There are many different configurations and voltages of these systems. One
simple example: A 132/11 kV distribution substation transfers power from a
132 kV transmission to 11 kV distribution feeders (primary circuits). Each
distribution feeder supplies a number of 11/0.4 kV distribution transformers,
each of which supplies consumer feeders (secondary circuits) at the utilization
voltage. The loads are usually many but small. The voltage level and voltage
regulation (voltage drop) are usually considered when dimensioning the
distribution circuits. Voltage control is actuated by means of on-load tap
changers on the distribution substation transformers. Often, as the load
increases, the controlling device raises the substation secondary voltage to
compensate for the increased voltage drops in the distribution feeders.
Possible local generators are, naturally, utilized for reactive power supply and
fine voltage control. Shunt capacitors are much used in these distribution
systems, in several countries, for the purposes previously discussed, and
including voltage control. In spite of the difficulties of stating generally
applicable location rules a Swedish committee investigation gives the following
summarizing rules of thumb for the location of shunt capacitors in these types
of distribution system:
• Locate the shunt capacitors as close to the loads as possible.
• In the first place install shunt capacitors, which can postpone the
reinforcing of the network otherwise needed.
• In the second instance, install low-voltage (utilization voltage) fixed shunt
capacitors in such an extension so that in total they equal the yearly
minimum reactive load of the system.
• Meet the remaining need by installing switch able shunt capacitors: in the
first instance, low-voltage banks at large customers and medium voltage
banks at intermediate switching stations.
The above rules should, of course, not be dogmatically applied, but with good
judgment, considering the actual conditions. Another recommendation given is
that the maximum voltage change when switching a bank should not exceed 2
per cent for hourly switching, 3 per cent for daily switching and 5 per cent for
seasonal switching.
5.5 High-power industrial systems
Many major industrial plants purchase power at 66 kV or above. The
distribution systems usually have at least two lower voltages: a medium
voltage, e.g. 11 kV, for the primary distribution and large loads, and a low
voltage at 0.4 kV for other loads.
5.6 Steady-state var supply and voltage control
Induction motors are common loads, which consume reactive power. Static
power converters and uncompensated fluorescent lamps are other examples.
Static power converters for rolling-mill DC motors and arc furnaces, in steel
mills, have reactive power consumptions with a large average value and are
subject to substantial rapid fluctuations.
The primary voltage control is usually achieved by means of on-load tap
changers of the step-down transformers from the metering point. Existing
synchronous machines are naturally also used for reactive power generation:
generators for reactive power supply and fine voltage control, synchronous
motors for reactive power supply. In some few cases, existing small
synchronous condensers may possibly still be used.
Power-factor correction by means of fixed and switched shunt capacitors is
extensively used in industrial systems, for the reasons previously discussed.
Figure 5.3 indicates different locations: A)System level correction, B) plant
correction, C) group correction, D) motor correction.
Static power converters and arc furnaces produce current harmonics, which
must be considered during the planning and designing of shunt capacitor
installations, in many cases, shunt capacitors are arranged for both functions,
reactive power production at fundamental frequency and filtering of harmonic
5.7 Capacitor location for industrial power factor improvement
5.7.1 H V Distribution
Fig 3: Industrial Shunt Capacitor
Fig 5.4. Schematic diagram of layout for a larger size factory with high voltage supply and
high voltage distribution showing possible location of capacitors A,B,C,D are distribution sub
stations with A showing detail typical of the others.
5.7.2 HV distribution with loads fed direct from H.V.
Fig 5.5. Schematic diagram of layout for a large factory with high voltage distribution and
loads fed direct at high voltage and low voltage. A,B,C,D are distribution sub stations with A
showing detail typical of others
(a) Factories not operating continuously, and which may be supplied at
high voltage but with low-voltage load, should employ low-voltage
capacitors for power factor improvement. Low voltage switchgear is
much cheaper than high voltage gear and obviously is available with
much lower ratings which enable relatively small capacitor steps
(100 kvar and below) to be employed for automatically controlled
capacitors. This ensures flexibility of operation without excessive
switchgear costs.
(b) High voltage capacitors should be employed for power-factor
improvement of all loads supplied directly from the high voltage
supply, e.g. large induction motors, electric furnaces, a.c./d.c.
converter plant etc.
(c) Splitting total requirements LV capacitors for power factor
improvement between various locations may well increase capital
and installation costs. Such action can only be justified when
special distribution or operational requirements must be met or
when, for example, individual connection of suitable motors may
reduce the cost of capacitor control gear hence the total capital cost.
(d) In a factory where the low-voltage is supplied from several
distribution substations, local automatic control at each substation is
generally much cheaper as well as operationally superior to an
elaborate method of overall contrl operated from the point of
incoming supply.
(e) To reduce initial costs, whenever practicable, switchgear for
controlling capacitors should be operated as closely as possible to
its maximum capacitive load rating. This condition, while easily met
with low-voltage switchgear (contractors), can only be satisfied with
high voltage switchgear when the capacitor steps are relatively
large, i.e. up to 5 MVAr. For a multi-stage high-voltage bank with,
say 500 KVar steps, the switchgear could cost considerably more
than the capacitors.
(f) For the power factor improvement of large continuously operating
industrial plants with no local distribution problems or special
operational requirements, the most economical scheme is one
which employs a large high voltage capacitor bank manually
controlled by means of a circuit breaker connected to the line
continuously. The cost per KVar is low, switchgear operates close
to its maximum capacitive rating and installation charges are at a
5.8 Reduction of voltage fluctuations
Rapidly fluctuating loads create voltage fluctuations, which may cause
annoying disturbances, particularly flicker of filament lamps in adjacent load
areas. The most pronounced load of this kind is the arc furnace.
In AC arc furnace is usually a large load on a power system. Furthermore, it is
a nasty load, characterized by:
 Low power factor
 Unbalance
 Rapid large active and reactive power fluctuations of more or
less random character and with an irregular frequency of 2 to 20
 Harmonic currents.
Figure 5.6 shows a typical arc-furnace supply of a steel mill. The reactive-
power consumption fluctuation is the most Important one for the voltage
fluctuations, due to the relatively high reactance/ resistance ratio of the supply
network. Figure 5.7 shows a typical arc-furnace reactive-power consumption.
The mean reactive power consumption can be compensated for by means of a
shunt capacitor. The voltage fluctuation remains. However even somewhat
magnified by the shunt capacitor, both at the arc furnaces bus C and at the
Fig.5.6 Typical arc-furnace supply
Fig 5.7 typical arc-furnace reactive power consumption
bus B. The latter, named the PCC bus (point of common coupling with other
consumers) is the critical one with regard to voltage fluctuations.
Before the era of SVCs, there were no good means for effective reduction of
these rapid, unbalanced voltage fluctuations. The SVC is such a means. When
used, it is connected to the arc furnace bus C in Figure 5.6. Due to the
effective reduction of the voltage fluctuations also at the bus C, it is possible to
operate the arc furnace at a higher average voltage level without adverse
effects, thus increasing the furnace active power and reducing the melt down
time; This was first overlooked, but it became later on an economic incentive
for the installation of SVCs.
A great many SVCs are installed in conjunction with arc furnaces. The
majority of them are of the type Thyristor-controlled reactor (TCR) in parallel
with a fixed capacitor (filter).
Fig 5.9 shows the single-line diagram of a typical SVC arrangement in conjunction with arc
furnaces; the figures apply to a particular large installation.
5.9 DC arc furnaces
The majority of arc furnaces in operation are of the AC type. During recent
years the AC arc furnace has, however, met with competition from the DC arc
furnace. A Thyristor rectifier supplies the direct current.
The voltage fluctuations caused by a DC arc furnace are different from those
caused by a comparable AC arc furnace. However, as in the case of the AC
arc furnace, depending on the short-circuit level, an SVC will normally still be
needed to reduce the voltage fluctuations. AC filtering is usually needed to
divert the harmonic currents produced by the rectifier and arc furnace.
5.10 Reduction of voltage drop during starting of large motors
Direct-on-line starting is the simplest, most straightforward and cheapest of all
the starting methods for induction motors. It creates, however, a high inrush
current at low power factor, in turn causing a voltage drop. In cases of one or
more large motors in relation to the network short-circuit capacity, these
voltage drops may be intolerable due to their size and frequency of
occurrence. They may disturb the performance of other loads in the plant and
the loads of other consumers. In cases of very large load torque during
starting, the starting of the motor itself might be critical. One method of several
of reducing the voltage drop is the use of a starting shunt capacitor, which
operates during starting only. A technically much superior method is the use of
an SVC.
Fig. 5.10 shows the single-line diagram of such an SVC application. The SVC
is installed in a mining load area with sometimes very low short-circuit MVA
capacity and with frequent starting of relatively large induction motors.
5.11 Location of Power Factor improvement Capacitors on Induction Motors
Fig 5.11 illustrates the alternate methods of connecting a capacitor to a motor
fitted with a star/delta starter.
Fig.5.10 SVC in a mining load area.
Connection A: When a motor is started with the windings connected in star,
the phases of the capacitor are also connected in star and therefore the
capacitor will provide only one third of its minimum KVar output. When
maximum, KVar should be available for correction.
Connection B used a standard 3 terminal delta connected capacitor, which
gives maximum power factor correction at the start when the power factor is
Fig 5.11. Alternative methods of connecting a capacitor to a motor fitted with a
star/delta starter. Connection A using six terminal capacitors and connection and B
using three terminal capacitors.
5.12 Location of capacitors for individual correction or motors
The capacitor may be connected in one of the three points as shown in
Location A: The capacitor is installed on the supply side of the starter and
Motor overload relay. ∴ a) The capacitor size is not dependent upon the
Motor no-load magnetizing current (b) The current to the starter remains
unchanged. (c) The motor overload trip settings remain unchanged.
Location B: The capacitor is installed on the load side of the starter, but on the
line side of the overload relay, ∴ (a) The capacitor size is dependent on the
motor magnetizing current (b) The current to the starter is reduced (c) The
motor overload trip setting is the same as without capacitor
Location C: The capacitor is installed on the load side of both the starter and
motor overload relay. ∴ (a) The capacitor size is dependent upon the motor
magnetizing current. (b) The current to the starter is reduced (c) The motor
overload trip setting (OLTA) must be reduced as follows:
capacitors with f p
capacitors without pf
. .
Fig 5.12. Diagram showing the alternative points of connection for capacitors used to
correct the power factor of induction motors
5.13 Location of reactive compensation devices in Transmission and
A hypothetical power system illustrating possible locations of reactive power
compensation devices is shown in fig 5.13
1) Power capacitor hand book
-T Longland, T W Hunt, W A Brecknell : Butterworths – 1984
2) Reactive Power Compensation
- Tore Peterson, ABB Power systems, SWEDEN – 1993
3) Proceedings of Seminar on “CAPACITORS” during 18 – 19 January 2001
- A CBIP and MPEB publication – 2001.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful