Vu Van Thong Johan Driesen Ronnie Belmans

Department of Electrical Engineering - ELECTA Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium) Email:

Keywords: Dispersed Energy Source, Stability, Dynamic Performance, Protection Selectivity

The electrical power production from dispersed energy sources or distributed generation (DG) is playing an increasing role in the supply of electricity in the liberalized electricity markets. DG can have a significant impact on the power flow, voltage profile, stability and the power quality for both customers and electricity suppliers. In this paper, the influences of different DG technologies on the voltage stability under disturbances, power quality problem, and protection aspects are studied under different load conditions.

DG technologies include photovoltaics, wind turbines, fuel cells, small-scale gas turbines, Stirling-engines, and internal combustion engines. Depending on the conversion technology and nature of the energy source, the distributed generator can be directly connected to the grid, through a rotating generator, or indirectly through a DC-AC or AC-AC converter. The ability of different technologies to supply ancillary service, support short-circuit power and increase the power system stability depends mainly on these connection technologies. The behaviour of loads in a specific distribution system and along with the network characteristic are different as well. They can range from being an impedance load to constantcurrent loads or constant-power loads, which are often related to the load’s grid connection technology as well. This makes a thorough impact a necessity study before connecting a DG unit to a distribution system. This paper aims at investigating the impact of the connection option, direct or indirect over a power electronic converter, of DG units and their impact on the power quality and voltage stability of a distribution system. The impact of DG on the short-circuit behaviour and protection selectivity is discussed as well. The distribution system and distributed generators are modelled using the Eurostag software package. Different DG units are connected to an existing distribution network in Belgium and tested for different load characteristics. Based on the results, the system operators can know which technology and how much installed capacity of distributed generation connected to a certain distribution system could be allowed on the grid.

1 Introduction
The connection of distributed generation to the grid may affect the stability of the power system, i.e. angle, frequency and voltage stability. Traditionally, distribution network analysis did not need to consider stability issues as the network was largely passive and remained stable under most circumstances provided the transmission network was itself stable [2]. With the newly introduced distributed generation, the distribution system becomes an active system with both energy generation and consumption at the formerly exclusive load nodes. Due to the increasing penetration of DG, its impact on system security becomes significant. Power quality has become a real problem over the last decades due to the ever increasing use of power electronics and sensitive load equipment. The addition of distributed generation can have a significant effect and increases the complexity of this problem [3]. The power injection of DG can raise the steady-state voltage level [5], [4]. Inverter connected generators may inject non-sinusoidal currents into the network and cause harmonic distortion. Besides, DG units may cause an unacceptable local rise of the voltage level. The fluctuation of power injection of some DG technologies such as wind turbines and photovoltaics might cause voltage fluctuations [4], [6]. On the other hand, the connection of DG may improve the capacity and reliability of the distribution system [1].

2 Impact of DG on Power System 2.1 Studied distribution network
An existing Belgian medium voltage distribution system segment is used to study the power quality and voltage stability with different DG units (Fig. 1). The system includes one transformer 14 MVA, 70/10 kV and four cable feeders. The primary winding of the transformer is connected to the transmission grid and can be considered as an infinite node.

Normal operation of the distribution system is in radial mode and the connections at node 111 with feeders 2, 3 and 4 are normally open.
SUB SUB 1 2 101 101 102 102 103 103 104 104 105 105 106 106 107 107 108 108 109 110 110 111 111

201 201

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In Fig. 2 the voltage fluctuation can be seen it correspond to the fluctuations of injected active power of the PV system. At times when clouds cover the sun, the power generated can quickly drop by 60% of its previous value, causing sudden variations in node voltages in the range 0.1%. The installed capacity of PV in this study is rather low compared to the capacity of the distribution system and the loads, so the value of voltage fluctuation is quite limited. However, in case of a high connection density or the connection of larger PV systems, the voltage fluctuation problem might become more severe. The power conversion of directly-coupled generators, e.g. wind turbines is also subject to input fluctuations, but in general, these are filtered better due to the large inertia.

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Fig. 1. Tested distribution system

2.2 Voltage fluctuation with an inverter based photovoltaic system
In order to see the voltage fluctuation problem with DG, a photovoltaic (PV) system is introduced. The reactive power is produced by a capacitor of the inverter’s grid filter and almost constant, so the PV system is treated as a PQ node with negative power. The PV power is calculated from 5-s average irradiance data measured during one year in Leuven (Belgium). In this study, an aggregated PV array with 50 kW rated peak power is connected at node 304 Fig. 2 shows the one-hour power output of the PV system at noon of a slightly clouded summer day. In order to isolate the voltage fluctuation impact of PV from short-time load variation at individual nodes, the loads are assumed constant during the calculation. The total load in the system is 4.4 MW, 1.9 Mvar. Since PV is fundamentally a DC source, the connection must be made by means of a power electronic inverter. As such the system roughly behaves as a constant-current source.
0.045 0.040 0.035 0.030 0.025 0.020 0.015 0.010 0.005 0.000 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60

2.3 Direct coupled generator start-up
In order to see the voltage dip problem when a DG starts up, an induction generator connected at node 108 with a rated power of 3 MW is tested at a lagging power factor of 0.9. When the induction generator starts up, it causes a transient and a voltage dip up to 40% in the system and lasts for several seconds (Fig. 3). It is due to an initial magnetizing inrush transient and power transfer to bring the generator to its operating speed [3]. This results in a major problem for sensitive loads connected near the DG. If the distribution system is equipped with an under-voltage relay and DG unit has islanding protection, the voltage dip may lead to a malfunction of the protection relay resulting in an outage of the system. A soft-start circuit is required for large connected induction DG. Indirectly-connected generators do not cause voltage dips when starting up as they contain inrush current limiting measures.

P (M W ) Q (M Var)

2.4 Opening of one branch
A total DG capacity of 30% of the total system load is equally distributed over nodes 108, 204, and 406. The simulations have been carried out for induction and for synchronous generators. All operate at power factor 0.98 lagging. One of the 1-2 lines is opened during dynamic simulation at time t = 100 s. The distributed generators are connected at node 108, 204 and 406 with rated power 1 MW for both synchronous and induction generators. The voltage dips are highest with constant power load characteristic and lowest with impedance load characteristic for both synchronous and induction generators (Fig. 4 and Fig. 5). With the synchronous generators, after a short voltage dip, the voltage recovers close to the voltage before the disturbance. For induction generators, the voltage does not recover due to the lack of reactive power support. There is not so much difference between a voltage dip in the base case and with DG connection, being around 1%. So the connection of DG in the distribution system does not significantly affect the dynamic voltage stability, and in most cases it reduces the value of the voltage dip.

Tim e (m inute)

1.0774 1.0773 1.0772 1.0771 1.0770 1.0769 1.0768 1.0767 1.0766 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60

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Time (minute)

Fig. 2: Injected power and voltage at node 304



U2 U404 U105 U108






2.5 Short circuit and protection selectivity The safe operation and adequate protection of the system are to be guaranteed at all times. In addition, the protection system has to be sufficiently selective, in order to optimize the reliability and availability of the supplied power. This is less simple than it seems since the fault current not only comes from the main power system grid in a unidirectional way, but also from the DG units (dispersed current sources), making the detection far more complicated and thus the conventional hierarchical protection method might fail. Therefore, a more ‘active’ protection system with some form of communication will be required to keep up the requirement level of safety in the future. In order to see the effect of DG on the short-circuit current and voltage, three synchronous generators are connected to feeder 1 at node 101, 102 and 105. The rated capacity of every generator is 1 MVA. This study represent for the case that there are many opportunities to connect large penetration of DG units to a feeder, but other feeders have not been connected to any DG units yet. The simulation is done with a 3-phase short circuit at node 202 on the feeder 2, where there is no DG unit on this feeder. The short circuit lasts 100 ms, and happens at t = 100s during simulation. The results are compared to the base case, without DG connection. Fig. 6 illustrates the short-circuit current through branch 2201 of feeder 2, with DG connection case and base case. The short-circuit current running through branch 2-201 is higher with DG connection case. This is due to the fact that the generators of feeder 1 supply more to short-circuit current (Fig. 7). Higher short-circuit current results in faster operation of protection system. This helps eliminate the short circuit faster, due to most distribution systems are using over-current protection.




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Fig. 3. Voltage dip when starting-up of an induction generator





Impedance load Current constant load Base case Power constant load



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Fig. 4. Voltage dip at bus 2 with synchronous generator



Impedance load Base case Current constant load Power constant load



In Fig. 7, the short-circuit current running through branch 2101 is shown. For the base case, the loads on feeder 1 is only supplied from the substation, the current during the normal operation is higher compared to DG connection case. When a short circuit occurs on feeder 2, the current on feeder 1 drops. However, when the feeder is supported by generators, the generators supply short-circuit power during the disturbance. The oscillation current after eliminating the fault is higher than the short-circuit current in this case. This is due to the acceleration of the generator. If this value is higher than the threshold of setting relay current, the protection may react and trip this healthy feeder. Fig. 8 shows a voltage dip at node 2 when a short circuit at node 202 occurs. There is a voltage fluctuation with DG connection due to the transient behaviour of the DG unit. In case of indirectly-connected generators, the short-circuit current contribution is lower, and may not be noticed, as the power electronic front-ends are current-limited.





99.5 100.0 100.5 101.0 101.5 102.0 102.5

Fig. 5. Voltage dip at bus 2 with induction generator

4.0 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 99.5

3. Conclusions
With DG connection Base case

The power quality, voltage stability and protection selectivity are studied in this paper within an existing distribution system. The study is carried with different load characteristics and DG technologies. The connection of variable power sources to the system causes voltage fluctuations. This problem might become a real problem when larger penetration of uncertainty DG sources exists in the system. This may impact the system security operation, when the system is not strong and spinning reserve is not large enough to cover the variation of those uncertainty resources.







Fig. 6: The short-circuit current through branch 2-201 with the contribution of DG currents

The impact of DG depends on the applied technologies. The synchronous generators equipped with exciter and governor control system help to restore the voltage after a disturbance happening in the system. The connection of large induction might cause a big voltage dip when starting. A soft-start circuit is suggested to use with this technology. The connection of DG significantly influences to the short circuit current both on the faulted feeder and healthy feeders. A higher short-circuit current in the faulted feeder helps to eliminate the fault faster. However, A higher short-circuit current in healthy feeders, where a large penetration of DG is connected to, might results in tripping unwanted feeders.


With DG connection Base case




The authors are grateful to the Belgian “Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen” for its financial support of this work and the IWT for granting a GBOU research project to support this research. J.Driesen holds a postdoctoral research fellowship and of the Belgian “Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) - Vlaanderen”.









Fig. 7: The short-circuit current through branch 2-101 with the contribution of DG currents

[1] R.E. Brown: “Electric power distribution reliability,” Marcel Dekker, New York, 2002 [2] CIGRE TF 38.01.10, “Modeling new forms of generation and storage,” November 2000 [3] N. Jenkins, R. Allan, P. Crossley, D. Kirschen, G. Strbac: “Embedded Generation,” The Institute of Electrical Engineers, London, 2000 [4] N.C. Scott, D.J. Atkinson, J.E. Morrell: “Use of load control to regulate voltage on distribution networks with embedded generation,” IEEE Trans. on Power Systems, Vol. 17, No 2, pp.510 –515 (2002) [5] T. Vu Van, J. Driesen, R. Belmans: “Impacts of embedded generation on voltage stability of distribution system,” Universities Power Engineering Conference, Greece, Sep. 2003 [6] A. Woyte, T. Vu Van, K. Purchala, R. Belmans, J. Nijs: “Quantifying the occurrence and duration of power fluctuations introduced by photovoltaic system,” PowerTech, IEEE, Italy, June 2003



With DG connection Base case











Fig. 8: The short-circuit voltage at node 2