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SpecifLing a Turbogenerators Electrical

Parameters guided by Standards and Grid Codes
C.-E. Stephan and Z. Baba
Abstract--Turbogenerator technical requirements in private
utilities Grid Code documents and established International
Standards are discussed together with the impact of
turbogenerator electrical parameters on design and cost. The
differences in turbogenerator parameters required between Grid
Codes and International Standards are also highlighted. These
differences are the result of obligations on the privatised
electricity companies to ensure a stable and flexible electricity
system under challenging electricity market conditions. The
authors highlight these challenges and argue for a greater degree
of harmonisation between Grid Codes and International
Standards which would benefit all parties. The paper refers to the
Grid Code in England and Wales where National Grid operates
one of the most advanced regulated electricity markets in the
world, and reports on current proposals to harmonise the Grid
Code requirements for turbogenerators with those of IEC
Index Terms--Ceiling Voltage, Electrical Parameters, Excitation
System, Grid Code, Inertia, Reactive Power, SCR, Stability,
Standards, Turbogenerator.
The liberalisation of the electricity market caused great
challenges due to the separation of production, transport and
supply of electrical energy. To ensure a safe, secure and
economic supply of electricity, formal interface rules were put
in place and which were not required before privatisation. As a
consequence, private utilities around the world have prepared
Grid Code documents which specify plant performance to
meet the above obligations. The Grid Code documents will
vary depending on the local regulatory, legal and technical
Turbogenerators are major components of the electrical
power system and are required to meet the technical
requirements of the utilities Grid Codes which in many cases
do not align with the established international standards such
as IEC and ANSI. In addition, some requirements specified in
utilities Grid Codes are new and go beyond established
National and International Standards.
Z. Baba is with the National Grid Company plc, SystemStrategy and
Design, Kirby Comer Road, Coventry CV4 MY, UK (e-mail:
C. E. Stephan is with ALSTOM (Switzerland) Ltd., Turbogenerator
Business, CH-5242 Birr, Switzerland (e-mail: carlemst.stephan@power.
This paper aims to explain some of the turbogenerator
electrical parameters and their. impact on the electrical power
system. The impact of the turbogenerator parameters on the
design and cost will be explained and the difference in
turbogenerator technical requirements between the
International Standards and those adopted by NGC will be
highlighted. The paper also refers to the latest NGC Grid Code
reactive power review which, if approved, may result in
harmonisation of the NGC Grid Code electrical parameters
with those specified in International Standard IEC 34-3.
A traditional state owned electricity system is usually
planned and designed by a single body with the authority to
decide where new power stations are to be located. However,
recent privatisation and liberalisation of electricity markets
around the world has meant that new generators are being
connected to the electrical power system in relatively short
times at locations that cause (together with the closure of older
generation) significant changes in the pattern and level of
power transfers across the system. To safeguard the electrical
power system under liberalised electricity markets, Grid Codes
were written in different countries specifiing the technical and
operational characteristics of plant owned by the different
parties involved in the production, transport and consumption
of electric power. This is necessary in order to ensure a
certain level of quality of supply which must be delivered to
the end-users.
One of the most advanced regulated transmission systems in
the world is that of the National Grid Company plc (NGC)
which owns and operates the transmission system in England
and Wales. NGC has a statutory duty under the UK Electricity
Act 1989 to develop and maintain an efficient co-ordinated
and economical system of electricity transmission and to
facilitate competition in the supply and generation of
The challenges faced by NGC and other privatised
electricity companies include the establishment, operation and
maintenance of a dynamic framework of regulation and
commercial mechanisms which ensures a secure, stable and
efficient electricity system. For the UK system there are legal
obligations on various parties involved in the generation,
transmission, distribution and supply of electricity. Ancillary
service agreements between NGC and the generating parties
for frequency response and reactive power have to be
formulated and reviewed using a competitive mechanism to
0-7803-7091 -0/01/$1 02001 IEEE
ensure cost of these services is kept to a minimum. There are
connection agreements between NGC and its customers which
include the technical specification of the customers plant to
ensure that there are no adverse effects on NGC or other
customers equipment.
NGC has an obligation to review the requirement of its Grid
Code to ensure the safety, security and efficiency of the
electrical system. To fulfil its obligations NGC is currently
involved in a major Grid Code review of the technical
specification and performance requirements of generators
connected to NGC system. This review was initiated following
developments in the market for reactive power and parallel
comments from machine manufacturers. The Grid Code
Review Panel (which represents parties involved in the
England and Wales electricity market) established a working
group representing NGC and generating companies in late
2000 to review the generator parameter requirements
associated with reactive power provisions including the
generator short circuit ratio. This review is continuing but this
paper mentions some proposals that are currently subject to
consultations with interested parties. The potential implication
of this review on generator electrical parameters is highlighted
in Section IV.
Turbogenerators are the engine of the electrical power
system. Their prime purpose is to provide real power.
However, they are also required to provide reactive power and
to have certain technical capabilities to support the electrical
power system and maintain stability. In this section the main
turbogenerator parameters affecting stability and reactive
power capability will be discussed. The impact of these
parameters on design and cost will be described. In addition,
the capability of the generator to withstand pollution from the
power system will be highlighted.
It should be noted that turbogenerator parameter
specification has changed over the years. In the past, these
were specified with higher design margins. This is mainly
because modern turbogenerators employ faster and more
sophisticated control systems which enhance the performance
of the machine and increase stability limits. Another reason is
that nowadays it is possible to built bigger machines with
higher efficiencies.
A. Short Circuit Ratio
The short circuit ratio of a generator (SCR) is defined as the
inverse of the value of its saturated direct axis reactance. It
determines the generator leading reactive capability and has a
direct impact on the static stability.
A larger SCR requires more ampere-turns in the field
winding for producing the same apparent power of a generator.
The output of an electrical machine is limited by the maximum
permissible temperature rise. More ampere- turns in the field
winding require in most cases a larger rotor volume and
therefore an overall larger machine.
Increasing a generator SCR from 0.4 to 0.5 results in an
increase in the total machine volume of about 5 to 10%
depending on the type of the generator. The impact on
generator cost would be in the same range. However, the cost
impact can be more dramatic if a change in generator
technology is necessary, e.g. if hydrogen cooling instead of
air-cooling is required.
In addition the SCR has an impact on the efficiency. With
more ampere-turns in the field winding the losses of the field
winding will increase. This also depends on the size and
design of the generator. Typical reduction in the overall
efficiency is in the range of 0.02 to 0.04 per cent for increasing
the SCR from0.4 to 0.5.
B. SCR Impact on Static Stability
The impact of the SCR on static stability can be illustrated
by considering the equation for the torque of a synchronous
T =SCR * U,* U *sin 6
Uf =the field (or intemal) voltage of the generator
U =the terminal (or armature) voltage of the generator
6 = the load angle
X, =saturated direct axis reactance
The generator is assumed to be connected to an infinite bus
with constant voltage and of cylindrical (round rotor) type.
From equation (1) it is obvious that if the SCR is larger,
larger torque can be achieved. Also, for the same output power
the load angle is smaller for a higher SCR. This means that at
large turbine power outputs the generator can provide larger
torque with ample margin to the stability limit.
On the other hand, for a voltage dip of AU, the increase in
the load angle is smaller for a machine with higher SCR.
Therefore, under power system voltage dips conditions a
generator with higher SCR possesses a higher stability margin.
In practice the power system will have an impedance and
the maximum machine torque can be expressed as (ohmic
losses neglected and no voltage regulation assumed):
Tm =Uf * U,/(Xd+XJ
U, =grid voltage (infinite busbar)
X, =total reactance of grid including generator transformer
The above equation also defines the static stability limit at
maximum power output.
The impact of SCR and external impedance X, on static
stability is illustrated in Fig.1 for different values of X, and for
SCR values of 0.4 and 0.5. The generator is assumed to be
running at 85% rated MW output and a leading power factor
of 0.95. It is clear from Fig.1 that a higher SCR will improve
the generator stability limit however the improvement becomes
less significant if the generator is connected to a weak grid
0 89
a 088
a 085
5 084
g 082
5 087
2 086
5 083
0 81
0 8
0 005 0 1 015 0 2 025 0 3 035
External Reactance Xe (P.u.)
Fig 1, Theoretical limit for static stability as a function of the extemal
reactance Xe including transformer and gnd Generator operating point
Active power 0 85p U , p f 0 95 leading (IEC requirement)
With modem static and rotating excitation systems
employing fast voltage regulator and including a load angle
limiter, the static stability of a generator no longer has the
meaning of 30 or 40 years ago [ 11. The AVR will intervene to
keep the armature voltage constant through alteration of the
exciter current, thus ensuring that the power angle does not
exceed the tolerable limit and therefore securing system
stability. In fact, operation beyond the static stability limit is
even possible, i.e. in the under-excited mode as shown in [2].
C. SCR and Generator Transient Reactance Impact on
Transient Stability
After clearing a fault on the grid the generator has to remain
stable within the recovered network. The stability time limit is
definitely shorter for a smaller SCR. However, in this case
Time (s)
Load angle and speed of turbogenerator B for a 3-phases short Fig. 2,
circuit at HV terminals of generator (data in Table 1).
D, Inertia Constant
The inertia constant of a rotating machine plays an
important role in transient stability. Larger inertia constants
give longer critical clearance times to help maintain stability.
In the previous example, using the same inertia constant as for
machine A would reduce CCT for machine B by about 4%.
The above observation can be deduced from clauses 19 and
26 of IEC 34-3 which require a smaller SCR for an air-cooled
generator compared to that of an hydrogen-cooled one. This is
because the former has a higher inertia constant than the latter.
additional factors like the generator transient reactance are
more important. This is illustrated below with a typical
A generator is assumed to be connected to an infinite
generator step-up transformer was simulated- At the Point of
fault the voltage drops to zero but once the fault is cleared the
voltage recovers to its pre- fault value. Two generators having
similar SCRs but different transient reactance values were
studied. The data given in Table 1 represents a hydrogen-
cooled machine A and an air-cooled machine B. Fig. 2
illustrates the load angle and per unit speed for the machine B
of Table 1, the critical CkaranCe time (CCT) where the
generator remains stable is significantly higher for generator B
with the lower transient reactance.
E. Reactive Power Capability / Rated Power Factor
A generator not only converts turbine mechanical energy to
active electrical power, but also produces or absorbs reactive
well known power chart. For the definition of the power chart
the significant are the rated power factor and the
SCR. The rated power factor determines the reactive power
which can be delivered to the and the SCR defines the
reactive power which can be absorbed during under-excited
operation until the static stability limit is reached.
For the systemwhat is important is not just the reactive
delivered at the high voltage terminals of the generator
transformer. During overexcited operation the
consumes reactive power which is not fed to the systemand
during under-excited operation the transformer helps to absorb
reactive power delivered by the system.
I ) Impact on machine design and operation
For the same MW rating, the lower the power factor of a
generator, the higher is its MVA rating. The size and therefore
the costs of a generator are determined by the MVA power
(apparent power). For the same active power, a lower rated
power factor requires a bigger machine volume due to the
higher ampere-turns needed in the rotor. In addition the
generator transformer must be specified for a higher rated
busbar. A three-phase short Circuit fault On the HV-side Of the
power. The reactive capability of a machine is expressed in the
where stability can just be achieved. As shown in the last row
power capability of the generator, but what reactive power is
* reduced to 420ms if inertia is same as for machine A
** as seen from the generator terminal
Power Factor 1 0.9 0.85
Add. Losses Min* 0 1.6 2
(kW/MVA) Max** 0 3.5 4.1
Operating at a lower lagging power factor causes higher
losses in the generator. Table 2 illustrates the additional losses
per MVA for different reactive power requirements given for
two typical examples. With the same h4W output, operation at
lower power factor require higher stator current and an
increase in the field current. Delivering more reactive power
will increase the additional losses per MVA.
0.8 0.75
2.2 3.2
4.5 4.6
** corresponds to a hydrogen cooled generator
F. Ceiling Voltage and Excitation System
Ensuring a good stability in the grid requires fast control of
the armature voltage and consequently a fast adjustment of the
field current. The higher the ceiling voltage the faster the field
current can be adjusted to the required value. Nowadays
ceiling voltages of 1.6. - 3.0pu (max. ceiling voltage / rated
field voltage) are required. However, it must be noted that
there is a limit to the improvement in the transient stability
with ceiling voltage. A study of the effect of the ceiling voltage
on the transient stability of a SOOMVA generator has
demonstrated that reducing the ceiling voltage from 2pu to
1.6pu had the effect of reducing the CCT by 4%. However,
increasing further the ceiling voltage to 3pu did not improve
the CCT at all.
The ceiling voltage has an impact on the rotor design. The
field winding insulation of the rotor has to be adapted to the
higher voltage levels. This will affect the creepage distances
and requires a few millimeters more space for the creepage
blocks. The impact on the rotor diameter is not large.
However, in larger machines where there are mechanical limits
related to the rotor, efficient use of available space is
paramount. In addition, the excitation transformer will be of a
larger design which has a significant impact on the overall cost
of the excitation system.
G. Voltage andffequency variation
The size of a generator is influenced by the requirement of
voltage and fiequency variations. The voltage is limited by the
maximum permissible flux density in the generator. If the
generator is required to operate with a higher level of
fiequency and voltage variation then the magnetic path in the
generator must be increased by the ratio :
U,,,: maximum voltage
U,: rated voltage
f.: rated frequency
f required minimum frequency
The worst case is a combination of underfrequency and
overvoltage operation and this will have a notable impact on
the machine size. As the magnetic path represents some 2/3 of
UdJ n * (fn-f)/G (3)
the total active part of the machine then a 10% overvoltage
requirement instead of 5% would result in about 3% more
volume and require a different design of the generator. Also,
the requirement for undervoltage operation at rated output
requires higher armature winding current thus the requirement
for larger copper cross section and hence the generator size
must be increased.
It should be noted that in case of employing a tap changer
on the generator transformer, the requirement for the voltage
variation on the generator side is less important because part of
the voltage variation onthe generator side is compensated by
the tap changer.
H. Negative sequence load and harmonics
Voltage unbalance on the grid causes the generator to have
negative phase current which causes additional losses in the
rotor. Similarly harmonic pollution from the grid causes
additional losses in the rotor. Harmonics generated on the grid
can be represented as an equivalent negative phase sequence
(nps) current by machine manufacturers and used for design
In case of higher requirements for the nps currents (or
harmonics) a modification of the rotor damper design may be
necessary. This would normally require an optimized damper
system in the pole zone of the rotor.
The NGC Grid Code defines plant requirements with
respect to frequency and voltage control and overall system
stability. Similarly other Grid Code documents around the
world specify plant technical requirements to suit their own
systems. The technical requirements for turbogenerators in
utility Grid Codes will usually differ from those specified in
International Standards. This section gives a comparison
between the NGC Grid Code requirements and those defined
in turbogenerator International Standards.
A. NGC Reactive Review
One of the aims of the current NGC reactive power review
is to minimize unnecessary cost to generating companies by
aligning the NGC Grid Code requirements with those in
International Standards where possible. The proposals are to
facilitate the connection of generators designed to
International Standards and to enable as much of a generators
reactive capability range as is practicable to be offered under
commercial contracts rather than under a Grid Code
obligation. The proposed changes define the reactive
performance of generators in two ways: design requirements
and operational requirements. For the design requirements, it
is proposed that these will align with, and refer to, the
international standard IEC 34. The operational requirements
will be defined functionally e.g. ability to control the reactive
output of generating units across specified system voltage
ranges. There will be minimumoperational requirements for
voltage/reactive performance that will apply to all generating
units whether contracted in the reactive power market or not.
These requirements are set by the inherent characteristics of
the generating units and plant and system controls.
B. Short Circuit Ratio
The NGC Grid Code currently specifies a minimum short
circuit ratio of 0.5. However, following the above review it is
proposed that the SCR requirement would be relaxed to a new
minimumvalue of 0.4 which is broadly in agreement with IEC
34-3 for the generator sizes that are likely to connect to the
NGC system.
The SCR requirement in IEC 34-3 depends on generator
size and type. For hydrogen cooled or liquid cooled machines,
the minimumSCR value is 0.45 for units with rated output not
exceeding 200MVA. For units rated between 200MVA -
800MVA and above SOOMVA minimum SCR values of 0.4
and 0.35 are specified respectively.
It should be noted that defining a general rule for a
minimumSCR is unlikely to be possible due to the difference
in stability margins at various locations of the grid. As shown
in Section I11a power plant connected to a weak point on the
grid is likely to require a higher SCR to maintain machine
stability. In this case it may be necessary for the grid
owner/operator to impose higher technical requirements on the
generator via a site-specific contractual connection agreement.
C. Reactive Power Requirements
The NGC Grid Code currently states that generators must be
able to operate between a 0.85 lagging power factor and 0.95
leading power factor at rated active power output. However,
under the current review it is proposed that the new
requirement would be relaxed to a maximumof 0.9 power
factor lagging.
In IEC 34-3 the standard rated power factors at the machine
terminals are 0.85 and 0.9 lagging for both hydrogen and
liquid cooled machines. However, these values are not
It should be noted that operation at a leading power factor
of 0.95 may not always be possible due to stability issues. In
the case of a weak grid this may require a higher SCR than
stipulated in the IEC or current NGC Grid Code. Again and as
mentioned above it is not possible to define a general rule for
machine parameters which can be applied at all locations in an
electrical power system.
D. Excitation System and Ceiling Voltage
NGC requires that the generator excitation system including
the excitation source and a continuously acting automatic
voltage regulator must meet specific requirements for steady
state voltage control and transient voltage control. These
requirements are site-specific but typically NGC requires that
the excitation source should be capable of-
(i) providing its upper and lower ceiling voltage to the
generator field in a time not exceeding 50 milliseconds
(ii) attaining a ceiling field voltage on-load of not less than 2
per unit of rated excitation voltage and in the case of
static exciters a negative ceiling level of 1 . 6 ~~.
E. Voltage and Frequency Variation Requirements
The general NGC requirements are that generator steady
state performance should not be affected by specified changes
in system voltage and frequency. The NGC Grid Code requires
generating units to:-
be able to operate continuously within the system
frequency range of 47.5 - 52Hz and for a period of at
least 20 seconds between frequency range of 47.5 - 47Hz.
be capable of continuously maintaining constant active
power output for system frequency changes within the
50.5 to 49.5Hz range. However, for system frequency
changes within the 49.5 to 47 Hz range any reduction in
output power must not be greater than pro-rata with
falling frequency, with the reduction in power output
being no more than 5% for a system frequency drop to
be able to maintain their active power output under steady
state conditions for system voltage changes of +5% at
400kV and +lo% at 275kV and 132kV
be able to make their reactive power fully available
within voltage changes of f5% at 400kV, 275kV and
The IEC requirement is for fS% voltage variation and e%
frequency variation. An overvoltage of 5% is only allowed at
rated or higher frequency. Operating at lower frequency
requires a linear reduction of the admissible overvoltage
because of overfluxing of the generator.
It should be noted that the NGC requirements for voltage
variation can be met by the IEC Standard due to the use of tap
changers on the generator transformer.
F. Negative Phase Sequence Voltage
The requirements for the NGC system are that the negative
phase sequence (nps) voltage component should remain below
1%. However, short duration peaks up to 2% are permitted
with the prior agreement of NGC and following a specific
assessment of the impact of these nps levels on NGC and other
customers equipment. The generators are required to
withstand the above levels of unbalance in the voltage
waveform. In addition, the generators are required to withstand
without tripping the nps loading incurred by clearance of a
close-up phase to phase fault, by system back up protection on
the NGC transmission system.
IEC 34-1 specifies machine nps current capability as 8% for
machines with output less than 350MVA and reduces this
value linearly to 5% for outputs up to 1260MVA.
The voltage unbalance specified by the grid operator is used
to determine the nps current. Assuming a generator negative
sequence impedance of 0.lpu (this is about the minimum
subtransient reactance allowed in IEC) and a generator
transformer impedance of 0 . 1 5 ~~ (on rating) then 1% voltage
unbalance results in a negative sequence current of:
i2 =V2/(X2+XT)=0.0 l/(O. 1 +O. 15) =0.04 PU =4%
G. Harmonic Distortion Levels
The levels of the total harmonic voltage distortion (THD)
specified in the NGC Grid Code are being revised to take into
account the greater harmonic emissions from modern power
electronics based load. Currently, Grid Code harmonic voltage
THD limits are 1.5% and 2.0% at NGC 400kV and 275kV
systems respectively. However, the revised NGC Grid Code
will refer to the use of Engineering Recommendation G5/4 for
harmonic voltage distortion planning and compatibility levels.
It is proposed to increase the THD planning levels to 3.0% for
the connection of non-linear load and the THD compatibility
levels to 3.5%. These levels are specified using Intemational
Standards nomenclature.
The THD level can be converted to an equivalent nps
current. Assuming a worst case scenario where the 5h
harmonic voltage is 3% and generator data as in section F
above. The corresponding 5 harmonic current will be:
is=0.03/(5*(0.1+0.15)) =0. 024~~
The equivalent nps current [3] would be 0. 026~~.
Turbogenerators are a major part of the electricity system
and are specified differently in Grid Code documents around
the world. The turbogenerators and other plant are specified in
such a way as to enable the grid operator to provide a secure
and stable electrical system to meet its obligations. However,
in many cases the existing International Standards specify
different turbogenerator technical values to those in Grid
Codes. Since the I ntemati onal standards are the base for the
generator manufacturer for specifying his products this
difference in generator technical specification is not helpful
and has in many cases high cost implications. If there is a
genuine need for more stringent requirements then the
turbogenerator manufacturers should adapt to these higher
reauirements and the International Standards should be
weak grid connection points higher technical requirements
may not be avoidable.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the help and contribution
of D J Gray and D J Coates particularly in matters related to
NGC Grid Code reactive review.
[ I ] A. Murdoch, H. C. Sanderson, R. A. Lawson, Excitation Systems -
Performance Specification to Meet Interconnection Requirements,
IEEE PES WM 2000, Singapore.
D. Oeding, P. Nemetz, Stability and voltage regulation of largeturbo-
alternators in power systems; effect of machine data and excitation
system, IEEE Winter Power Meeting 1970, Paper 70 CP 199-PWR
G. Neidhbfer, A. Troedson, Large Converter-Fed Motors for High
Speeds and Adjustable Speed Operation: Design Features and
Experience, IEEE Transactions on Energy conversion, Vol. 14, No.3,
September 1999.
Zein Baba was born in El-Mina, Lebanon, in 1959.
He holds a B.Sc. in electrical engineering fromthe
Middle East Technical University, Turkey and an
MSc. and a Ph.D. from the University of Manchester
Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), UK.
His employment experience includes Balfour
Beatty Engineering & Projects Ltd., Engineering
Power Development Consultants and The National
Grid Company plc in the UK He specializes in the
transmission and distnbution of electrical power He
has particular interest in power quality issues and currently deals with the
assessment and testing of turbogenerators technical performance in England
and Wales. Heis a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE).
Carl-Ernst Stephan was born in Germany in 1960.
He received the Dip1.-Ing. degree in electrical power
engineering in 1983 and the Dr.-Ing. degreein 1991
fromthe University of Kaiserslautern.
He is in his current position head of Electrical
Engineering and Design in the turbogenerator
business unit of ALSTOM, Switzerland. Hestarted his
professional career in 1990 in the development of
rewritten accordingly. f i e privatised electricity companies
their requirements and take a proactive
role in aligning their requirement with those in the
International Standards where possible. This will obviously
bring cost benefits to the electricity industry stakeholders.
Intemational Standards do not exist in isolation and must
reflect requirements placed on the plant in service. We might
expect over time for Grid Codes of typical utilities and plant
standards to converge but this is not a one way process. It is
wished that the trend demonstrated by NGC reactive review
will continue and a harmonisation between Grid Codes and
International Standards will be achieved where possible. The
ideal position would be for the majority of generating plant in
most electrical systems to have technical requirements
compatible with existing (or if required to enhanced)
International Standards. However, it should be expected that at
turbogenerators studying special problems in the design of large
turbogenerators. In particular he was responsible for the electromagnetic
design and cooling of air-cooled turbogenerators with highest unit ratings.