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1, JANUARY 2013


Implementation of Full Adaptive Technique to

Optimal Coordination of Overcurrent Relays
Mansour Ojaghi, Member, IEEE, Zeinab Sudi, and Jawad Faiz, Senior Member, IEEE

AbstractThis paper proposes a full adaptive technique for setting all overcurrent (OC) relays in HV substations. This technique
can be used online and there is no need to employ a telecommunication infrastructure. It is based on an appropriate equivalent circuit
of the power grid in the substation, online estimation of the equivalent circuit parameters, and application of the equivalent circuit
to estimate the required short-circuit currents. This full adaptive
technique is used in setting the OC relays of a typical 230/20-kV
substation connected to a sample 9-bus grid. Significant advantages of the proposed technique over the usual setting method are
shown by comparing the corresponding results. Furthermore, the
technique is improved to resolve problems due to penetration of
distributed generation. Developing this adaptive setting technique
is a step toward introducing self-adjustment OC relays.
Index TermsAdaptive setting, high-voltage (HV) substations,
overcurrent (OC) relays.


VERCURRENT (OC) relays are utilized in power systems protection as economical protective devices. Usually, these relays are the main protection devices in distribution
grids and backups for distance relays in transmission and subtransmission lines [1], [2]. They are also used as backup protection devices for power transformers and generators. Regarding
the time delay operation, OC relays are categorized as the definite time (DT) and inverse time (IT) types [2]. IT relays are
widely used where a shorter delay in removing severe faults
near power supplies is essential. Nevertheless, coordinating the
IT relays is more complicated [2] and this is considered here.
OC relays are usually coordinated offline with the grid being
in the dominant utilization topology (DUT), because frequently
this is the topology for the power grid. Normally, in DUT, all
generators, power transformers, transmission lines, and other
grid equipment are active. Some events, such as planned or
emergency outage of the mentioned equipment or installation
of new equipment, change the topology of the grid, which usually changes the amplitudes of the short-circuit fault currents in
various parts of the grid. In this case, a smaller fault current at
Manuscript received January 15, 2012; revised May 12, 2012 and July 17,
2012; accepted September 23, 2012. Date of current version December 19, 2012.
Paper no. TPWRD-00057-2012.
M. Ojaghi is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of
Zanjan, Zanjan 4537138791, Iran (e-mail:
Z. Sudi is with Zanjan Regional Electricity Company, Zanjan 33685-45137,
Iran (e-mail:
J. Faiz is with the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University
of Tehran, Tehran 14399-57131, Iran (e-mail:
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TPWRD.2012.2221483

any part of the grid causes longer delays in the OC relays operation. This results in the prolongation of the huge fault current
in the grid, which intensifies the damage on the faulty equipment, premature faults in other equipment, and shortens their
useful lifespan. On the other hand, higher fault current at any
part of the grid can break the coordination between OC relays.
Therefore, coordination based on the DUT is not necessarily the
optimal coordination in other grid topologies [3].
In order to take into account various grid topologies in the
coordination of OC relays, a new constraint corresponding to
each grid topology is added to the problem for every main/
backup pair of the relays [4], [5]. This greatly increases the
number of problem constraints. Some constraints may be infeasible, leading to an impossible solution of the problem. Otherwise, a large number of constraints results in longer computation
time. An attempt has been made to introduce an initial analysis
to reduce the number of constraints and speed up the solution
[6]. At this end, a preprocessing procedure has been introduced
which removes the infeasible and noneffective constraints [7].
A method based on the interval analysis has been suggested to
solve the OC relays optimal coordination [5] where possible
grid topologies have been considered. However, introducing
any valid constraint to the problem due to grid topology changes
may increase the minimum feasible limit for time dial setting
(TDS) of the related backup relay [7]. This may lead to a higher
TDS for the backup relay, which increases the time delay for
every fault at any topology. Therefore, the operation time interval between the related main/backup relays would be longer
than the minimum satisfactory limit in DUT. In addition, a time
delay increase of any relay leads to a similar increase in its
backup relays and then, in backups of the backup relays; so TDS
and the delay of many OC relays would be increased in the interconnected grid.
Fig. 1 shows a conventional power substation arrangement
transforming transmission to distribution voltage levels. The
substation has two high-voltage (HV) feeders, two parallel
transformers, and a number of low-voltage (LV) outgoing
feeders. The LV bus consists of two sections which may be
connected by a coupling feeder. Fig. 1 also presents the OC
protection scheme of the substation. The outgoing feeders
use OC relays as main protection (R1). Also, OC relays are
installed on the LV bus-coupling feeder as well as both sides
of the power transformers (R2 to R4). OC relays are also used
as backups for distance relays on the HV transmission lines
(R5 and R6). In the case of the HV grid being nonradial, latter
OC relays must be equipped with directional units [2]. With
short-circuit faults on the outgoing feeders, LV bus sections,
and LV sides of the power transformers, relays R1 to R4 must

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To achieve optimal coordination of the relays, their settings

are chosen for their minimum operation time. This may be expressed as follows:


Fig. 1. Conventional HV substation and its OC protection scheme.


where is the time delay of relay for a maximum fault next

to it and
is the number of the relays. Meanwhile, each part
of the system must be protected, at least, by a main relay and a
backup relay; no interference is permissible between the main
and backup relays. This leads to the following constraint:

operate in coordination with each other. R5 and R6 must

operate in coordination to their related distance relays for faults
in the transmission lines. Such coordination between the relays
can be achieved through a proper setting.
This paper introduces a full online adaptive technique to estimate the setting of the OC relays right to the grid topology. The
technique is based on the estimation of the required short-circuit currents attainable through the estimation of parameters of
a proper equivalent circuit of the grid. To put this method into
effect in a substation, there is no need to employ telecommunication infrastructures; however, it is enough to sample some
voltage and current phasors on the HV bus of the substation.
Thus, using this online technique, OC relays can be adjusted in
various grid topologies precisely. As a result, the problems due
to the grid topology changes will be completely solved. This
paper can be considered as a step toward adaptive self-adjusting
overcurrent relays. Section II briefly describes the fundamentals
of coordinating OC relays. Section III discusses the proposed
equivalent circuit of the grid, online approach for estimating its
parameters, and evaluating the required short-circuit currents.
Section IV covers the results of implementing the adaptive setting method on OC relays of a conventional 230/20-kV substation. The improvement procedure is introduced in Section V to
resolve the problems due to the penetration of distributed generation. Finally, Section VI concludes this paper.
In general, the OC relays setting includes properly choosing
pickup currents
and TDSs. The relays are coordinated with
correct and precise adjustment of the mentioned settings. is
usually determined based on the maximum possible load current, but choosing TDS is more involved [4][6].
A. Coordination With Other Overcurrent Relays
There are simple to more complicated techniques for optimal
coordination of OC relays [1][7]. For OC relays of the HV
substation (R1 to R4 in Fig. 1), a rather simple technique using
a linear programming algorithm is sufficient. Such a technique
has been briefly introduced in [5] and is described in this subsection.

where is the set of the main/backup pairs of the relays. For

each main/backup relay pair, inequality (2) is defined as a constraint where and are the operation times of the main and
backup relays, respectively, for a fault next to the main relay.
Coordination time interval (CTI) between the relays is usually
considered between 0.2 to 0.5 s. According to the type and manufacturer of OC relay , there are specific up and down limits for
), which are taken into account as
the following constraint:
Since in numerical relays, the adjustment step of TDS is reduced
to 0.001, it can be considered as a continuous variable during the
setting process.
In general, the operation time of a standard IT relay depends
on its current setting
, time dial setting
, and fault
current through the relay
as follows:
is a nonlinear function of
and . As mentioned,
is usually determined and fixed based on the maximum load current. Also,
is calculated when a solid fault
occurs next to the main relay, so it is constant for any defined
topology of the grid. Thus, in the defined topology, the value of
can be determined and replaced by a constant value
. Then, (4) can be rewritten as follows:
Substituting (5) into (1), a linear objective function versus
TDS is obtained. This objective function along with constraints
(2) and (3) forms a linear programming problem, which can be
solved using related standard techniques [5].
B. Coordination With the Distance Relay
In the beginning of power grids establishment, OC relays
were used to protect transmission lines against short-circuit
faults. Although these are the low-cost relays, they have some
serious disadvantages, including an increase of operation delays


or failure of coordination with the change in the grid topology.

The latter disadvantage is so crucial and the application of OC
relays as main protection is not recommended for ring grids fed
from two or more power sources [2].
Distance relays do not have the aforementioned disadvantages of the OC relays; typically, however, they cannot function
properly against high-impedance faults [8], [9]. Also, distance
relays do not have enough protection against power lines overloading. To overcome these weaknesses, OC relays are usually
used as backup for distance relays [2].
Any backup relay should operate with a satisfactory time
delay compared to its related main relay. This is the basis for
applying constraint (2) in the previous subsection. For a remote backup, this is usually to maintain the selectivity of the
protection system, while for a local backup, this is due to the
higher precision and reliability of the main relay. Many references have dealt with setting OC relays installed beside distance
relays [10][13] where the OC relay has not been adjusted as
the local backup for the nearby distance relay. Instead, OC relays have been optimally coordinated as when distance relays
were absent. Only some new constraints were added to keep the
OC relays away from the interference with distance relays of
the next power lines. Regarding protection of the main power
line, there is no constraint to ensure the required time interval
between operations of its OC and distance relays. In fact, in
[10][13], any OC relay has been adjusted as a main protection for its power line aside from the distance relay, but not
as a backup for the distance relay. In this case, some problems
regarding the OC relays, including coordination failure with a
change in grid topology can occur; so there is no justification to
use expensive distance relays.
By setting the OC relay of a power line as a backup for its distance relay, it will be the function of the distance relay to remove
faults along the line first. If for any reason the distance relay
failed to remove any fault on time, the OC relay operates, in turn,
to resolve the problem. To achieve such coordination between
the relays, it is sufficient to study the coordination problem and
solve it at two critical points (i.e., at the beginning of the first
and second zones of the distance relay as shown in Fig. 2), where
indicate the maximum three-phase faults in the mentioned critical points,
are the operation times of the
distance relay in the first and second zones, respectively, and
is the operation time of the backup OC relay. Referring to Fig. 2,
to coordinate the relays, the following constraints must be held:
in accordance with the maximum load current, two
TDS values are calculated using the following equation:
is the nonlinear function as introduced in (4).
Then, to fulfill both constraints, the greater of the two TDSs is
selected as the final TDS for the OC relay. Fig. 3 shows the
flowchart of this technique.


Fig. 2. Coordination between distance and OC relays.

Fig. 3. Flowchart of the technique used for setting the OC relay of a power line
as backup for its distance relay.

The main advantage of this technique is that by knowing the

fault currents
, the OC relay of any power line is
adjusted independently (i.e., there is no need to simultaneously
set the calculation for the OC relays of all power lines). As will
be shown in the following sections, this facilitates the proposed
full adaptive coordination technique.
Depending on the prefault load current, highly resistive faults
may cause an underreach of distance relays [8], [9]. This can
break the coordination of OC and distance relays. But this is
less probable because the large fault resistance reduces the fault
current and increases the time delay of the OC relay too.
Also, many distance relay algorithms have been developed to
remove such underreach problems. Some algorithms do this by
extending tripping characteristics of the relay along the resistance axis [8] and others do this with total compensation of the
fault resistance [9].
For online estimation of the power grid, the Thevenin equivalent circuit viewed from a definite bus can be used [14][16].
Then, this equivalent circuit can be used to estimate the threephase short-circuit current in the proposed bus. However, to set
the OC relay of each power line, contribution of the line in
the short-circuit current is required, and this cannot be determined using a simple Thevenin equivalent circuit. To solve this
problem, a per-phase equivalent circuit as shown in Fig. 4 is
considered for each transmission line ending the proposed bus.
It is similar to replacing each end of the line with a Thevenin
equivalent. In Fig. 4,
are the equivalent impedances



Adding the corresponding sides of (14) and (15) results in

Fig. 4. Per-phase equivalent circuit of the power grid for a line led to a bus.

are the equivalent voltage sources of both sides
of the line.
shows the equivalent impedance of the load connected to the bus, is the line-to-neutral voltage phasor at the
is the load current phasor, and
is the current
phasor of the proposed power line. At the end of this section, it
will be shown that by this equivalent circuit, it is possible to estimate all required short-circuit currents for setting the OC relays
presented in Fig. 1. Meanwhile, the online method of estimating
parameters of the equivalent circuit is introduced. This, in fact,
is an extension to the method of estimating the parameters of
Thevenin equivalent circuit introduced in [16].
Applying KVL to the meshes of Fig. 4 gives the following


are equal to
zero, because
are independent of
; thus (16) can
be written as follows:
Applying KVL to the outer loop of the proposed equivalent
circuit results in
Considering the time variations of the various voltage and current phasors, (18) can be rewritten as follows:

from (10) and replacing it into (9) leads to
the following equation:

Subtracting both sides of (18) from (19) yields

Taking into account the variations of the various voltage and
current phasores with time, (11) is rewritten as follows:

Repeating the procedure from (14)(17) gives


will be as follows:

Subtracting both sides of (11) from (12) yields

Multiplying both sides of (13) by
values gives

Then, using (17) and (21),

and getting the expected

is the expected value operator. The last equation can
be rewritten as follows:

The equivalent circuit impedances are estimated using (21) and

(22); then by substituting those in (13) and (20),
are calculated; finally, by substituting
in (12)
and (19),
are found. It can be shown that determining the Thevenin equivalent of the estimated equivalent circuit (Fig. 4) viewed from the related bus yields equations identical with those given in [16].
To calculate
from (21) and (22), one needs to
, and
phasors in many successive time
intervals. The grid topology must be stable during getting
samples; otherwise, the estimated parameters may be incorrect.
To solve this problem and to ensure the stable topology change,
newly altered parameters are compared to those obtained
through repeating some subsequent estimation. Settings modification is performed only when some successive estimation
gives identical parameters.



Fig. 5. Per-phase equivalent circuit of the grid usable for fault current calculation at the beginning of the second zone of the distance relay.

After estimating the parameters of the equivalent circuit,

the three-phase short-circuit current of the related bus as well
as contributions of both sides of the circuit are determined
by shortening both ends of
. (See Fig. 4.) If similar to the
HV bus in Fig. 1, only two lines were loaded, short-circuit
current contribution from each line can be yielded for
the other line. To calculate the short-circuit current for
the relay of the left-side transmission line, the circuit of Fig. 4
must be redrawn as Fig. 5, where
is divided into two series
, where
is the first zone
impedance reach of the distance relay. The same can be applied
to the right-side power line. If more than two lines or branches
were loaded to the bus, separate equivalent circuit is estimated
and used for each power line.
Per-unit series impedances of power transformers are added
to the per-unit equivalent circuit of Fig. 4 to calculate the shortcircuit currents for faults at the LV bus and outgoing feeders as
well as the fault current contributions of power transformers.
So all required short-circuit currents for setting the OC relays
within the HV substation are obtained. Therefore, introducing
the adaptive approach for setting proposed OC relays is realized.
Fig. 6 shows the flowchart of the proposed technique where
SCC is the short-circuit current in the proposed bus, is the
number of repetitions to ensure a stable topology change, %
is the minimum SCC deviation which requires reasonable settings modification, and
% is the difference between
the old and new SCCs. Threshold
is selected regarding the
timecurrent characteristic and
ratio of the relays in the
DUT; the larger the ratio, the larger would be.
It is usual to use the transient reactance of power generators
when performing short-circuit studies for setting OC relays. But
in the aforementioned method, the generators operate with their
synchronous reactance, which is higher than their transient reactance. So the estimated short-circuit currents will be smaller
than the required values. However, when the proposed substation is far enough from the power generation plants, which is
true for many substations, the impact of power generators reactance on the short-circuit currents may be negligible. Otherwise,
proper correction factors must be introduced.
To clarify the adaptive setting technique, OC relays setting in
a conventional substation with different topologies for its HV
feeding grid are presented. Consider the 230/20-kV substation
of Fig. 1 being fed from a 9-bus grid. The single-line diagram
of the grid is shown in Fig. 7 and its technical specifications are
given in Tables IX and X. Equipment inside the dashed box in
Fig. 7 does not belong to the basic 9-bus grid, but they are added

Fig. 6. Flowchart of the adaptive online estimation technique for the needed
short-circuit currents.

to the grid as new equipment when required. Assume that the

substation is connected to the grid via bus 7, so that this bus
is its HV bus and the load connected to bus 7 is transmitted to
the LV bus of the substation. Two 40-MVA substation transformers have a series impedance of 12.4%. Distance relays are
the main protections for the HV lines and OC relays (
) are their backups. Now assume that on the HV bus of the
substation, the parameters of the proposed equivalent circuit are
estimated online and used for adaptive setting of the OC relays.
In the following subsections, the adaptive setting technique is
applied under various topologies of the grid and the results are
analyzed and compared to the corresponding settings attained
through the traditional method. It is assumed that the timecurrent characteristic of the OC relays is normal inverse. The grid
simulation and phasors sampling are done using DIgSILENT
and other calculations are performed using MATLAB software.
A. Coordinating Relays R5 and R6 With Distance Relays
Case1: Dominant Utilization Topology: Suppose all the main
equipment of the 9-bus grid and the substation are in use (DUT).





Fig. 7. Single-line diagram of the nine-bus grid.

First, the parameters of the equivalent circuit are estimated. At

this end, the grid is simulated under steady-state and required
voltage and current phasors are sampled. Load current
samples are obtained by summation of the corresponding samples of the HV side currents of the transformers. Frequent calculations show that at least 40 samples of the phasors with 1-s
intervals are required for correct estimation of the equivalent
circuit parameters. Also, the load connected to the LV bus must
be time-varying to some extent. Therefore, in the LV bus of the
substation, a load model with small random changes is used. The
results of estimation of the parameters of the equivalent circuit
along with their actual values are shown in Table I. As seen, estimated values are very close to the actual ones and this implies
the desired precision of the estimation method.
Table II shows the short-circuit currents due to
faults in the related transmission lines, which are calculated
using the equivalent circuit. This table offers setting values determined for the OC relays as well. Current setting of the relays
is calculated according to the maximum load currents
through the lines. Since distance relays operate rather instantaneously in the first zone,
is assumed to be zero, while 0.4 s
is used for
and CTI. In both relays (R5 and R6),
larger and chosen as the final TDS.
Case2: One Grid Equipment Being Out of Use: Suppose
an effective equipment of the 9-bus grid is out of use, so the
fault currents change considerably. Parameters estimation of the
equivalent circuit, short-circuit currents evaluation, and TDSs
calculation are redone. At this end, generator G1 is chosen to be

out of use. Estimated and actual parameters of the equivalent circuit have been shown in Table I and calculated short-circuit currents and TDSs have been summarized in Table II. Table I indicates the high accuracy of the estimated parameters. Meanwhile,
Table II indicates that in this topology of the grid; short-circuit
currents decrease largely compared to the previous topology.
This results in the decrease of the TDS values. So in this grid
topology, if the OC relays TDS were not corrected, their operation delay becomes longer than the required delay. The adaptive
setting technique is capable of doing such setting corrections.
Case3: Adding New Equipment to Grid: Suppose new equipment (i.e., generator G4 and transformer T4) are added to the
grid and their effects on the relays setting are studied. Tables I
and II show the results in this new grid topology. The high accuracy of the adaptive technique in estimating the parameters
of the equivalent circuit is also obvious. Nevertheless, adding
the new equipment causes an increase of the amplitudes of the
short-circuit currents and, thus, increases TDSs largely.
Actually, it is common to estimate the settings for the OC
relays in the DUT (case1) and put them into effect over all operating topologies of the grid. The impacts of the grid topology
change on the operation of the OC relays of transmission lines,
adjusted using traditional and adaptive methods, are studied in
the following part. Suppose the topology of the grid changes
from DUT to the aforementioned cases 2 and case 3, respectively. Table III compares the operation conditions of the proposed OC relays for two critical faults
and . In Table III,
are obtained as follows:
must be zero. Usually, both
In the ideal situation,
constraints (6) and (7) may not reach equality form, so
cannot be zero simultaneously. The shorter
the better is the operation of the related OC relay. Negative





is not desirable, because it shows a decreased time interval between the main and backup relays which may result
in coordination failure between them. Table III indicates that
with an adaptive setting technique,
have small
positive values, while with the traditional setting method, they
have large positive and sometimes negative values. Therefore,
the optimal coordinative operation of the OC relays is guaranteed under various topologies using the adaptive method; but
not the traditional method.
B. Coordinating Relays R1 to R4
Case1: Dominant Utilization Topology: The topology of the
grid in this case is similar to that of case1 in the previous subsection; so the equivalent circuit attained is also usable here.
Table IV shows the results of the setting calculations, where the
CT ratio,
, and are the CT ratio, three-phase short-circuit
current through the relay for a fault next to R1, current setting
of the relay in primary amps and relay operation time, respectively. In part , CTI is considered to be 0.3 s.
Case2: One Transformer of the Substation Being Out of Use:
Suppose all of the equipment of the 9-bus grid are in use but a
power transformer within the substation is out of use. The adaptive setting method uses the transformers connection status to
identify this topology. Excluding the transformer has no impact
on the equivalent circuit of a nine-bus grid viewed from bus 7.
Thus, the equivalent circuit for case1 in the previous subsection
can also be used in this case. Table V shows the results of setting
calculations for this case. As seen, the amplitude of the short-circuit current in the remaining transformer and, therefore, TDS of
the relays has been increased.






Case3: One Grid Equipment Being Out of Use: Suppose generator G3 is chosen to be out of use while both power transformers are in use. Repeating the estimation procedure,
will be
while their
actual values are
, respectively. Also, estimated
kV while their actual values are
kV and
kV, respectively. As seen, there
is good agreement between the estimated and actual parameters. Table VI shows the results of the setting calculations. It is
noted that by outing G3, short-circuit currents and, thus, TDSs
decrease significantly.
Case4: Adding New Equipment to Grid: Suppose generator
G4 is added to the grid through the transformer T4. This case
is similar to the case3 in the previous sub-section; so attained
equivalent circuit is also usable here. Table VII shows the settings calculation results. As seen, short-circuit currents and thus,
TDS of the relays have been increased.
Now the results of the adaptive and traditional setting
methods are compared. As stated before, contrary to the adaptive method, in the traditional method, OC relays settings are
calculated in DUT and the results are put constantly on the
relays regardless of the grid topology changes. Table VIII
shows the operation times of main/backup relay pairs for a
three-phase short-circuit fault in an outgoing feeder next to R1.
These operation times are delivered for the aforementioned
case 2, case 3, and case 4 topologies of the grid and for adaptive
and traditional setting methods separately. In this table, t is
obtained as follows:
is the operation time of the main relay and
that of the related backup relay. The ideal value of
is zero.
Otherwise, the smaller its value, the better. A large negative
value of
(compared to CTI) indicates possible coordination
failure between the related main/backup relays. Considering
columns in Table VIII, it is noted that in all three cases of
the grid with the adaptive setting method, the values of
small tending to zero. However, in cases 2 and 4,
has a large
negative value with the traditional setting method; this implies




the possible coordination failure in these cases. In case 3,

applying the traditional setting method leads to relatively large
positive values for
. This means that coordination remains
in case 3 but the relays have a longer delay than required.
Distributed generation (DG) is, by definition, generation
which is of limited size (a few kilowatts to a few megawatts)
and interconnected at the substation, distribution feeder, or
customer load level. The renewed interest in DG has resulted
in significant penetration of DGs in many distribution systems
worldwide. Therefore, it is essential to consider the DG impacts
on the behavior of the proposed adaptive setting scheme. This
type of study could be conducted in two aspects: 1) the impact
on the accuracy of the adaptive setting method and 2) the
impacts on the coordination of the OC relays. This will result
in improvements to the adaptive setting method.
A. DG Impact on Adaptive Setting Accuracy
The accuracy of the proposed adaptive setting method highly
depends on the accuracy of the estimation of the equivalent circuit parameters. To examine this, a typical synchronous DG is
connected to LV bus of the substation under DUT. Then, the parameters are estimated for a variable size of the DG. Simulation
results show no significant variation of the estimated parameters for normal DG size which is lower than the substation load.
In fact, in such conditions, the average load of the substation
reduces due to the DG operation, which has no impact on the
estimated parameters (Section III). However, as will be clear in
the following subsection, this does not mean that DG has no impact on the adaptive setting scheme.
B. DG Impacts on the Coordination of Overcurrent Relays
Interconnection of DGs in the distribution system may bring
challenges to its OC protection. Many of these challenges have
been reported in the literature [17]. Fig. 8 shows the potential
challenges against the OC protection of the substation. A short
description of the challenges and required improvement for the
adaptive setting scheme are given in this subsection.
Blinding of Protection: As shown in Fig. 8(a), when the DG
is connected downstream from the main feeder OC protection
(R) and a fault on the feeder occurs far from the substation, fault
current contribution from DG may reduce the fault current that

Fig. 8. Potential challenges against the OC protection of the HV substation.

will experience and blind its operation. This problem mainly

threatens the outgoing feeder relay R1 and could be evaluated
offline when current setting of the relays takes place. The current setting should be adequately lower than the minimum fault
current, which may occur with the fault at the end of the protective zone of R1 under the minimum short-circuit condition
of the HV grid and maximum penetration of DG on each distribution feeder. The minimum continuous penetration of DG on
each feeder permits reduction of the current setting for its OC
False Tripping by Back Feeding: As Fig. 8(b) shows, for
a fault on feeder 2, back feeding from DG on feeder 1 may
make relay
mistakenly trip. This problem also threatens the
outgoing feeders of the proposed substation. Using directional
OC relays [18] or using the current-phase comparison scheme
[19] for the outgoing feeders are efficient methods to overcome
this problem, so there is no action to do so with by the adaptive
setting scheme.
Fuse-Saving Scheme: As shown in Fig. 8(c), without DG,
the recloser and the fuse experience the same fault current, and
the recloser is designed to operate before the fuse for temporary
faults on the lateral. However, with the interconnection of DG,
the recloser now sees less current than the fuse will see and this
may make the fuse operate faster than the recloser, thus breaking
the recloser-fuse coordination. Otherwise, the fault current contribution from DG continuously flows through the fuse until it
blows it, regardless of the recloser operation. So the fuse-saving
scheme fails. Outgoing feeders in the proposed HV substation
may include appropriate reclosers to perform the fuse-saving
scheme [17]. However, the adaptive setting method cannot overcome this problem, mainly because the second portion of the
problem (blowing the fuse) is independent of the recloser setting. Changing the fuse link or using the fault current limiter
are effective means to overcome this problem [17], [20].





Ring grids fed from two or more supplies have a simple
equivalent circuit. With sampling some voltage and current phasors, the parameters of the equivalent circuit can be estimated
online. Using this circuit, short-circuit current contributions in
grid lines and branches can be determined and used for setting
OC relays in a conventional HV substation. Thus, an adaptive
online method for setting is employed which can adjust the
necessary settings on the relays that are appropriate for the
current topology of the grid. This adaptive method does not
need any telecommunication infrastructure. Using this method,
the problems in the operation of the OC relays due to the
change in the topology of the grid are totally solved. Simple
improvements make the adaptive setting method robust against
challenges brought by DGs in the LV side grid.

Miscoordination of Previously Coordinated Relays: Considering Fig. 8(d), assume that IT relays
are coordinated up to the maximum fault current without DG. The connection of DG increases the maximum fault current that both relays
may experience and pushes them out of the current coordinated
range. This problem is presented between relays R1 and R2 in
the proposed HV substation when DG is connected to any of its
LV bus sections. The proposed adaptive setting scheme can remove this problem by changing the relays setting appropriately.
To do so, the scheme needs the short-circuit model of DG as
well as its connection status, which can be provided easily.
Conflict Requirements on Coordination: As Fig. 8(e) shows,
during fault F1 with DG, relay
should operate before
while during fault F2, relay
should operate before . Therefore, two OC relays are facing conflict requirements on coordination. A similar problem threatens the substation relays R1 to
R4 for short-circuit faults in the HV (230-kV) grid. If necessary,
using directional OC relays for R1 to R4 is a definitive solution
of this problem. One must remember that the HV substations
typically incorporate unit differential protections to remove internal faults within the substation instantly.
Limited Short-Circuit Level: When the distribution network
is disconnected from the main source and is supplied from inverter-interfaced DGs, short-circuit levels of the network will be
limited to low magnitudes [17], [21]. Disconnecting both transformers of the HV substation superimposes the related distribution network into such a condition. OC relays R1 and R2 of
the substation remain effective in this condition and, if they do
not blind, their delay time may be so long that the fault could
damage DGs. Using a new predetermined setting group with
a definite-time characteristic and appropriate time and current
settings is a useful method to overcome this problem [21]. The
adaptive setting scheme uses the connection status of both transformers to activate this setting group. The current phase comparison scheme can also be useful in such conditions [19].

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Mansour Ojaghi (S05M10) received the B.Sc.

degree in electrical engineering from Shahid
Chamran University, Ahwaz, Iran, in 1993, the
M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the
University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran, in 1997, and
the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the
University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran, in 2009.
He was with the Zanjan Regional Electricity Company for 10 years, where he was Manager of Grid
Technical Office. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor with the University of Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran.
His research interests include power system protection as well as modeling, simulation, and fault diagnosis of electrical machines and drives.
Dr. Ojaghi is a member of the IEEE Power and Energy, IEEE Industry Applications, IEEE Industrial Electronics, IEEE Magnetics, and IEE Education

Zeinab Sudi received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in

electrical power engineering from the University of
Zanjan, Zanjan, Iran, in 2007 and 2011, respectively.
She joined the Zanjan Regional Electricity Company in 2008. Her research interests include power
system protection and planning as well as the application of artificial intelligence in the power system

Jawad Faiz (M90SM97) received the M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering (Hons.) from the University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran, in 1975, and the Ph.D.
degree in electrical engineering from the University
of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.,
in 1988.
Early in his career, he served as a faculty member
with the University of Tabriz for 10 years. After obtaining the Ph.D. degree, he rejoined the University
of Tabriz, where he was Assistant Professor from
1988 to 1992, Associate Professor from 1992 to
1997, and has been a Professor since 1998. Since 1999, he has been a Professor
at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering,
University of Tehran. Currently, he is the Director of the Center of Excellence
on Applied Electromagnetic systems. He has received a number of awards, including the first basic research award from the Kharazmi International Festival
in 2007, the silver Einstein medal for academic research from the UNESCO,
the first rank medal in Research from the University of Tehran in 2006, and
the Elite Professor Award from the Iran Ministry of Science, Research and
Technology in 2004. He is the author of 170 papers in international journals and
172 papers in international conference proceedings. His teaching and research
interests are switched reluctance and VR motors design, design and modeling
of electrical machines and drives, as well as transformer modeling and design
and fault diagnosis in electrical machinery.
Prof. Faiz is an IEEE Senior Member of Power and Energy, Industry Applications, Power Electronics, Industrial Electronics, Education and Magnetics
societies. He has also been a member of the Iran Academy of Science since