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Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching | EEP

Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching

(part 1)

Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching (photo by Zaporozhtransformator Joint Stock

Company - ZTR)


Shunt reactors application
Closing operation
Opening operation (in next part)
Conclusions (in next part)




Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching | EEP

These notes aim to give basic idea of the main criticalities related to HV shunt reactor switching,
particularly in terms of voltage, and how such problems are faced and solved by modern switching
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Shunt reactors application

Three-phase shunt reactors are basically aimed to compensate excess of reactive power generation
so preventing unacceptable voltage rise and power losses.
Lightly loaded1, long power transmission lines over 220kV, or cables 100kV and higher, are capacitive
loads causing voltage increase because of the line charging currents flowing through the line / cable
self inductance (Ferranti effect).
In this cases the reactor is switched on and off during the day depending on the load, only. In fact, due
to the need of reactive power consumption for voltage control and electrical system safety, the shunt
reactor should be never tripped: in case of reactor fault, the whole line is tripped.

As a reference value, it should be considered as light a load less than 70% of the surge
impedance loading (SIL). For instance, a 345kV line with surge impedence 350 has about
345 2/350 = 340MW SIL.
That is consistent with the fact that in some EHV lines permanently under-loaded, fixed reactors
are installed (provided just with a disconnecting switch in presence of redundant shunt reactors, for maintenance
Another example of shunt reactor application is in presence of filter banks acting as capacitors at
power frequency: that is the typical situation of HVDC converter station. HVDC converters produce
harmonic distortion that need proper filter design to avoid heavy impact on network power quality.
Different combination of filters could be are foreseen in different load conditions to get the target value
of THD. At the same time filters capacitor banks act also as a reactive power source providing the
needed Mvar to the converter, which is an important inductive load.
Sometimes it could happen that specific combinations of converter load and filters configuration can
satisfy the harmonic constraints, but lead to the reactive power generated by filters exceeding that
consumed by converter over acceptable level: in that situations a shunt reactor is used.
The configuration of shunt reactors may be various (bank of single-phase reactors, three-phase unit with a 3- or
5-legged core, etc.) , but following considerations still remain valid.
It is to be noted that shunt reactor is, by definition, a reactor directly connected to the network; in
some applications reactors are applied through a transformer (e.g. connected to tertiary winding); in both



Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching | EEP

cases the principle is the same and the reactor acts as a linear inductance 2 , but this paper refers to
the first.
On the other hand, despite the different possible earthing methods (isolated, solidly earthed or earthed
through neutral reactor), solidly earthed three-phase shunt reactors will be considered.

In case of iron core reactors, linearity is obtained with integrated air gaps.

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Closing operation
For what concerns the closing operation, the shunt reactor can be simply modeled as an inductance in
series with a resistance. The latter is always present, despite the effort to minimize losses.

Shunt reactor closing operation scheme

Energy stored in the inductor before circuit breaker closing is zero, and network voltage is:
The current flowing in the circuit is then:

The way to cancel the

transient term is to close
the circuit breaker when
the steady state
component of current is zero ( = ). More simply, suppose and resistive part of the reactor impedance
be zero ( = 90): the transient part of current is zero if the circuit breaker is switched on when the



Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching | EEP

reaches its maximum value ( = 90).
On the contrary, the transient term will be maximum if the circuit breaker closes with = 90. In
the simplified example that means = 0.
As the two terms (transient and steady state) sum each other, half a cycle later, when they have the
same sign, the current increases over the steady state maximum value. The actual value depends on the
circuit damping. Very low damping circuits (it is almost the case of shunt reactors) can see a current
doubled, compared with the steady state.
In three phase circuits, with three-pole operated circuit breakers it is quite easy to meet a critical
closing instant on at least one phase.
Because of above mentioned asymmetry in the transient current trend, closing operation can also
generate zero sequence currents.
Despite of the linear design of shunt reactors, in case of their switching in at the worst instant (phase
voltage equal to zero), the flux will increase with the voltage-time-area during the first half-cycle to a value
twice the maximum flux in normal operation.
The current is proportional to the flux density, until reactor core saturation occurs. Above the point of
saturation the current will increase faster than the flux. Saturation will be present in different amount in
the three phases, because of the three-phases voltage 120 displacement.
That means the sum of DC components in the three phase currents will not be null, so producing a
zero sequence current which could lead to nuisance tripping by protections.
The way to mitigate the high inrush currents and generally, the switching transients, due to random
closing instants is to control the making instant for each pole of the circuit breaker. That means a
single-pole operated circuit breaker is needed together with a Controlled Switching Device (CSD).
Several manufacturers offer their own models of CSD: basically the principle is the same and it is
based on the measuring of voltage upstream the circuit breaker, on the source side.
In several cases a current feedback signal is used for adaptation control: as the switching times can be
affected by temperature, auxiliary voltage variations, mechanical contingencies, etc. a deviation from
target instant can occur. Such deviation is detected and properly taken into consideration during the
next operation.
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Will be continued in 2 days stay in tune.



Talking About HV Shunt Reactor Switching | EEP



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Nicola - Electrical Engineer from Italy. Experience in power plants electrical systems,
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