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12/1/13

Using High-Speed Grounding Switches | EEP

Using High-Speed Grounding Switches

Using High-Speed Grounding Switches

Automatic high-speed grounding switches are applied for protection of power transformers when the
cost of supplying other protective equipment is deemed unjustifiable and the amount of system
disturbance that the high-speed grounding switch creates is judged acceptable.
The switches are generally actuated by discharging a spring mechanism to provide the high-speed
operation.
The grounding switch operates to provide a deliberate ground fault on one phase of the high-voltage bus
supplying the power transformer, disrupting the normally balanced 120 phase shifted threephase system by effectively removing one phase and causing the other two phases to become 180
phase shifted relative to each other.
This system imbalance is remotely detected by protective relaying equipment that operates the
transmission line breakers at the remote end of the line supplying the power transformer, tripping
the circuit open to clear the fault.
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12/1/13

Using High-Speed Grounding Switches | EEP

This scheme also imposes a voltage interruption to all other loads connected between the remote circuit
breakers and the power transformer as well as a transient spike to the protected power transformer,
effectively shortening the transformers useful life.

Cleaveland/Price's High speed grounding switch 115 kV - 230 kV, 120 kA momentary / 71kA, 3
sec. (cleavelandprice.com)

Frequently, a system utilizing a high-speed ground switch also includes the use of a motor
operated disconnect switch and a relay system to sense bus voltage.
The relay systems logic allows operation of the motor operated disconnect switch when there is no
voltage on the transmission line to provide automatic isolation of the faulted power transformer and to
allow reclosing operations of the remote breakers to restore service to the transmission line and to all
other loads fed by this line.
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12/1/13

Using High-Speed Grounding Switches | EEP

The grounding switch scheme is dependent on the ability of the source transmission line relay protection
scheme to recognize and clear the fault by opening the remote circuit breaker.
Clearing times are necessarily longer since the fault levels are not normally within the levels appropriate
for an instantaneous trip response.

500 kV Motor Operated Disconnect Switch (VIDEO)

Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube.

The lengthening of the trip time also imposes additional stress on the equipment being protected and
should be considered when selecting this method for power transformer protection.
High-speed grounding switches are usually considered when relative fault levels are low so that the risk
of significant damage to the power transformer due to the extended trip times is mitigated.
Resource: Electric Power Substations Engineering J. D. McDonald (Get it from Amazon)

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Using High-Speed Grounding Switches | EEP

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