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EEE8044 Fundamentals of Distribution Engineering Taster Material

Calculation of system fault levels


When performing fault calculations we usually assume that the system voltage at the point of
the fault is the same as the nominal system voltage at that point. Another commonly made
assumption is that the load current flowing in the system is negligible compared with the size
of the fault current. The process of calculating three-phase fault levels can be described in
four main steps:
Step 1, System single line diagram: represent system by its one line diagram showing
generator and transformer MVA ratings, voltage ratings and impedances, cable and overhead
line impedances and lengths and the short circuit infeeds at the incoming transformers (i.e.
system fault level at the supply substation).
Fig. 1 shows a single-line diagram for an 11 kV loop network. The 33/11 kV transformers at
each substation are shown. Our objective is to calculate the fault level on the 11 kV busbar at
substation B if the normally open point is closed on this feeder.
Substation A
33 kV fault level 2500 MVA
33 kV

Substation B
33 kV fault level 2200 MVA
33 kV
3 off
10 MVA
XT=0.06 pu
on rating

2 off
20 MVA
XT=0.05 pu
on rating
11 kV

11 kV

8.35 km
XL=0.24/km

6.25 km
NO Point

XL=0.24/km

Fig. 1 Single-line diagram of 11 kV network fed from two primary substations

Step 2, Develop equivalent circuit expressing all parameters in per unit values: The next
step is to redraw the single-line diagram as an equivalent circuit in which all impedances are
expressed in p.u. values calculated to a common power base. The equivalent circuit should of
course include all sources of short circuit current. In this case, there are no plant generators
and the utility incoming 33 kV supply is the only source of fault current.
The use of the per unit system allows all voltage sources to be represented by a single voltage
source equal to 1 pu and a series of impedances connected between this voltage source and

the point where the fault level is to be calculated. Effectively, we are representing the system
in terms of its Thevenin equivalent circuit.
For the above network, it makes sense to use 10 MVA or 20 MVA as our power base. If we
choose 10 MVA as our base, the reactance of each of the three transformers at S/S B is then
0.06 pu. The reactance of each of the transformers at S/S A is then given by 0.0510/20 =
0.025 pu.
The total cable length between the two substations is 14.6 km. Thus the impedance between
the two substations if the normally open point is closed is given by 0.2414.6 = 3.504. The
base impedance at the 11 kV side is given by:

Z base

Vbase 2
baseVA

1110

3 2

10 10 6

12.1

Hence, the cable impedance between the two substations is (3.504/12.1) = 0.2896 pu.
The source reactances at the two substations can be calculated from the known 33 kV fault
level at each substation. A supply fault level of 2500 MVA at substation A simply means that
the source reactance is 1 pu calculated on a base of 2500 MVA. Thus, on our 10 MVA base,
the supply reactance at substation A is now given by 110/2500 = 0.004 pu. Similarly, at
substation B, a supply fault level of 2200 MVA implies that the source reactance is 1 pu
calculated on a base of 2200 MVA. Thus, on a10 MVA base, the supply reactance at
substation B is given by 110/2200 = 0.0045 pu.
Fig. 2 shows the network redrawn as an equivalent circuit with all impedances expressed in
pu values and with the normally open point closed.
Reference busbar (1 pu voltage)

0.004 pu

S/S A

0.025
pu

0.0045 pu

0.025
pu

0.06
pu

0.06
pu

0.06
pu

S/S B

0.2896 pu
Fault

Fig. 2 Network equivalent circuit

Step 3, Apply circuit reduction techniques: Standard network reduction techniques are
used to reduce the equivalent circuit to a single impedance between the source bus and the
point at which the fault level is to be calculated, as shown in Fig. 3.
R

Reference busbar

0.004
pu

0.0045 pu

0.004 pu

0.025
pu

0.025
pu

0.06
pu

0.06
pu

0.06
pu

0.0045
pu

0.0125
pu

0.02
pu

0.3061
pu

0.0245
pu

0.0227
pu

0.2896
pu
0.2896 pu

Fault

Fig. 3 Equivalent circuit for 11 kV fault at S/S B

The net impedance to the point of fault is given 0.0227 pu calculated on a base of 10 MVA.
Step 4, Calculate fault level and fault current: The three-phase fault level at the 11 kV
busbar in substation B is thus given by:

Fault Level

Base VA
10 10 6

440.5 MVA
Net Impedance to Point of Fault 0.0227

The rms fault current If is then given by:


If

440.5 10 6
3 1110 3

23.1 kA

The fault level can be reduced by reducing the number of parallel paths in the circuit.