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Evaluation of Lightning Performance on

Transmission System Sag


Mohamed Qais1
King Saud University, KSA
mqais@ ksu.edu.sa

1,2

Abstract- A lightning stroke causes current injection into


transmission lines at the point of contact. The lightning
performance can be difficult to understand without using
simulation programs. PSCAD is powerful software was selected
to develop the appropriate data required to investigate this
phenomena. In this paper, a model of 500 kV transmission line is
developed when lightning stroke hits the shield wire directly at
the mid-span sag location of transmission line. This study
emphasizes on lightning performance when stroke hits either top
of transmission tower or position of maximum sag locations
between towers. In addition, the effects of lightning strokes on
overvoltage along transmission system are studied. The results
revealed that the sag of transmission line has a considerable
influence on fast transient flashover and induced voltages
occurrences across line insulators as well as phase lines.
Index Terms-- Back flashover, lightning, insulator, PSCAD,
sag, transmission lines.

I. INTRODUCTION
Lightning is one of the natural causes of transient overvoltages in the power system especially overhead
transmission lines. Lightning stroke hits the transmission
system either shield wires, tower body or line conductors due
to protection failure of shield wires. Lightning stroke is an
impulsive transient variation, which is unidirectional in
polarity (positive or negative) [1].
Depending on previous works, most of researchers had
studied many parameters that affect the lightning
performance on transmission system such as front time, tail
time, peak lightning current, tower geometry, footing
resistance, corona, flashover etc. [2-4].
In addition, The mountainous places are the mostly
subjected to the lightning phenomena where the striking
distances are small and the resistivity of rocky mountainous
soil of is very high [5,6].
This paper presents effect of transmission system sag on
lightning characteristics when the lightning stroke hits the
location of sag at mountainous areas. The induced voltages
across insulator and in the line conductors will be
investigated when the lightning stroke hits shielding wires at
sag locations with and without installation of surge arresters.

Usama Khaled*2
Aswan University, Egypt
ukhaled@ksu.edu.sa

Fig. 1. Typical configuration of 500 kV transmission tower.

equivalent surge impedances and propagation time as shown


in Fig. 2. The surge impedance for each section of tower is
200 and the propagation velocity is 2.50x108 m/sec which
represented in PSCAD using transmission line model consists
of Bergeron model as shown in Fig. 2 [7, 8]. The
specifications of transmission line used in this study are
shown in Table 1.
B. Footing Resistance
Generally there are two types of tower footing resistance
model can be used: one is simplified constant resistance, the
other one considers surge current magnitude dependent
characteristics due to soil ionization [4, 9].
C. Insulator Modeling
The equivalent capacitance of insulator can be used to
simplify the modeling of insulator in PSCAD. The insulator
(cap and pin) equivalent capacitance is 100 pF[10], where the
number of pins for 500 kV insulator is assumed 26 discs.
Then the total equivalent capacitance is 3.94 pF.

II. MODELING OF 500 KV TRANSMISSION SYSTEM

D. Back Flashover modeling


If the lightning strikes the shield wire or the top of tower
then the lightning current incepts into the tower which
increases the top tower voltage, as well as the voltage stressed
over the line insulator. If the voltage at the top of tower is
exceeds the insulator withstand level, then back flashover
occurs[11].

A. Tower Model
The 500 kV tower shown in Fig. 1 can be modeled in
PSCAD by representing main legs and cross arms with its

Two models are recommended by IEC 60071-4 to


represent the back flashover: critical flashover voltage (CFO)
model and volt-time curve flashover model.

978-1-4673-9682-0/15/$31.00 2015 IEEE

GW1

Ec3

GW2

|X|

Comparator
BRK1

0.003 km
ZLine1

0.003 km
ZLine2

1200.

+
F

0.004 km
ZLine3

0.008 km

0.008 km
ZLine4

0.004 km

ZLine5

3.94e-006

2130.

ZLine6

3.94e-006

3.94e-006
TIME
C

B
0.024 km

0.024 km
ZLine7

ZLine8

F2

N/D
D

*
100000
X

Fig. 4. Controlling the parallel switch across the insulator in PSCAD.

For fast front surges, the impedance of the R-L filter


becomes more significant [12]. For 500 kV the rated voltage
of arresters is (500*2)/3 = 408.25 kV and the other
components are assumed L1 = 21.75 H, L0 = 0.29 H, R1 =
94.25 , R0 = 145 and C = 68.97 pF [13].

F1

Fig. 2. Equivalent PSCAD modeling of tower.


TABLE I
LINE AND GROUND CONDUCTORS DATA
Radius (mm)

DC resistance at 20o C (/km)

Line conductor

15.3

0.0511

Ground wire

5.6

0.564

Type

The volt-time characteristic of the insulation is represented by


(1) as follows:
710 l
(1)
V f 0 = 400 l + 0 .75
t
Where Vf0 is flashover voltage (kV), l is the length of
insulator (m) and t is time in (s).
The back flashover is represented by parallel switch across
the insulator as shown in Fig. 3. The parallel switch is
modeled and controlled by comparing the volt-time
characteristics in (1) with the induced voltage across insulator
as shown in Fig. 4.
E. Surge Arrester Modeling
Surge arrester modeling techniques was formed in 1971 by
the IEEE Surge Protective Devices Committees
subcommittee on the Application of Surge Protective
Devices. IEEE had developed a model in which the nonlinear V-I characteristic is represented by two sections of
non-linear resistances designated by A0 and A1. These nonlinear resistances are separated by an R-L filter as in Fig. 5.

F. Sag of transmission line Modeling


The sag effects of transmission lines or the clearance from
earth, as shown in Fig. 6, is important to study during
lightning especially at mountainous locations. In order to
study this case, the sag of transmission line (span is 400 m) is
modeled as shown in Fig. 7 by dividing span into three trans-

Fig. 5. IEEE surge arrester model.

Fig. 6. Representation of transmission line sag.

Mid-Span Sag:
10 [m] for Conductors
10 [m] for Ground Wires
C4

C5

5.52 [m]
16 [m]
C1

C2

C3
13.2 [m]

14.48 [m]

Tower: 3L1
Conductors: chukar
Ground_Wires: 1/2"HighStrengthSteel
0 [m]

Fig. 3. Insulator string equivalent capacitor with parallel controlled switch.

Fig. 7. Modified dimensions for sag location.

Ae

B
-

TIM

350.0

*
1.043

+
Ae

Rg

10.0

Rf

Rg

Sag at
mountainous
Location

+
0.711

Rg

ground wire

+
Rg

+
Rg

TLine1
1

TLine2
1

GW2

GW1

1
GW2

GW1

Ea5

Tower5

Ec44
Rf

Rf
+

Rf

Surge Arrester

Tower 2

TLine6

Tline5
1

Ea2

Ec11
Rf

Rf
+

F
Rf

load

Ec22

Substation 2

Ea1

Tower 1

Rf

GW2

GW1

C
F
Rf

TLine7

Ec33
F

Rf

A
F

Rf
+

GW2

Ea3

1
GW1

Tower 3

A
Ea4

Tower4

C
F

1
GW2

GW1

TLine4

TLine3
1

Substation 1

Surge Arrester

Fig. 8. PSCAD model of 500 kV power transmission system.


Induced Voltage of phase A at different towers

-mission lines: Tline 1 (150 m), Tline 2 (100 m), and Tline
3 (150 m). Tline 2 is the location of sag with proposed
length 100 m and modified dimensions to adapt with sag.

Ea1

Ea2

Ea3

Ea4

1.4k
1.2k
1.0k

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


ph Va (kV)

0.8k

The proposed 500 kV overhead power transmission


system has been modeled and simulated using PSCAD as
shown in Fig. 8. The lightning stroke with peak current
100 kA and 1.2/50 s, as shown in Fig. 9, hits the power
system at different places.

0.6k
0.4k
0.2k
0.0
-0.2k
-0.4k
-0.6k

A. Striking without surge arrester and flashover


1) Lightning at top of tower 1
If the lightning stroke hits the top of tower 1 with
footing resistance 80 , then there are induced voltages in
line conductors and across the insulators due to lightning.
The measured induced voltages of phase conductor (A) at
different towers Ea1, Ea2, Ea3, and Ea4, where the span
between towers is 400 m, are shown in Fig. 10.
It is clear from fig. 10 that the maximum induced
voltage occurred at the same stroked tower 1 and will
decreased at the faraway towers. The induced voltages
across insulators at different towers Ec1, Ec2, Ec3, and
Ec4 are shown in Fig. 11, where the peak induced voltage
Ec1 at the stroked tower 1 exceeds 3 (MV) but in the
faraway towers is less than 1 MV so the chance of
flashover occurrence is decreased by increasing striking
distance of lightning source.

Sec

Current (kA)
Sec

0.00

0.04m

0.06m

Fig.9. Lightning impulse waveform.

0.08m

0.10m

0.12m

0.14m

0.010m

0.015m

0.020m

0.025m

.
.
.

Induced Voltage across Insulators at different towers


4.0k

Ec1

Ec2

Ec3

Ec4

3.5k

Insulator V (kV)

3.0k
2.5k
2.0k
1.5k
1.0k
0.5k
0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k
Sec

0.000

0.010m

0.020m

0.030m

0.040m

Fig. 11. Induced voltage across insulators at different towers.

Surge

0.02m

0.005m

Fig.10. Induced voltage of phase (A) at different towers.

Lightning Stroke
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0

0.000

.
.
.

2) Lightning at sag location


When lightning current stroke hits the sag location in
the mid-span between towers 1 and 2, the induced voltages
in line conductors at different towers are shown in Fig. 12.
The peak value of induced voltage reaches 2 MV in phase
lines which equal 2.35 times of induced voltage of phase
(A) that shown in Fig. 10.
On the other hand, the obtained results of induced
voltages across insulators at different towers when
lightning hits sag location are shown in Fig. 13, where
induced voltage at all towers is very high with average pe-

.
.
.

Induced Voltage of phase A at different towers

Induced Voltage of phase A at different towers


Ea1

3.0k

Ea2

Ea3

Ea4

Ea1

3.0k

2.5k

Ea2

Ea3

Ea4

2.5k

2.0k

2.0k

1.0k

1.5k

0.5k

1.0k
ph Va (kV)

ph Va (kV)

1.5k

0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k

0.0

-1.5k

-0.5k

-2.0k

-1.0k

-2.5k
Sec

0.5k

0.000

0.005m

0.010m

0.015m

0.020m

0.025m

-1.5k

.
.
.

-2.0k
Sec

0.000

0.005m

0.010m

0.015m

0.020m

0.025m

Fig. 12. Induced voltage of phase A when lightning hits sag location.
Fig. 15. Induced voltage in line conductor (A) when striking top of tower
1 and with back flashover.

Induced Voltage across Insulators at different towers


Ec1

5.0k

Ec2

Ec3

Ec4

4.0k
Insulator V (kV)

3.0k
2.0k
1.0k
0.0
-1.0k
-2.0k
Sec

0.000

0.010m

0.020m

0.030m

.
.
.

.
.
.

0.040m

Fig. 13. Induced voltage across insulator when lightning hits sag location.

-ak of 2 MV and maximum value of 4.5 MV compared to


results obtained in Fig. 11.
B. Striking without surge arrester and with flashover
1) Lightning at top of tower 1
If the induced voltage across the insulator due to the
striking on the top of tower 1 is more than the volt-time
characteristic of flashover voltage then the back flashover
will occur as clarified in Fig. 14.
Fig. 14 shows that there are back flashover occurred due
to the induced voltage at top of towers 1 and 2 and
flashover occurred at tower 3 due to the increasing of
induced voltage in line conductors due to back flashover.
Cascaded flashover is happening where the back flashover
can result to increase the induced voltage of phase lines
which cause flashover across the insulator.
Fig. 15 shows the induced voltage in line conductor (A)

at different towers when the lightning current strikes the


top of tower 1.
2) Lightning stroke at mid-span between towers 1 and
2
If the lightning current strikes the mid-span (maximum
sag location) between towers 1 and 2 then it cause
cascaded back flashover and flashovers as shown in Fig.
16. It is clear that back flashover happened many times at
all towers. Back flashover occurs due to the induced
voltage at top of towers while flashover occurs due to the
increase in induced voltages at phase lines.
In addition, Fig. 17 shows the induced voltages at line
conductor (A) at different towers when lightning strikes

Insulator V (kV)

Induced Voltage across Insulators at different towers

Sec

4.0k
3.5k
3.0k
2.5k
2.0k
1.5k
1.0k
0.5k
0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k
-1.5k
-2.0k
-2.5k
-3.0k
-3.5k
-4.0k

Ec1

0.000

Ec2

Ec3

0.002m

0.004m

Ec4

flashover

0.006m

0.008m

flashover

0.010m .
.
.

Fig. 16. Back flashover and flashover across insulator of towers when
striking the sag location.
Induced Voltage of phase A at different towers

Sec

4.0k
3.5k
3.0k
2.5k
2.0k
1.5k
1.0k
0.5k
0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k
-1.5k
-2.0k
-2.5k
-3.0k
-3.5k
-4.0k
0.000

Ec1

Ec2

Ec3

Ec4

3.0k

flashover

flashover

Ea1

Ea2

Ea3

Ea4

2.5k
2.0k
1.5k
1.0k
ph Va (kV)

Insulator V (kV)

Induced Voltage across Insulators at different towers

0.5k
0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k
-1.5k

0.002m

0.004m

0.006m

0.008m

0.010m

Fig. 14. Back flashover when crossing between induced voltage across
insulator of towers 1, 2 and 4 with volt-time of flashover voltage.

.
.
.

-2.0k
Sec

0.000

0.005m

0.010m

0.015m

0.020m

0.025m

Fig. 17. Induced voltage in line conductor (A) with flashover when stroke
hits sag location.

.
.
.

sag location and resulted to back flashover occurrences. It


is obvious that the average peak of induced voltage is
almost 1.5 MV and the maximum peak is almost 3 MV.

Induced Voltage across Insulators at different towers

I nsu la t o r V (kV )

C. Striking with surge arrester and flashover


In this section, the surges arresters are placed at
suggested substations 1 and 2 where the towers 1 and 4 are
terminated. The lightning performance is simulated and
studied after installing of surge arresters in the system.
1) Lightning at top of tower 1
Fig. 18 shows that there are back flashover at tower 1
only occurred due to the lightning striking at top of tower
1, so the back flashover is not affected by surge arrester
insertion but the flashover is affected by the surge
arresters. Fig. 19 shows the induced voltage in line
conductor (A) at different towers when the lightning
current strikes the top of tower 1, existing surges arrester
has a significant effect on reducing transient overvoltages.
2) Lightning stroke at mid-span between towers 1
and 2
In this section, when the lightning current strikes the
mid-span (sag location) between towers 1 and 2 with the
existence of surge arresters at substations 1 and 2, the
results shown in Fig. 20 clarifies that there are back
flashovers occurred across insulators of towers 1, 2 and 3.

Sec

Insulator V (kV)
Sec

Ec1

Ec2

Ec3

Ec4

flashover

Ec2

Ec3

0.002m

0.004m

Ec4

flashover

0.006m

0.008m

flashover

0.010m .
.
.

Fig. 21 shows the induced voltage at line conductor (A)


at different towers when the lightning strikes the mid-span
between towers 1 and 2 with insertion of surge arresters.
By comparing Fig. 21 and Fig. 17, it is clear that the
induced phase voltage at towers 1 and 2 are reduced by
connecting the surge arrester but the induced voltages in
phase lines at the towers 2 and 3 location didnt reduced
which cause flashover across insulators.
The induced voltages across insulators or induced
voltages in phase lines of simulated lightning stroke hitting
the mid-span between towers (sag location) clarify the
necessity of studying sag effects in mountainous areas.
The sag effects can be reduced using surge arresters
located in the suitable areas either on towers or in the midspan of transmission system.

flashover

Induced Voltage of phase A at different towers

0.002m

0.004m

0.006m

0.008m

0.010m .
.
.

Ea3

Ea3

Ea4

2.5k

1.5k
ph Va (kV)

Ea2

Ea2

2.0k

Induced Voltage of phase A at different towers


Ea1

Ea1

3.0k

Fig. 18. Induced voltage across insulators at different towers with


existing of surge arresters at buses 1 and 2.

Ea4

1.0k
0.5k
0.0

2.5k

-0.5k

2.0k

-1.0k

1.5k

-1.5k

1.0k
ph Va (kV)

0.000

3.5k

0.000

3.0k

Ec1

Fig. 20. Induced voltage across insulators at different towers when


lightning strikes sag location with existing of surge arresters at buses 1
and 2.

Induced Voltage across Insulators at different towers


4.0k
3.5k
3.0k
2.5k
2.0k
1.5k
1.0k
0.5k
0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k
-1.5k
-2.0k
-2.5k
-3.0k
-3.5k
-4.0k

4.0k
3.5k
3.0k
2.5k
2.0k
1.5k
1.0k
0.5k
0.0
-0.5k
-1.0k
-1.5k
-2.0k
-2.5k
-3.0k
-3.5k
-4.0k

-2.0k

0.5k

Sec

0.000

0.005m

0.010m

0.015m

0.020m

0.025m

0.0
-0.5k

Fig. 21. Induced voltage in line conductor (A) when striking sag location
and with surge arrester at buses 1 and 2.

-1.0k
-1.5k
-2.0k
Sec

0.000

0.005m

0.010m

0.015m

0.020m

0.025m

Fig. 19. Induced voltage in line conductor (A) when striking top of tower
1 and with surge arrester at buses 1 and 2.

.
.
.

IV. CONCLUSION
Many parameters that affect the lightning performance
such as peak current, front time, tail time, footing
resistance had been studied by other researchers.

.
.
.

Mountainous areas, where the lightning spread and the


resistivity of rock soil is high, are the concerned areas in
this study.
In this paper the effect of lightning striking the sag
locations of 500 kV transmission line is simulated without
and with using substation surge arresters.
In case of striking top of towers; the results revealed
that installation of surge arresters on substations is
significantly reduced the induced voltage across insulators
as well as in line conductors.
On the other hand, in case of striking sag locations; the
results proved that the sag of transmission line has obvious
effects on lightning performance and transient overvoltage.
In addition, the installation of surge arresters on
substations didnt succeed to mitigate the back flashover
and the transient overvoltage that can damage the
insulators and cause protection failure. Therefore, further
study is recommended in order to eliminate the back
flashover occurrence due to lightning strokes in sag
regions of overhead transmission lines.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to thank Prof. S. Al-ghuwainem
for his kind support of this work.
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