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Copyright [2007] IEEE. Reprinted from IEEE Power Engineering Society General Meeting, 2007, Paper No.

1-4244-1298-6/07
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COORDINATION OF GENERATOR
PROTECTION WITH GENERATOR
EXCITATION CONTROL AND
GENERATOR CAPABILITY
Working Group J-5 of the Rotating Machinery Subcommittee,
Power System Relay Committee
Chairperson: Charles J. Mozina

Vice Chairperson: Michael Reichard

Members: Z. Bukhala S. Conrad, T. Crawley, J. Gardell, R. Hamilton, I. Hasenwinkle, D. Herbst, L.


Henriksen, G. Johnson, P. Kerrigan, S. Khan, G. Kobet, P. Kumar, S. Patel, B. Nelson, D. Sevcik, M.
Thompson, J. Uchiyama, S. Usman, P. Waudby, M. Yalla

The need to improve coordination between generator


protection and control has come to light after recent
misoperation of generator protection during major system
disturbances. Two significant disturbances are the 1996
western area disturbances and 2003 east coast blackout.

Abstract-- This paper was written by a Working Group of the


IEEE Power System Relay Committee to provide guidance to the
industry to better coordinate generator protection with generator
control. The paper discusses specific calculation methods that can
be used to insure generator protection and excitation system
control are fully coordinated. It also specifically addresses the
coordination of relays with generator full load capability and
machine steady state stability limits. Because of recent blackouts,
NERC (North American Electric Reliability Council) is
developing standards [1-3] for the coordination of generator
protection and control. This paper provides practical guidance on
providing this coordination.

Because of these disturbances, NERC (North American


Electric Reliability Council) is asking users to verify
coordination of generator protection and control [1-3]. This
paper provides practical guidance for providing this
coordination in the following specific protection areas:
Generator Capability Curve Coordination
Underexcited setting coordination with generator loss-offield (40) protection
Overexcited setting coordination with generator
impedance (21) backup protection
AVR Coordination - Underexcited Operation
Coordination of the Under Excitation Limiter (UEL) with
loss-of-field protection and Steady State Stability Limits
AVR Coordination Overexcitation Operation
Coordination of AVR V/Hz limiter with overexcitation
(V/Hz) protection

Index Terms-- Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR), NERC


(North American Electric Reliability Council), Over Excitation
Limiter (OEL), Under Excitation Limiter (UEL), Steady State
Stability Limit (SSSL), MW-Mvar (P-Q) Diagram, ResistanceReactance (R-X) Diagram

I. INTRODUCTION
The need to coordinate generator protection with generator
control and load capability has been well known to generator
protection engineers. The techniques, method and practices to
provide this coordination are well established but scattered in
various textbooks, papers and in relay manufacturers
literature. In many cases these techniques, methods and
practices are not well known to the practicing generator
protection engineers. The purpose of this paper is to provide a
single document that can be used to address coordination of
generator protection with generator control. The paper uses
example calculations as its means of communicating these
methods. This paper also discusses steady state stability and its
impact on setting generator protection.

II. GENERAL DISCUSSION OF GENERATOR


CAPABILITY AND EXCITATION CONTROL
A. Excitation Control Basics
The excitation system of a generator provides the energy for
the magnetic field (satisfying magnetizing reactance) that
keeps the generator in synchronism with the power system. In
addition to maintaining the synchronism of the generator, the
excitation system also affects the amount of reactive power
that the generator may absorb or produce. Increasing the
1

s = Voltage Angle at System

excitation current will increase the reactive power output.


Decreasing the excitation will have the opposite effect, and in
extreme cases, may result in loss of synchronism of the
generator with the power system. If the generator is operating
isolated from the power system, and there are no other reactive
power sources controlling terminal voltage, increasing the
level of excitation current will increase the generator terminal
voltage and vice versa.

Pmax = Eg Es
X
Max. Power
Transfer

Max.
Power
Transfer

All Lines
All lines in
service
in Service
Line
Line 11
tripped
Tripped

The most commonly used voltage control mode for


generators of significant size that are connected to a power
system is the AVR (Automatic Voltage Regulator) mode. In
this mode the excitation system helps to maintain power
system voltage within acceptable limits by supplying or
absorbing reactive power as required. In disturbances where
short circuits depress the system voltage, electrical power
cannot fully be delivered to the transmission system. Fast
response of the excitation system help to increase the
synchronizing torque to allow the generator to remain in
synchronism with the system. After the short circuit has been
cleared, the resulting oscillations of the generator rotor speed
with respect to the system frequency will cause the terminal
voltage to fluctuate above and below the AVR set point.
Excitation controls are called upon to prevent the AVR from
imposing unacceptable conditions upon the generator. These
controls are the maximum and minimum excitation limiters.
The overexcitation limiter (OEL) prevents the AVR from
trying to supply more excitation current than the excitation
system can supply or the generator field can withstand. The
OEL must limit excitation current before the generator field
overload protection operates. The under excitation limiter
(UEL) prevents the AVR from reducing excitation to such a
low level that the generator is in danger of losing synchronism,
exceeding machine under-excited capability, or tripping due to
exceeding the loss of excitation protection setting. The UEL
must prevent reduction of field current to a level where the
generator loss-of-field protection may operate.

Line 2
Tripped

Pe Pe

Line 2
tripped

0
0

20

40

60

80

100

90og - s
0g - 0s

120

140

160

180

1800

200

Fig. 1 Power Angle Analysis - Steady State Instability

From the power transfer equation above it can be seen that the
maximum power (Pmax) that can be transmitted is when
g-
s
0
0
= 90 i.e. sin 90 = 1. When the voltage phase angle between
0
local and remote generation increases beyond 90 the power
that can be transmitted is reduced and the system becomes
unstable and usually splits apart into islands. If enough lines
are tripped between the load center and remote generation
supplying the load center the reactance (X) between these two
sources increases to a point where the maximum power
(Pmax), which can be transferred, is insufficient to maintain
synchronism. The power angle curve in Fig. 1 illustrates this
reduction as line 1 trips the height of the power angle curve
and maximum power transfer is reduced because the reactance
(X) has increased. When line 2 trips the height of the power
angle curve is reduced further to the point where the power
being transferred cannot be maintained and the unit goes
unstable. During unstable conditions generators may slip poles
and lose synchronism. Voltage collapse and steady state
instability can occur together as transmission lines tripping
increase the reactance between the load center and remote
generation. A graphical method can be used to estimate the
steady state stability limit for a specific generator. This method
is discussed in Section IV of this paper.

B. Generator Steady State Stability Basics


Steady state instability occurs when there are too few
transmission lines to transport power from the generating
source to the load center. Loss of transmission lines into the
load center can result in steady state instability. Fig.1
illustrates how steady state instability occurs for a simplified
system with no losses. The ability to transfer real (MW) power
is described by the power transfer equation below and is
plotted graphically in Fig. 1.

C. Generator Watt/var Capability


A typical cylindrical rotor generator capability curve is
shown in Fig. 2. The capability curve establishes the steady
state (continuous) generator operating limits. The generator
capability curve is normally published at generator rated
voltage. Salient pole generators have a slightly different
characteristic in the underexcited region. The curve also shows
how the AVR control limits steady state operation to within
generator capabilities. The generator capability (Fig.2) is a
composite of three different curves: the stator winding limit,
the rotor heating limit and the stator end iron limit. The stator

Pe = Eg Es Sin ( g- s )
X
Where: Eg = Voltage at Generation
Es = Voltage at System
Pe = Electrical Real Power Transfer
X = Steady State Reactance Between Generator and
System
g = Voltage Angle at Generation
2

winding limit is a long-term condition relative to the generator


winding current carrying capability.
Reactive Power
into System
+
Mvar

Rotor
Winding
Limited

Mvar

Overexcited

Underexcited
Mvar

+ MW

Real Power
into System

Under
Excitation
Limiter
(UEL)

Steady State
Reactive Power Stator End Stability Limit
Iron Limited
into Generator

System
Normal Overexcited
Operation

Stator
Winding
Limited

Overexcitation
Limiter (OEL )

MW

voltage bus minimum and maximum voltage during peak and


light load conditions. The high and low voltage limits for the
auxiliary bus, generator terminal and system buses are
interrelated by the tap position selected for the generator step
up transformer and the unit auxiliary transformer.
Consequently, as power system operating change, it is
necessary to check tap setting to ascertain that adequate
reactive power is available to meet power system need under
emergency conditions.
D. P-Q to R-X Conversion
Both Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the capability of a generator on
a MW-Mvar (P-Q) diagram. This information is commonly
available from all generator manufactures. Protection functions
for the generator, such as loss-of-field (40) and system backup
distance (21) relaying measure impedance, thus these relay
characteristics are typically displayed on a ResistanceReactance (R-X) diagram. To coordinate the generator
capability with these impedance relays, it is necessary to either
convert the capability curve and excitation limiters (UEL and
OEL) to an R-X plot or to convert impedance relay settings to
a MW-Mvar plot. Figure 3 illustrates this conversion [4]. The
CT and VT ratios (Rc/Rv) convert primary ohms to secondary
quantities that are set within the relay and kV is the rated
voltage of the generator.

Underexcited
Operation
MW
G

System

Mvar

Fig 2. Typical Generator Capability Curve and Operating Limits


for a cylindrical rotor generator

The rotor winding limit is relative to the rotors current


carrying capability. It is also associated with longer time
conditions. The stator end iron limit is a relatively short time
condition, caused by a reduction in the field current to the
point where a significant portion of the excitation is being
supplied from the system to the generator. Significant
underexcitation of the generator causes the rotor retaining ring
to become saturated. The eddy currents produced by the flux
cause localized heating. Hydrogen cooled generators have
multiple capability curves to reflect the effect of operating at
different H2 pressures.
The generator excitation control limiters are intended to limit
operation of the generator to within its continuous capabilities.
Fig 2 illustrates how these limiter setpoints can be plotted on a
typical generator capability curve. Generally, the setting of the
UEL control will also coordinated with the steady-state
stability limit of the generator which is a function of the
generator impedance, system impedance and generator
terminal voltage. This section of the paper discusses steady
state stator stability in general terms. The next sections of this
paper will outline a conservative graphical method for
estimating the steady state stability limit for a generator as well
as a specific example.

MVA = kV2
Z

( Rc )
Rv

The overexcitation control (OEL) limits generator operating in


the overexcited region to within the generator capabilities
curve. Some users set the OEL just over the machine
capability curve to allow full machine capability and to
account for equipment tolerances, while others set it just under
the capability curve as shown in Fig 2.
Engineers should be aware that more restrictive limits of
generator capability could be imposed by the power plant
auxiliary bus voltage limits (typically +/- 5%), the generator
terminal voltage limits (+/-5%), and the system generator high

Fig. 3

Transformation from MW- Mvar to R-X and


R-X to MW-Mvar Plot

S y s te m Im p e d a n c e s :
M in .= s tr o n g e s t lin e o u t o f s e rv ic e
M a x .= a ll lin e s in s e r v ic e
Z M in S 1 = 0 .0 0 1 0 5 + j0 .0 1 6 4 6 3 p u o n 1 0 0 M V A b a s e

P o w e r S y s te m
Im p e d a n c e o f th e lo n g e s t tra n s m is s io n lin e
Z L L 1 = 0 .0 1 0 9 5 + j0 .1 1 5 4 6 p u o n 1 0 0 M V A b a s e

Z m a x s 1 = 0 .0 0 0 5 1 1 + j0 .0 1 0 0 3 3 p u o n 1 0 0 M V A b a s e
145kV
19 kV

Im p e d a n c e o f s h o r te s t tr a n s m is s io n lin e
Z S L 1 = 0 .0 0 5 4 6 + j0 .0 5 7 7 3 p u o n 1 0 0 M V A b a s e

U n it T r a n s fo r m e r

X T = 0 .1 1 1 1 p u o n 4 2 5 M V A b a s e

2 0 ,0 0 0 V
120V

VT

A u x . T ra n s fo rm e r

CT

492 M V A B ase
X d = 1 .1 8 8 8 p u
X ' d = 0 .2 0 5 7 7 p u
X " d = 0 .1 7 8 4 7 p u
X 2 = 0 .1 7 6 7 6 p u

1 8 0 0 0 /5 A

1 8 0 0 0 /5 A

CT

1 .2 5 O h m s

14400
2 4 0 /1 2 0 V

Fig.4 One line diagram with generator and power system data for example generator

III. BASIC MACHINE AND SYSTEM DATA FOR


EXAMPLE CALCULATION

400

A 492 Mva, 20kV direct cooled cylindrical rotor steam


turbine rated at 14202A, 0.77PF has been selected as the
sample generator to demonstrate the calculation methods
to provide coordination of generator AVR control, machine
capability and steady state stability limit with relay
protection. Fig. 4 shows the basic one line diagram as well
as machine and system impedance data that are required for
the example calculations. The unit transformer in this
example is 425MVA, Y-grounded/delta whose tap are set at
145/19kV. Fig 5 shows the generator capability curve for
the example machine. Key symbols used in calculation are
defined in Appendix I.

300

Mvar
60 PSIG
45 PSIG

200

0.77 LAG

492 MVA 20 kV
3600 RPM 0.77 PF
Hydrogen - Water
Cooled

0 .90 LAG

100

O. 98 LAG

0
100

200

300

400

500

MW
100

0.95 LEAD

IV. AVR COORDINATION- UNDEREXCITED


OPERATION
200

Excitation systems seldom operate at the extremes of


their capabilities until the system voltage attempts to rise or
fall outside its normal operating range. During voltage
transients, excitation controls allow short-term operation of
the excitation system and generator beyond the rated steady
state limits. The excitation system controls and protective
relays must coordinate with regard to both pickup
magnitudes as well as time delays.

300

Fig 5 Generator Capability Curve for Example Generator

relay (see Section V) plus the characteristics of the under


excitation limiter itself. These characteristics vary with each
generator and system configuration. The automatic voltage
regulator uses the generator terminal voltage and phase
current to calculate the existing operating conditions. By
comparing the actual point of operation to the desired limit,

The setting of the under excitation limiter takes into


consideration the generator capability curve and the setting
of the loss-of-field
4

the regulator determines when it is appropriate to adjust the


generator field current in order to remain within the desired
operating conditions. Alternatively, discrete relays have
also been applied to motor operated rheostat excitation
systems. These relays operate similarly to the above
automatic regulator function, measuring generator voltage
and current to determine the actual operating condition, and
then initiating a control signal when the limit setting is
exceeded. It should be noted that the limit settings can
change with voltage. Some limiters change as the square of
the voltage (90% voltage results in 81% of the setting),
while others are proportional with the voltage (90% voltage
results in 90% of the setting). Still other limiters may not
change with voltage at all. To assure proper operation for
all conditions, the specific voltage variation characteristic
should be identified when setting the limiter. Manual
regulators do not have under excitation limiters as an active
component. The process for establishing the
underexcitation limit and checking the coordination is as
follows:

A. Steady State Stability Limit (SSSL) - Graphical Method


The steady state stability limit (See Section II) reflects the
ability of the generator to adjust for gradual load changes.
The steady state stability limit is a function of the generator
voltage and the impedances of the generator, step-up
transformer and system. This method assumes field
excitation remains constant (no AVR) and is conservative.
NERC explicitly requires that generators operate under
AVR control, which improves the stability limit. When
making the calculations, all impedances should be
converted to the same MVA base, usually the generator
base. The steady state stability limit is a circle defined by
the equations shown in Fig. 6 below [4]:
Generator

GSU

System
Reactance

G
Xd

1. Obtain the generator capability curve.

XT

2. Obtain the step-up transformer impedance (X T),


generator synchronous (Xd) and transient reactance
(Xd).

XS
Where
Xe=XT + XS

Per Unit
Mvar

3. Determine the equivalent system impedance typically


with the strongest source out-of-service.
V2
2

4. Calculate the steady state stability limit and plot on the


generator capability curve.
5. Calculate the loss-of-field relay setting and plot on the
generator capability curve. This setting should be
adjusted, depending upon the steady state stability
curve and the generator capability curve (see Section
V).

1
Xe

V2
2

1
Xd

1_ + 1
Xe
Xd

Per Unit MW

MW - Mvar PER UNIT PLOT

6. Determine the most limiting condition(s), considering


the generator capability curve, the steady state stability
curve and the loss-of-field relay characteristic.

X
Xe

7. Determine the under excitation limiter setting.


Xd - Xe
2

8. Verify that the impedance loci do not swing into the


relay impedance characteristic, causing a false trip for
a stable system transient. This generally requires
transient stability studies.

R
Xd + Xe
2

9. Determine the time delay, based upon the excitation


system time constants and the characteristics of the
system swings. Verify the coordination between the under
excitation limiter setting and the loss-of-field relay
settings.

R-X DIAGRAM PLOT

Fig. 6 Graphical Method for Steady State Stability

Where Xd = generator synchronous reactance


Xs = equivalent system reactance
Xe = the sum system and step-up transformer
reactance (Xs +XT )
V = generator terminal voltage

19 2
X min SG 2 * 0.07338 0.06621 pu
20
4. To calculate the steady state stability limit on a P-Q
diagram use the equations in Fig 6. Xe=XTG + Xmin SG1 =
0.11607pu+0.06621pu =0.18238 pu. The generator
synchronous impedance, Xd, is 1.18878 pu (see Fig.4).

The graphical method shown in Fig. 6 is widely used in


the industry to display the steady state stability limit on PQ and R-X diagrams. The generator cannot be operated
beyond the steady state stability limit. It should be noted
that the weaker the transmission system, the smaller the
circle radius. Often times, the system reactance model will
consist of the normal system without the single strongest
line from the external system. This provides a setting still
valid for any line out of- service. In most cases, the steady
state stability limit is outside the generator capability
curve, and does not restrict generator operation.

Center = V2 1 - 1
2 Xe Xd

= 1
2

1
- 1
0.1824 1.18878

= 2.31pu of 492 MVA or 1142 MVA


Radius = V2 1 + 1
2 Xe Xd

= 1
2

1 +
1
0.1824 1.18878

= 3.162pu of 492 MVA or 1556 MVA

B. Steady State Stability Limit (SSSL) Calculation


Example and UEL Setting.

Using the equations for the center and the radius in Fig. 6.
the center is at 1142 on the positive Mvar axis, and the
radius is 1556MVA. The intercept point on the negative
Mvar axis is at 414Mvar (1556-1142). The P-Q plot is
shown below in Fig. 7. Fig. 7 also shows the UEL and
generator capability (GCC) on the P-Q plot.

1. Generator and system data are shown in Fig. 4 and the


generator capability curve in Fig. 5.
2. The step-up transformer reactance is given as 0.1111 pu
on a 425 MVA base. The generator synchronous reactance
is 1.18878 pu on a 492 MVA base. The generator transient
reactance is 0.20577 pu. The transformer impedance on the
generator base is 0.11607 pu as calculated below:
2
MVAG kVTlow
X TG
*
* XT
MVAT
kVS2

492 19 2
X TG
*
* 0.111 0.11607
425 20 2
3. The system impedance (with the strongest source out of
service) is XminS1 = j0.016463 pu on a 100 MVA base. The
system voltage base is 138kV, which is different than the
transformers 145kV high side tap. Therefore to account for
the difference in the voltages, the impedance has to be
adjusted as the square of the voltages (1382/1452) as shown
below:

MVAG kV S2
X min ST 1
* 2 * X minS 1
MVAS kVThigh

492 1382
X min ST 1
*
* 0.016463 0.07338 pu
100 1452

Fig.7 Generator Capability (GCC), Underexcitation Limiter (UEL) and


Steady State Stability Limit (SSSL) for Example Generator P-Q Plot

The impedance then must be converted from the


transformer voltage base to the generator voltage base.

X min SG

5. From Fig. 2, generally the stator end iron limit on the


generator capability curve is the most limiting condition,
compared to the steady state stability limit or the loss-offield relay characteristic.

2
kVTlow

* X min ST 1
kV G2

6. The under excitation limiter (UEL) should be set to


operate prior to reaching the stator end iron limit.
Assuming that the plant operates between H2 pressures
of 45psig and 60psig, use a margin of 10% of the
leading Mvar limit (machine end turn limit or steady
state stability limit, whichever is most limiting) at
various MW points. The example limiter has three set
points, one on the negative var axis, one on the positive
Watt axis, and one defined with both a Watt and var
point. All points are expressed as per unit on the
generator MVA base. They should be selected to allow
the greatest range of generator operation as possible.
The points (vars pu, Watts pu) will be (0.45, 0), (0.27,
0.81) and (0, 1.12). They are plotted on Fig. 7 in Mvar
and Mw values using the 492 MVA base.

relay approach is widely used within the industry to provide


high-speed detection. There are two basic designs of this
type of protection.
The first method (Scheme 1 Fig.8) consists of two
offset Mho units. An impedance circle diameter equal to the
generator synchronous reactance and offset downward by
of the generator transient reactance is used for the Zone 2
distance element. The operation of this element is delayed
approximately 30-45 cycles to prevent misoperation during
a stable transient swing. A second relay zone, set at an
impedance diameter of 1.0 per unit (on the generator base),
with the same offset of of the generator transient
reactance is used also. This Zone 1 element has a few
cycles of delay and more quickly detects severe
underexcitation conditions. When synchronous reactance is
less than or equal to 1.0 per unit (e.g. hydro generators)
only the Zone 2 is used and is set with the diameter equal to
1.0 per unit.

7. The under excitation limiter time delay should be


minimal. Some limiters do not have an intentional
delay, but utilize a damping setting or circuit to
stabilize the limiter output. In addition, there may be a
setting to proportionally increase the limiter output,
dependant upon the severity of the underexcitation
condition (increased output for a more severe
condition). The limiter manufacturer should be
consulted for these parameters.

The second relaying method (Scheme 2 Fig.10) consists


of an undervoltage unit, an impedance unit and a directional
unit. In this case the generator synchronous and transient
reactances are used to determine the settings. As with the
first scheme, two elements are used, one without significant
delay (typically 0.25 second for the most severe condition)
and the other delayed to prevent misoperation. For both
schemes the relay settings are based on ct and vt secondary
quantities, thus the impedances need to be calculated on the
ct and vt secondary basis.

V. GENERATOR LOSS OF FIELD COORDINATION


To limit system voltage the generators may have to
operate underexcited and absorb Vars from the power
system. It is important that the generator be able to do so
within its capabilities as defined by the generator capability
curve. The generator under excitation limiter (UEL) must
be set to maintain operation within the capability curve as
show in Fig. 2. The loss of field relay must be set to allow
the generator to operate within its underexcited capability.

A. Loss of Field Calculation Example


Scheme1: In this example, two mho characteristics are
used. Standard settings for this two zone loss-of-field
scheme are shown below in Fig.8.

Partial or total loss of field on a synchronous generator is


detrimental to both the generator and the power system to
which it is connected. The condition must be quickly
detected and the generator isolated from the system to avoid
generator damage. A loss of field condition, which is not
detected, can have a devastating impact on the power
system by causing both a loss of reactive power support as
well as creating a substantial reactive power drain. This
reactive drain, when the field is lost on a large generator,
can cause a substantial system voltage dip.
When the generator loses its field, it operates as an
induction generator, causing the rotor temperature to
rapidly increase due to the slip induced eddy currents in the
rotor iron. The high reactive current drawn by the generator
from the power system can overload the stator windings.
These hazards are in addition to the previously mentioned
stator end-iron damage limit.

-R

Heavy Load

- Xd
2

Light Load
+R

1.0 pu

Zone 1

Xd
Zone 2

-X

Fig. 8 Loss-of-Field R-X Diagram -- Scheme 1

The most widely applied method for detecting a generator


loss of field condition on major generators is the use of
distance relays to sense the variation of impedance as
viewed from the generator terminals. A two-zone distance
7

Impedance Locus
During Loss of Field

The zone 2 element is set at a diameter of Xd or 1.18878


pu and the Zone1 diameter would be set at 1.0 pu on the
generator base. Both units are offset by Xd/2.The
generator data is shown in Fig.4.The formula to convert the
generator impedances (which are in pu) to relay secondary
ohm is shown below:

5. 0

R
0. 0
-20. 0

kV 2 * X PU RC
X sec
*
MVA
RV

-15. 0

-10. 0

-5. 0

0. 0

5. 0

10. 0

15. 0

20. 0

25. 0

30. 0

-5. 0

Where:

Xsec = Relay Secondary Ohms


kV = Generator Rated Voltage
Xpu = pu Reactance
MVA = Generator Rated MVA
Rc = CT ratio
Rv = VT ratio
Zone 1
Diameter of the circle is set at 1.0 pu or 17.56
Offset of the circle

jX

10. 0

-10. 0

SSSL

GCC

UE L

-15. 0
ZONE 1

-20. 0

ZONE 2
-25. 0

UEL

'

X d /2 is 0.20577/2 pu or -1.8067

GCC

-30. 0

Time delay: A short time delay of approximately 3 to 5


cycles is suggested to prevent misoperation during
switching transients.

ZONE2
-35. 0

ZONE1
SSSL

-40. 0

Zone-2
Diameter of the mho circle is set at

X d = 1.1888 pu or

Fig 9 Loss-of- Field, Scheme 1, R-X Plot

20.88 .Offset of the mho circle is set the same as for


Zone 1 or -1.8067

Scheme2: This scheme also uses both Zone 1 and Zone 2


elements. Standard settings for this two zone loss-of-field
scheme are shown below in Fig.10:

Time delay: A minimum time delay of 30 to 45 cycles is


typically used to prevent relay misoperation during stable
power swing conditions. In cases where only one mho
element is used, the methodology for Zone 2 above is
typically employed.

+X
Heavy Load Light Load
-R

Fig. 9 shows the loss of field relay characteristics along


with generator capability curve (GCC), the under excitation
limiter (UEL), and the steady state stability limit (SSSL)
plotted on the R-X plane. The GCC, UEL curves are
converted from P-Q plane to R-X plane using the
calculation method described in Fig.3.

XTG +Xmin SG1


- Xd
2

Zone 2

Zone 1
1.1Xd

Directional +R
Element

Impedance Locus
During Loss of Field

-X
Fig. 10 Loss -of-Field R-X Diagram -- Scheme 2

Scheme 2 uses a combination of two impedance elements, a


directional unit and an undervoltage unit applied at the
generator terminals. The Zone 2 element is set to coordinate
with the Steady State Stability Limit. The top of the Zone 2
circle (positive offset) is set at the system impedance in
front of the generator. Typically, this will be the generator
8

transformer reactance XTG + XminSG1 . XminSG1 is the weak


source (with the strongest line out of service) system
impedance on the generator base. The transformer and
system impedance must be put on the same base as the
generator. The negative reach is set to at least 110% of Xd
to encompass the SSSL with margin. The negative reach of
Zone 1 element is then set to match. The negative offset of
Zone 1 element is set to Xd/2 to establish the top of the
circle.

Zone 2 Delay: Set the Zone 2 delay long enough that


corrective action may take place to restore excitation before
the unit goes unstable. Settings of 1 second to 1 minute are
appropriate. Since two zones are used, the delay will be set
to 10 sec.
Phase Undervoltage Element: An under-excitation
condition accompanied by low system voltage caused by
the system's inability to supply sufficient Vars will cause
the unit to go unstable more quickly. For this condition, an
undervoltage unit is used to bypass the Zone 2 time delay
for low system voltage. The drop out of the undervoltage
unit is typically set at 0.8 pu which will cause accelerated
Zone 2 tripping with a time delay of 0.25 sec.

Since the Zone 2 element has a positive offset it is


supervised by a directional element (DE) to prevent pickup
for system or unit transformer faults. The directional
element is typically set at an angle of between 10 and 20
degrees. This unit is usually set at 13 o. The Zone 2 time
delay is typically set at 10 sec. to 1 minute. A loss of field
condition is generally accompanied by low generator
terminal voltage. For this condition an undervoltage relay is
used to reduce the Zone 2 time delay. The drop out of the
undervoltage unit is typically set at 0.80-0.87 pu which will
cause accelerated Zone 2 tripping with a time to 0.3-0.2
sec. Transient stability studies can be used to refine the
voltage supervision and time delay settings.

Zone-1
Zone 1 Diameter: Set to same negative reach as Zone 2 of
Xd/2.
Diameter of the circle in pu:

X'
Z1Diameter 1.25 * X d d
2
0.20577
Z1Diameter 1.25 *1.1888
2
Z1Diameter 1.3831 or 24.3

Zone-2
Diameter is typically set to 1.1 times

X d plus the weak

system source and step-up transformer impedances .The


110% multiplier on

Zone 1 offset: Set to one half of the generator transient


reactance.

X d provides a margin to pickup

before reaching the steady state stability limit. In this


application, there is a large separation between the SSSL
and the GCC. In order to provide better protection for
under-excited operation of the unit, the margin can be set to
125%, which moves the characteristic to approximately half
way between the SSSL and the GCC curves.

X'
Z1Offset d
2
0.20577
Z1Offset
2
Z 2 Offset 0.102885 or 1.806

Diameter of the circle in pu:

Z 2Diameter 1.25 * X d X TG X minSG


Z 2 Diameter 1.25 * 1.1888 0.1161 0.0662
Z 2 Diameter 1.6683 or 29.3

Fig. 11 shows the loss of field relay characteristic for


Scheme 2 with the generator capability curve (GCC), the
under excitation limiter (UEL) and steady state stability
limit (SSSL).

Zone 2 Offset: Set the Zone 2 offset to the system source


impedance (Reactance) as seen from the terminals of the
unit.

Z 2Offset X TG X min SG
Z 2 Offset 0.1161 0.0662
Z 2 Offset 0.1823 or 3.2
Zone 2 Directional Supervision: Since the Zone 2 element
has a positive offset; it is supervised by a directional
element (DE) to prevent pickup of the element for system
or unit transformer faults. Set the directional element to 13
degrees.
9

10

10.0

DIR ELEMENT

when the generator is subjected to low system voltage.


Note that the impedance is reduced by the square of the
voltage. System voltage under emergency conditions
can reduce to planned levels of 90 to 95 percent of
nominal ratings [5]. Utility transmission planners
should be consulted for worst case emergency voltage
levels at power plants.

jX

5.0

R
0.0
-20.0

-15.0

-10.0

ZONE

ZONE1

-5.0

0.0

5.0

10.0

15.0

20.0

25.0

30.0

-5.0

Distance relays with a mho characteristic and one or two


zones are commonly used for phase fault backup. If only
one zone is used its setting is based on the Zone 2 criteria
outlined below. Setting generator backup protection with
adequate margin over load and stable power swings is an art
as well as a science. The suggested criteria below provide
reasonable settings that can be verified for security using
transient stability computer studies.

-10.0

GC

UEL

-15.0

-20.0

SSSL

-25.0

UEL
GCC

-30.0

ZONE2

The Zone 1 relay element is set to the smaller of two


conditions:

DIR
ZONE1
-35.0

SSSL

1.
2.

-40.0

Fig 11 Loss-of- Field, Scheme 2, R-X Plot

VI. GENERATOR PHASE BACKUP (21)


COORDINATION

A time delay of approximately 0.5 seconds gives the


primary protection (generator differential, transformer
differential and overall differential) enough time to operate
before the generator backup function. Stability studies may
be required to insure that Zone 1 unit does not trip for
stable power swings.

The primary purpose of the phase distance (21) relay is to


protect the generator from supplying prolonged fault
current to fault on the power system to which the generator
is connected. A mho characteristic is commonly used to
detect system phase faults and to separate the generator
after a set time delay. The relays impedance reach and time
delay settings must be coordinated with transmission system
primary and backup protection to allow selectivity.
Typically, the phase distance relays reach begins at the
voltage input to the relay and extends the length of the
longest line out of the transmission substation. Some factors
involving the settings are as follows:
1.

2.

3.

120% of the unit transformer impedance.


Set to respond to faults 80% of the Zone 1 setting of
the shortest transmission line exiting the power plant
(neglecting in-feeds) plus step-up transformer
impedance. Some users apply Zone 1 as a backup to
generator bus work and GSU protection with typical
settings of 50-80% of the GSU impedance.

The Zone 2 relay element is typically set at the smaller of


the three following criteria:
1.
2.

In-feeds: Apparent impedance due to in-feeds will


require larger reaches; however, settings to cover long
lines may overreach adjacent short lines.
Transmission System Protection: If the transmission
lines exiting the power plant have proper primary and
backup protection as well as local breaker failure the
need to set the 21 relay to respond to faults at the end
of the longest lines is mitigated.
Load Impedance: Settings should be checked to
2
ensure the maximum load impedance (Zmax/Load =kV /
MVA at rated power factor angle (RPFA) does not
encroach into the reach. A typical margin of 150-200
% at rated power factor is recommended to avoid
tripping during power swing conditions. Due to recent
blackouts caused by voltage collapse the 21 distance
setting should be checked for proper operating margins

3.

4.

120% of the longest line with in-feeds.


50 to 67% of the generator load impedance (Zload ) at
the rated power factor angle (RPFA) of the generator.
This provides a 150 to 200% margin over generator
full load. This is typically the limiting criteria.
80 to 90 % of generator load impedance at the
maximum torque angle of the Zone 2 impedance relay
setting (typically 850).
Time delay to coordinate with transmission system
backup protection and local breaker failure.

A. Zone 1 Setting Example


Set zone 1 using the smaller of the two criteria:
Criteria 1
120% of the unit transformer (XTG )
Converting XGT to secondary ohms
10

11

X TG sec

IS

kV 2 * X TG RC
G
*
MVAG
RV

ZmaxSG1

20 2 * 0.11607 18,000 5
X TG sec
*
492
20,000 120
X TG sec 2.038

1 P.U.
~

ZLLG1

IG
X'd+XTG

Z1reach 1.20 * 2.038 2.45

Fig. 12 Equivalent Circuit for Apparent Impedance with InFeeds

Criteria 2

ZTotal =

Set at 80% of the Zone 1 setting of the shortest line plus


step-up transformer impedance. The impedance of the
shortest line exiting the power plant is XSL1 = j 0.05773 pu
on a 100MVA base. The zone 1 line setting is 80% of the
line length. First put the impedance on the generator base.

1
1

Z max SG 1 X 'd X TG

ZLLG1 =

0.04566 + j0.50024 pu

2
MVAG kVS2 kVTlow
X SLG
*
*
* X SL 1
2
2
MVAS kVThigh kVG

ITotal =

492 1382 192


X SLG
*
*
* 0.05773
100 1452 20 2
X SLG 0.23219 pu

1
Z Total

= 0.18097 j1.98253 pu

Current Divider Rule:

X ' d X TG
| =
X 'd X TG Z MaxSG1

I G = | I Total x

Z MaxSG1
| =
X ' d X TG Z MaxSG1

IS

Converting the line impedance to secondary relay ohms.

= | I Total

1.76895 pu

kV 2 * X SLG1 RC
X L1 sec G
*
MVAG
RV

0.22207 pu

20 2 * 0.23219 18,000 5
X L1 sec
*
492
20,000 120
X L1sec 4.077

Based on the criteria 1 for the Zone 2 element


setting:

I S I G
Z2 _ LINE = ( X TG + 1.2
I
G

Assuming the zone 1 line setting is 80% of the lines then:

Z1reach X TG sec 0.8 * (0.8 * X L1sec )


Z1reach 2.041 0.8 * (0.8 * 4.077) 4.6095

Z LL1G ) x Z B _ relay =

90.2 85
, maximum torque angle Zone 2 (MTA2) =
85
Criteria 2

Set the zone 1 at the smaller setting of 2.45 at a MTA of


0
85 .

To satisfy criteria 2, the reach of the 21-2 element should


not exceed 50% to 66.7% (200% to 150% of the generator
capability curve) load impedance at rated power factor.
Otherwise the distance element could trip on load or stable
power swings. This calculated is shown below:

B. Zone 2 Setting Example


Criteria 1
The apparent impedance reach ( Z 2 _ LINE ) to the end of
the longest line exiting the plant will require an in-feed
calculation because both the generator and the utility
transmission system will contribute fault current. The
saturated value of transient reactance Xd is used in this
calculation since this is for a time delayed backup element.

Zmax load =

kV G2 CTRatio
= 17.56 39.64(0.77pf)
MVAG VTRatio

The Z2 reach setting at MTA based on Zmax loading based on


Z max load above is:
11

12

Z2 _ MTA = 0.67x

Z max_ load
COS (MTA2 RPFA)

30.0

jX

= 16.685
;

LONGEST LINE (WITH IN FEED), 75.5 OHMS

where RFPA is the rated power factor angle.


25.0

Criteria 3
The reach of the 21-2 element should not exceed 80% to
90% (125% to 111% of the generator capability curve) load
impedance at maximum torque angle. Otherwise the
distance element could limit the generator capability curve.
This can be calculated as:

GCC

GCC

20.0

ZONE2
ZONE1
ZONE2

SYSTEM

15.0

kV G2
CTRatio
ZGCC _ MTA =
= 23.14 85
MVAGCC _ MTA VTRatio

50% to 67% OF GCC @


RPFA

10.0

Z2 _ MTA2 = 0.9 x Z GCC _ MTA = 20.8 85


SHORTEST LINE
(NO INFEED)

Since criteria 2 gives the smallest reach setting, the 21-2


setting should be set at 16.6 at the MTA of 850 to provide
a secure setting. This is much less than the 90.2 reach
required to respond to faults at the end of the longest line.
For this case, upgrading of the backup protection on the
transmission system should be investigated to provide
proper primary and backup protection as well as local
breaker failure. For this case, upgrading of the backup
protection on the transmission system should be
investigated to provide proper primary and backup
protection as well as local breaker failure. In this case the
desired generator remote backup cannot be provided
without compromising loadability. Fig. 13 shows the
distance elements and generator capability curve plotted on
an R-X diagram.

MTA

5.0

RPFA

ZONE1

0.0
-10.0

-5.0

0.0

5.0

10.0

15.0

HIGH SIDE

-5.0

Fig.13 21 Distance Setting Examples Plotted on an R-X Diagram

VII. AVR COORDINATION- OVEREXCITED


OPERATION
Excitation system protection/control as well as protection
external to the excitation system needs to be coordinated so
as not to limit the generator overexcitation capability.
During major system disturbances, the excitation control/
protection must allow the generator to operate within its
short time capabilities.

12

20.0

TRANSFORMER

13

Another important factor that must be incorporated into the


design of the excitation protection/control system is the
need to accommodate field forcing during faults to aid in
maintaining transient stability. This dictates that very high
rotor field current (typically in the range of 140-280% of
rating) must be permitted to flow for a short period of time
without causing the exciter control to reduce field voltage
because of the high field current.

Percent of at R ated F ield Cu rrent

250
0
0

200

C50.13
I*t Trip
I*t Control
Limit

150

Generator Step-up
Transformer

0
0

Generator
Field

100

Gen.

50

CT

VT

51*

AVR
DC CB or
Contactor

Excitation
Transformer

* FUSES USED ON
SMALLER GENERATORS

0
0

20

40

60
80
100
Time In Seconds

120

R
OC

Fig. 14 C50.13 Cylindrical-Rotor Field Short Time Capability [7]


and Typical Limiter Control and Trip Coordination [13]

Static
Exciter

OC = DC OVERCURRENT RELAY

Fig. 15 Typical Transformer Supplied Excitation System

System var support provided by the generator is extremely


important to maintain power system voltage stability. IEEE
C50.13 [7] defines the short-time field thermal capability
for cylindrical-rotor generators. In this standard the short
time thermal capability is given in terms of permissible
field current as a function of time. A plot (curve drawn
from data in C50.13) of this short time capability is shown
in Fig.14.

Field forcing times are typically at least 1 second but may


be as long as 10 seconds for compound or brushless
excitation systems. [13]. Fig. 15 illustrates a typical
transformer supplied static excitation system with the
excitation transformer connected to the generator terminals.
Excitation systems have controls and limiters that are
designed to protect the field from thermal damage due to
prolonged exposure to high current or overexcitation due to
higher than allowable flux (V/Hz) levels. Typically key
protection/control elements within the excitation system
that affect overexcitation generator operation include:

Overexcitation Limiter (OEL) Protects the


generator field circuitry from excessive current
versus time heating. Its setting should be
coordinated with the generator capability in the
overexcitation region as described in Section II of
this paper so that full var capability of the
generator is available. The setting should also
allow the exciter to respond to fault conditions
where field current is boosted (field forcing) to a
high level for a short period of time. In many cases
this coordination is provided by not enabling OEL
control until the field forcing time is exceeded.
The OEL setting should also allow utilization of
the short time field current capability as defined by
C50.13 (Fig. 14 for cylindrical rotor generators).
Typically, the OEL takes over control to limit field
current from the steady state AVR control for
close in faults where the induced field current
remains high or during sustained system low
voltage conditions requiring field current above
rated levels. In new excitation systems the OEL

Present-day exciters fall into two broad categories: those


using AC generators (alternators) as a power source and
those that use transformers. Because the protection
requirements of the excitation system are closely related to
their design, the field protection equipment is normally
provided as part of the excitation system. Data for the
specific generator field capability need to be used in
determining excitation capability and coordination. It is
important that the control as well as any tripping protection
that maybe embedded within the exciter allow the generator
to provide full overexcitation system support during system
voltage transient as well as for steady state conditions. As
discussed in Section II of this paper, the selection of the
step-up transformer tap setting play a key role in
determining whether the generator can provide its full var
support to the system without being limited by the generator
terminal voltage. Generally, in the US generator step-up
transformers are not equipped with LTC load tap changing.
Consequently, as power system operating conditions change
over time, it is necessary to periodically check that
optimum transformer tap settings have been selected [12].
Such checks are typically done by system planning
engineers who determine optimum tap settings from load
flow studies.
13

14

limiter control has the ability to modify its setting


based on either hydrogen pressure (if the generator
is hydrogen cooled) or inlet air temperature
measurements.

V/Hz Limiter Limits the generator V/Hz ratio by


limiting the generator voltage to a programmed
setting. Steady state limit are +/- 5% of rated
generator stator terminal voltage at rated
frequency. The setting should permit short time
excursions during transient conditions. The V/Hz
limiter is a limit function to the AVR setpoint and
is not a variable as is the above described OEL in
Fig.14.

Field Overcurrent Protection DC overcurrent


protection is provided in exciters as show in Fig.
15. Some exciters have a protective inverse time
module that calculates the I*t to provide an inverse
time curve. It needs to be coordinated with the
OEL setting as well as the short time capability of
the field (Fig. 14). It also should allow field
forcing to take place during fault conditions. In
some cases this protection may trip the exciter if
OEL initiated runback is unsuccessful.

excitation systems have begun to provide these protection


functions within the excitation system control.
A. Testing of Excitation Systems
Operating the generator at its maximum excitation level to
ensure that controllers operate to keep the generator within
safe limits before protection operates can be periodically
tested. Such test may be done not only by bring the
generator slowly up to its steady state limit, but also by
bringing it rapidly up to the limit so that coordination for
short time operation above the steady state limit can be
checked. Conducting these tests on a large generator can
result in system voltage problems. These tests must be
carefully coordinated so that system voltage is maintained
within acceptable levels. Reference 13 provides a detail
description of testing the exciter OEL, UEL and V/Hz
limiter.
B. V/Hz (24) Protection
One of the major functions of V/Hz protection is to serve as
a backup in case of the failure of the V/Hz limiter within
the excitation control. V/Hz protection is set based on the
short time capability of the generator and transformers
connected to the generator terminals. The flux in the stator
core of a generator or core of a transformer is directly
proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to
frequency. Overexcitation of a generator or any
transformer connected to the generator terminals will occur
whenever the ratio of voltage to frequency (V/Hz) applied
to the terminals exceeds 1.05 pu (generator base) for a
generator; and 1.05 pu (transformer base) for a transformer
at full load. The transformer no load level is 1.10 pu. For
transformers the point of measurement is the output
terminals. IEEE/ANSI C50.12 and C50.13 [7] provide
voltage ranges for generators. Typically the allowable range
for continuous operation is between 0.95 and 1.05 pu V/Hz.
The manufacturer should be consulted for V/Hz short time
capability of a specific generator. The primary concern
from an excitation standpoint is the possibility of excessive
V/Hz overexciting the generator. When the V/Hz ratios are
exceeded, saturation of the iron core of generators and
transformers will occur resulting in the breakdown of core
inter-lamination insulation due to excessive voltage and
eddy current heating.

Excitation Transformer Protection This protection is


typically provided by either overcurrent relays on larger
generator or fuses on small machines connected on the
primary of the excitation transformer (Fig.15). Typically
the kVA size of the excitation transformer and its protection
is provided as part of the excitation system package. The
time overcurrent protection should be coordinated with the
field short time overload capability and field forcing. The
short time field capability is specified in terms of DC
current as a multiple of field rated current (Fig. 14). The
kW component at various field overload levels can be
2
determined by I Rf where Rf is the field resistance and I is
the field current at various multiples of field rated current.
The AC time overcurrent required providing that KW can
then be determined at the AC voltage rating of the
excitation transformer. Doing so, however, neglects the loss
in the bridge circuitry, which can be significant for high
ceiling static exciter. The power factor that results can be
far from unity with most of the load being vars due to the
fact that the bridge circuit is firing with a more delayed
angle. The resulting short time current on the AC excitation
transformer is a combination of the field current
requirements and losses in the bridge circuitry. The
excitation system manufacture should be able to provide the
relationship of AC current to DC current at various
excitation and over excitation levels.

During system disturbances, overexcitation is caused by


the sudden loss of load due to transmission line tripping
which can island the generator from the power grid with
little load and the shunt capacitance of the unloaded
transmission lines. Under these conditions the V/Hz level
may exceed 1.25 pu where the voltage regulator is slow in
responding. With the AVR control in service, the
overexcitation would generally be reduced to safe limits
(less than 1.05pu) in a few seconds. The limiter will limit
the V/Hz generator output to a set maximum within the
generator capability curve. Even with a V/Hz limiter in the

Relay engineers need to be aware of the control and


tripping protection that resides within the exciter and its
impact on limiting generator overexcitation operation.
Traditionally, tripping for excitation system problems such
at V/Hz (24), overvoltage (59) and loss of field (40) were
done by relays external to the excitation system. This was
done to separate protection and control. New digital
14

15

excitation control, it is common and recommended practice


[6] to provide separate V/Hz relaying to protect the
generator and any transformers connected to the generator
terminals. The setting of these relays is based on the short
time V/Hz capability of the generator as shown in Fig.14.
In modern application where digital relays are used, the
V/Hz protection of the transformer resides in the
transformer protection relay and is set to protect the
transformer. Both generator and transformer protection
must be coordinated with the AVR V/Hz limiter control.
The exciters V/Hz limiting should be set at the upper limit
of the normal operating range and below the continuous
operating limit for the generator and unit connected
transformer. Similarly, a V/Hz relay(s) should be set with
enough delay to allow AVR control action to take place
before tripping the unit. This relay(s) however, must still
protect the generator from damage. This typically is not a
problem because the AVR control can adjust generator
terminal voltage within seconds.

reactance of the transformer. This is typically done at the


full load rating of the transformer at an 80% power factor.
A sample calculation is shown in ANSI/IEEE C37.106
[11]. The values in Table 1 and in Fig.16 have been so
compensated. Many new digital transformer relays have
V/Hz protective functions within the relay package. The
newer practice is to provide the V/Hz step-up transformer
protection within the transformer package, and measures
V/Hz at the step up transformer high voltage terminals.
The setting calculation example uses two relay elements to
provide protection; one inverse time element and a definite
time element. The combined protection curve is also shown
in Fig.16. The type of curve and time dial should be
selected such that the relay characteristic operates before
the generator and transformer capability limits are reached.
Table 1 Overexcitation Capability

Main Transformer Capability


Time (min)
V/Hz (%)
40
106.4
30
106.9

C. Overexcitation Relay Settings


There are two basic types of V/Hz protection scheme used
within the industry. The first and most common is the dual
definite time setpoint method. Typical conservative
protection applications recommend a maximum trip level at
1.18 pu V/Hz with a 2-6 second time delay for the first
setpoint. The second setpoint is set at 1.10 pu V/Hz with a
time delay of 45-60 seconds.
The second method uses an inverse-time characteristic
curve as well as definite time setpoints to better match the
inverse times V/Hz capability of the generator. This scheme
can be precisely applied when a V/Hz vs. time curve for a
specific generator is available. The minimum pickup is
typically 1.10 pu V/Hz. The inverse-time function is set
with a greater time delay than the exciter in order to permit
the exciter to operate to reduce voltage before protection
action takes place.

20
10
6

107.4
108.4
109.3

2
1
0.5
0.3

112.1
114.3
118
123.5

Generator Capability
Time (min)
V/Hz (%)
33
110
25
111
20
111.5
15
112.5
10
113.5
5
115.5
2
118
1
120
0.5
122
0.2
125

D. V/HZ Overexcitation Protection Setting Example


The overexcitation capability limits for the example
generator and the connecting transformer are shown in
Table 1 and in Fig 14. The main transformers V/Hz
capability has already been adjusted in the table by 19/20 =
0.95 multiplying factor to put its V/Hz capability on the
generators voltage base so the generators V/Hz capability
and the transformers V/Hz capability points may be plotted
together.
The overexcitation transformer limits are define in
ANSI/IEEE C57.12 [10] and are measured at the output of
the transformer at a power factor of 80%. The output of the
generator step-up transformer is at the high voltage
terminals of the transformer. If the V/Hz protective relay
that is used to protect the generator step up transformer is
located at the generator terminals the setting must be
compensated for the voltage drop across the leakage
15

16

disturbances is a key goal that requires coordination of


generator protection with generator control. It is the hope
of the Power System Relay Committee Working Group that
authored this paper that it will assist the industry in
reaching this goal.

Transformer
Generator

130

Inverse Time Curve

REFERENCES

Definite Time

125

[1] NERC PRC-001-0 System Protection Coordination,


Adopted by NERC Board of Trustees, Feb 8, 2005.
[2] NERC PRC-024-1 Generator Performance During
Frequency and Voltage Excursions, Pending NERC
Review and Approval.
[3] NERC PRC-019-1 Coordination of Generator Voltage
Controls with Unit Capabilities and Protection, Pending
NERC Review and Approval.
[4] Protective Relaying Theory and Applications edited
by Walter A. Elmore, ABB Power T&D Company Inc.
Coral Springs, FL, 1994.
[5] Final Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout in the
United States and Canada: Causes and
Recommendations, U.S. Canada Power System Outage
Task Force, April 5, 2004.
[6] IEEE Guide for AC Generator Protection, ANSI/IEEE
C37.102-1995.
[7] American National Standard for Cylindrical Rotor
Synchronous Generators, ANSI/IEEE C-50.13-2005.
[8] IEEE Committee Report A Survey of Generator BackUp Protection Practices IEEE Transactions on Power
Delivery, Vol.5 April 1990.
[9] IEEE Committee Report Performance of Generator
Protection During Major System Disturbances IEEE
Transactions on Power Delivery. IEEE Transactions on
Power Delivery, Vol19, Oct. 2004.
[10] IEEE Standard, Test Code for Distribution, Power
and Regulating Transformers, ANSI/IEEE C57.12 Latest
Revision.
[11] IEEE Guide for Abnormal Frequency Protection of
Power Generating Plants, IEEE Standard C37-106-2003
[12] M.M. Abibi, L.H.Fink,Restoration from Cascading
Failures IEEE PES Power & Energy Magazine, Vol.4
Number 5, Sept./Oct. 2006.
[13] A.Murdoch, R.W. Delmerico, S.Venkataraman, R.A.
Lawson, J.E, Curran, W.R. Pearson, Excitation System
Protective Limiters and Their Effect on Volt/var Control
Design, Computer Modeling, and Field Testing IEEE
Transactions on Power Delivery, IEEE Transactions on
Energy Conversion, Volume: 15, Issue: 4, Dec. 2000
Pages: 440 450

Percent age V/Hz

Series5

120
115

Definite Time
Pickup

110
Inverse Time
Pickup

105
100
0.01

0.1

10

100

Operating Time in Minutes

Fig. 16 V/Hz Characteristic Plot

VIII CONCLUSIONS
Recent misoperations of generation protection during
major system disturbances have highlighted the need for
better coordination of generator protection with generator
capability, generator excitation control (AVR) and
transmission system protection. The techniques, methods
and practices to provide this coordination are well
established but scattered in various textbooks, papers and
relay manufactures literature. This paper provides a single
document that can be used by relay engineers to address
these coordination issues.
This paper provides practical guidance on proper
coordination of generator protection and generator AVR
control to enhance security and system stability. The paper
uses example calculations as a means of communicating
these methods. The paper also addresses the coordination
of generator protection with generator full load capability
and machine steady state stability. Setting of protective
relays is an art as well as a science. The calculations shown
in this paper are intended to illustrate typical settings and
factors that must be considered in developing generator
settings. The Working Group recognizes that other
methodologies that affect the same results could also be
used. Keeping generators on-line during major system

APPENDIX I
Definition of key symbols uses in calculations.
Steady State Stability Calculations (Section IV):

X TG = GSU reactance on the generator base.


16

17

X minST 1 = System reactance with the strongest line

Zmax load = Rated load generator impedance in secondary

(line that contributes the most fault current) out of service.


See Fig. 4. Reactance is on the GSU transformer base.
X minSG = System reactance with the strongest line out of

ohms at generator rated power factor.


Z2 _ MTA = Zone 2 21 setting in secondary ohm at 850 to

service on the generator base.

maintain a margin of 150% at rated power factor angle.


Z2 _ MTA2 = Impedance of Generator Capability curve at

Loss of Field Relay Coordination (Section V):

Max. Torque Angle (MTA) of the Zone 2 relay in


secondary ohms with a margin of 90%.

Z1Diameter = Loss of Field (LOF) impedance circle diameter


setting of Zone 1.

Z 2Diameter = LOF impedance circle diameter setting of


Zone 2.

Z1Offset = Offset of Zone 1 LOF impedance setting.


Z 2Offset = Offset of Zone 2 LOF impedance setting.

Generator Phase Backup (21) Coordination (Section VI):


Zone1 Calculation:

X TG sec = GSU reactance in secondary ohms.


Z1reach = Diameter of Zone 1 impedance setting.
X SLG = Line reactance of the shortest line existing the
power plant on generator base.

X L1 sec = Line reactance of the shortest line existing the


power plant in secondary ohms.
Z1reach = Zone 1 21relay setting.
Zone 2 Calculations:

ZTotal = Total short circuit impedance of a fault at the end


of the longest transmission line exiting the power plant.
ZLLG1 = Impedance of longest line exiting the power plant
on the generator base.
ZmaxSG1 = System impedance on generator base all lines in
service.
ITotal = Total fault current for a fault at the end of the
longest line exiting the power plant.

I S = System contribution for a fault at the end of the


longest line existing the power plant.

I G = Generator contribution for a fault at the end of the


longest line existing the power plant.
Z2 _ LINE = Zone 2 relay setting to see the end of the longest
line existing the power plant in secondary ohms with 120%
margin.

Z B _ relay = Generator base ohms


= Rated Gen. Sec. Voltage/Rated Gen Sec. Current
= 69.28V/ 3.95A = 17.56 .

17

GEOTHERMAL TRAINING PROGRAMME


Orkustofnun, Grensasvegur 9,
IS-108 Reykjavik, Iceland

Reports 2010
Number 7

MAIN CONSIDERATIONS IN THE PROTECTION SYSTEM DESIGN


FOR A GEOTHERMAL POWER PLANT
Luis A. Aguirre
LaGeo S.A. de C.V.
15 Avenida Sur, Colonia Utila
Santa Tecla, La Libertad
EL SALVADOR C.A.
aguirrel@lageo.com.sv

ABSTRACT
A proper protection system guarantees reliable and safe operation for a geothermal
power plant. It is one of the most important factors during system engineering
design and must be carefully selected to avoid equipment damage due to failures.
The process design should include the selection of a protection scheme as well as
adequate main and auxiliary equipment and installation considerations. An
adequate process design guarantees the reliable operation of protection systems and
prevents damage to main equipment if an electrical or mechanical fault occurs in a
geothermal power plant. The information and data obtained are based on
documents from Berlin power plant in El Salvador and Hellisheidi power plant in
Iceland.

1. INTRODUCTION
Geothermal energy is one of the most important forms of renewable energy in the world and has
several uses. In El Salvador, the main use for geothermal energy is power generation. There are two
geothermal fields in El Salvador that have operating power plants: Ahuachapn and Berlin. Their
combined installed capacity is 204.4 MW.
Protection systems are one of the most important factors in geothermal power plants and ensure safe
and reliable operation of the plant. Protection systems can be divided into two groups, electrical
protection and mechanical protection. Electrical protection functions are identified by device function
numbers found on each device installed in electrical equipment (IEEE, 1996).
In geothermal power plants, the electrical protection systems are almost the same as in other
generation plants, such as hydroelectric or thermal generation plants, as the electrical components of
the system are almost the same, with only minor differences or sizes.
The main difference between geothermal power plants and other kinds of generation plants is the
generation process. Therefore, mechanical protection is the main speciality for geothermal power
plants. Mechanical protection includes process protection, like pressure or temperature measurements,
and turbine-generator protection, like vibration or eccentricity.

29

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The most important equipment taken into account in protection systems for a geothermal power plant
in the present report are: turbine, generator, unit transformer and main motors, such as circulation
pump motors and cooling tower fan motors. However, the protection considerations described in this
report can be applied to other equipment such as auxiliary transformers or pump motors.
The protection system design considerations involve the electrical and mechanical protection functions
for the most important equipment as well as other important factors which, although they may seem
small, are equally important. These considerations include technical characteristics for main and
auxiliary equipment selection, as well as installation considerations for reliable operation.

2. MAIN EQUIPMENT PROTECTION


2.1 Generator protection description
In the power plant, the generator is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment; therefore,
electrical faults must be identified and cleared in due time (Estevez, 2009). Synchronous generator
protection requires consideration of harmful abnormal operating conditions more than that of any
other power system element.
A simplified functionality of a synchronous generator can be described as follows:
An
electromagnetic field is developed by circulating direct current through loops of wire wound around
stacks of magnetic steel laminations. These are called field poles, and they are mounted on the
perimeter of the rotor. The rotor is attached to the turbine shaft, and rotates at a fixed speed. When
the rotor turns, it causes the field poles (the electromagnets) to rotate and move past the conductors
mounted in the stator. This, in turn, causes a voltage to be induced in the generator stator windings
that are connected to the output terminals (Faradays law of induction).
2.1.1 Generator grounding
It is common practice to ground all types of generators through some form of external impedance.
The purpose of this grounding is to limit the thermal and mechanical stresses and fault damage in the
machine, to limit transient overvoltages during faults and to provide a means for detecting ground
faults within the machine (IEEE, 1995).
The most common grounding method for large generators is high resistance grounding. In this
method, a distribution transformer is connected between the generator neutral and ground and a
resistor is connected across the secondary. For a single phase to ground fault at the machine terminals,
the primary fault current will be limited to a value in the range of about 3-25 A. In some cases, the
distribution transformer is omitted and a resistance of high value is connected directly between the
generator neutral and ground. The resistor size is selected to limit ground-fault current to the range of
3-25 A. While this method of grounding is commonly used in Europe, the physical size of the
resistors, the required resistor insulation level and the cost may preclude its use.
2.1.2 Excitation system
The most common excitation system used in geothermal power plants is the alternator rectifier exciter
and rotating rectifiers (brushless exciter). Figure 1 shows an excitation system that uses an alternator,
but by mounting the DC field winding on the stator of the exciter and the AC armature winding on the
rotor, all brushes and commutators have been eliminated. In this system, the AC armature of the
exciter, the rotating three-phase diode bridge rectifier, and the main field of the AC generator are all
mounted on the same rotating shaft system. All electrical connections are made along or through the
centre of this shaft (IEEE, 1995).

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2.1.3 Generator stator thermal protection


Thermal protection for the
ROTATING ELEMENTS
generator stator winding (49)
RECTIFIER
may be provided for generator
AC
AC
overload. Most generators are
PMG
EXCIT
GEN.
supplied with a number of
temperature
sensors
to
monitor the stator winding
temperature. These sensors
are
usually
resistance
EXCITATION
temperature detectors (RTD)
CONTROL (AVR)
or thermocouples (TC). These
FIGURE 1: Brushless excitation system
sensors
are
used
to
continuously monitor the stator winding. The sensors may be connected for alarm purposes. In some
applications, a current measurement is combined with a timing function to establish a thermal image
of the stator winding temperature.
2.1.4 Generator stator fault protection
Generator faults can cause severe and costly damage to insulation, windings and the core; they can
also produce severe mechanical torsional shock to shaft and couplings. Fault current can continue to
flow for many seconds after the generator is tripped from the system and the field disconnected
because of trapped flux within the machine, thereby increasing the amount of fault damage (IEEE,
1995).
The differential relay (87G) is commonly used as primary protection for phase fault of generator stator
windings. This function is mostly completely selective and can be used with very short tripping times.
Differential relays will detect three phase fault, phase to phase fault and double phase to ground faults.
Differential relays will not detect turn to turn faults in the same phase since there is no difference in
the current entering and leaving the phase winding.
2.1.5 Ground fault protection
Differential relays will not provide ground fault protection on high impedance grounded machines
where primary fault current levels are limited to 3-25 A. For high impedance grounding generators
the most widely used protective scheme is a time delay overvoltage relay (59GN) connected across the
grounding impedance to sense zero sequence voltage; a time overcurrent relay with instantaneous
element (50/51GN) or an overvoltage relay across open delta connected VTs (see Section 4.2) on the
line end terminals, may be used as backup protection.
The conventional protection to detect stator ground fault in high impedance grounding systems only
provides sensible protection to about 95% of the stator. This is because the failure in the remaining
5% of the winding near the neutral will not cause enough residual voltage and current of 60 Hz to
operate these relays.
For larger and more important machines, it is considered important to protect the entire generator
stator winding with an additional ground fault protection system so as to cover 100% of the winding.
There are several methods used as a means of detecting faults near the stator neutral:
a)
b)
c)
d)

Third harmonic voltage at the neutral (27);


Third harmonic voltage at the terminals (59T);
Third harmonic differential between neutral and terminals (59D);
Sub-harmonic voltage signal injection and the neutral (59I).

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2.1.6 Generator rotor field protection


The field circuit of a generator is an ungrounded system. A single ground fault will not generally
affect the operation of a generator, however, if a second ground fault occurs, a portion of the field
winding will be short-circuited, thereby producing unbalanced air gap fluxes in the machine. These
unbalanced fluxes may cause rotor vibration that can quickly damage the machine; also, unbalanced
rotor winding and rotor body temperatures caused by uneven rotor winding currents can cause similar
damaging vibrations (IEEE, 1995).
The probability of the second ground occurring is greater than the first, since the first ground
establishes a ground reference for voltages induced in the field by stator transients, thereby increasing
the stress to ground at other points on the field winding. A voltage relay (64F) is used to detect
overvoltage in the field winding produced by a ground fault.
On a brushless excitation system, continuous monitoring for field ground is not possible with
conventional field ground relays since the generator field connections are contained in the rotating
element. One method used is the addition of a pilot brush or brushes to gain access to the rotating
field parts. The pilot brush can be periodically dropped to monitor the system. The ground check can
be done automatically by a sequencing timer and control, or manually by the operator.
2.1.7 Generator loss of field
When a synchronous generator
loses excitation it will over speed
and operate as an induction
generator. It will continue to
supply some power to the system
and will receive its excitation
from the system in the form of
VAR. During this condition, the
stator currents will be increased
and, since the generator has lost
synchronism, there can be high
levels of current induced in the
rotor that can cause dangerous
overheating
of
the
stator
windings and the rotor within a
very short time.
The most widely applied method
for loss of field protection (40) is
the use of distance relays to sense
the variation of impedance as
viewed from the generator
terminals. Both the active and
reactive part of the impedance
must be evaluated. Figure 2
shows a 50 MVA generator
capability curve with excitation
capability at 0.8 lagging or 0.9
leading.

FIGURE 2: Generator capability curve

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2.1.8 Unbalanced currents


Generator unbalanced currents produce negative phase sequence components of current which induce
a double frequency current in the surface of the rotor, the retaining rings, the slot wedges and in the
field winding. These rotor currents can cause high and dangerous temperatures in a very short time.
Negative sequence protection (46) consists of a time overcurrent relay which is responsive to negative
sequence currents, protecting the machines before their specific limits are reached.
2.1.9 Loss of synchronism
When a generator loses synchronism, the resulting high peak currents and off-frequency operation
cause winding stresses, pulsating torques, and mechanical resonances that are potentially damaging to
the generator and turbine generator shaft (IEEE, 1995).
The conventional method for loss of synchronism protection (78) is an impedance relay that analyzes
the variation in apparent impedance as viewed at the terminals of the system element.
2.1.10 Overexcitation
Overexcitation of a generator will occur whenever the ratio of the voltage to frequency (volts/hertz)
applied to the terminals of the equipment exceeds 1.05 per unit (pu) on the generator base. When
these volts/hertz (V/Hz) ratios are exceeded, saturation of the magnetic core of the generator can occur
and stray flux can be induced in nonlaminated components which are not designed to carry flux and
can also cause excessive interlaminar voltages between laminations at the ends of the core. The field
current in the generator can also be excessive. This can cause severe overheating in the generator and
eventual breakdown in the insulation.
Volts/Hz (overexcitation) protection (24) is a function that measures both voltage magnitude and
frequency over a broad range of frequency and determines the Volts/Hz relationship in the generator.
2.1.11 Motoring
Motoring of a generator (reverse power) occurs when the energy supply to the prime mover is cut off
while the generator is still online. When this occurs, the generator will act as a synchronous motor and
drive the prime mover. Motoring causes many undesirable conditions. For example, in a steam
turbine, the rotation of the turbine rotor and blades in a steam environment causes idling or windage
losses. Windage loss energy is dissipated as heat. This can cause severe thermal stresses in the
turbine parts (IEEE, 1995).
Reverse power protection (32) is a power relay set to look into the machine and is, therefore, used on
most units. Although listed along with generator protection functions, reverse power protection is
actually designed for the protection of the steam turbine.
2.1.12 Overvoltage
Generator overvoltage may occur without necessarily exceeding the V/Hz limits of the machine.
Upon load rejection, the speed may increase and cause a proportional rise in voltage. Under this
condition on a V/Hz basis, the overexcitation may not be excessive but the sustained voltage
magnitude may be above permissible limits. Overvoltage conditions can also occur due to voltage
regulator failure. Protection for generator overvoltage is provided with an overvoltage relay (59).

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2.1.13 Abnormal frequencies


Both the generator and the turbine are limited in the degree of abnormal frequency operation that can
be tolerated. The turbine is usually considered to be more restrictive than the generator at reduced
frequencies because of possible mechanical resonances in the many stages of the turbine blades.
Departure from rated speeds will bring stimulus frequencies closer to one or more of the natural
frequencies of the various blades resulting in an increase in vibratory stresses. As vibratory stresses
increase, damage is accumulated that may lead to cracking of some parts of the blade structure.
Primary under-frequency protection for steam turbine generators is provided by the implementation of
automatic load shedding programs on the power system. These load shedding programs should be
designed so that for the maximum possible overload condition, sufficient load is shed to quickly
restore system frequency to near normal. Backup protection for under-frequency conditions should be
provided by the use of one under-frequency relay (81) on each generator.
2.1.14 System backup protection
It is common practice to provide protective relaying that will detect and operate for system faults
external to the generator zone that are not cleared due to some failure of system protective equipment.
This protection, generally referred to as system backup, is designed to detect uncleared phase and
ground faults on the system.
Two types of relays are commonly used for system phase fault backup, a distance type of relay (21) or
a voltage-controlled time overcurrent relay (51 V). The choice of relay in any application is usually a
function of the type of relaying used on the transmission system. In order to simplify coordination, the
distance backup relay is used where distance relaying is used for transmission line protection, while
the overcurrent type of backup relay is used where overcurrent relaying is used for line protection.
2.1.15 Generator breaker failure protection
When the protective relays
detect an internal fault or an
abnormal operating condition,
they will attempt to trip the
generator and at the same time
initiate the breaker-failure timer.
If a breaker does not clear the
fault or abnormal condition in a
specified time, the timer will trip
the necessary breakers to remove
the generator from the system.

52/a

CD

OR

AND

TIMER

TRIP
RELAY

PROTECTIVE
RELAY

Figure 3 shows that to initiate


the breaker-failure timer, a
FIGURE 3: Breaker failure scheme
protective relay must operate
and a current detector or a breaker a switch must indicate that the breaker has failed to open.
Breaker-failure schemes (50BF) are connected to energize a hand-reset lockout relay (86BF) which
will trip the necessary backup breakers.
2.1.16 Voltage transformers
Loss of the voltage transformer (VT) signal can occur due to a number of causes. The most common
reason is fuse failure. Loss of VT signal can cause protective relay misoperation/failure to operate or
generator voltage regulators to run away, leading to an overexcitation condition.

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To eliminate the possibility of misoperations, it is common practice to apply a voltage balance relay
(60) which compares the three-phase secondary voltages of two sets of VTs. If the fuses blow in one
set of VTs, the resulting imbalance will cause the relay to operate. If a fuse blows, the relay will alarm
and block possible incorrect tripping by protective relays whose performance may be affected by the
change in potential.
2.1.17 Inadvertent energizing
Operating errors, breaker head flashovers, control circuit malfunctions or a combination of these
causes have resulted in generators being accidently energized while off-line. When a generator is
energized from the power system (three-phase source) it will accelerate like an induction motor.
While the machine is accelerating, high currents induced into the rotor can cause significant damage in
only a matter of seconds.
Dedicated protection schemes are necessary to protect the generator when it is off-line. Consideration
should be given to locating this protection in the switchyard where it is less likely to be disabled
during generator maintenance. Common schemes used to detect inadvertent energizing are:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Directional overcurrent relays (67);


Frequency supervised overcurrent (50/81);
Distance relay scheme (21);
Voltage supervised overcurrent (50/27);
Auxiliary contact scheme with overcurrent relays (50/41).

2.1.18 Protective arrangements and tripping modes


Table 1 gives an example of trip logic for protective devices on a geothermal power plant generator.
The typical protective arrangement for a geothermal power plant generator is shown in Figure 4.
TABLE 1: Geothermal power plant generator trip scheme
Device
21 or 51V
24
27
32
40
46
49
50BF
50/51 GN
59GN
60
64F
67
78
81
87G

Generator
Breaker trip

Field breaker
trip

Transfer
Auxiliaries

Turbine Trip Alarm only

2.2 Transformer protection description


The power transformer is a major and important piece of equipment in geothermal power plants.
There is no one standard way to protect all transformers, or even identical transformers that are

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applied differently. It will
vary with the application, size
and importance of the
transformer. Most installations
require
individual
engineering
analysis
to
determine the best and most
cost-effective scheme.

52-G

MEASUREMENT

60

67

50BF

59
78
81
40

49

24

41

32

87G
64F

46

59
GN

21 or
51V

This section will consider a


unit
generator-transformer
configuration,
where
a
generator and its transformer
(unit
transformer)
are
connected as a unit to the
system.
The generator is
usually wye-connected and
high-resistance
grounded
through
a
distribution
transformer.
The unit
transformer
is
most
commonly a grounded wyedelta connection.

27

Unit
transformers
using
grounded wye-delta connec50/51
tions create a 30 phase shift
GN
between
the
respective
FIGURE 4: Typical generator protection scheme
terminals of the transformers.
This phase shift has to be
considered for the protection configuration. Some differential relays can internally accommodate the
phase shift of the transformer, allowing for choosing current transformator (CT) connections at the
transformer that suit other schemes connected to the same CTs. Many relays do not have this
versatility and, therefore, the CTs must be connected to create the same phase shift as the primary
transformer windings.
2.2.1 Differential protection
The electrical windings and the magnetic core in a transformer are subject to a number of different
forces during operation, for example, expansion and contraction due to thermal cycling, vibration,
local heating due to magnetic flux, impact forces due to through-fault current and excessive heating
due to overloading or inadequate cooling. These forces can cause deterioration and failure of the
winding electrical insulation.
Current differential relaying (87T) is the most commonly used type of protection for transformers.
The term refers to the connection of CTs such that the net operating current to the relay is the
difference between input and output currents to the zone of protection. In big and important power
plants, block differential (87U) is used, covering both the transformer and the generator as backup
protection.
2.2.2 Overcurrent protection
A fault external to a transformer can result in damage to the transformer. If the fault is not cleared
promptly, the resulting overload on the transformer can cause severe overheating and failure.

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Overcurrent relays may be used to clear the transformer from the faulted bus or line before the
transformer is damaged. Overcurrent relays may be used to provide relay backup for differential or
pressure relays (IEEE, 2000a).
There are two types of overcurrent relays used for transformer protection, phase instantaneous
overcurrent (50) which provides fast clearing of internal faults of the transformer and phase time
overcurrent (51) which provides protection for external faults.
2.2.3 Ground fault protection
Sensitive detection of ground faults can be obtained by differential relays or by overcurrent relays
specifically applied for that purpose. Several schemes are practical, depending on transformer
connections, availability of CTs, zero sequence current source, and system design and operating
practices (IEEE, 2000a).
For an impedance-grounded system, it may be necessary to apply a sensitive time overcurrent relay
(51G) in the transformer impedance-grounded neutral or a time overvoltage relay connected across the
neutral.
2.2.4 Overexcitation protection
Overexcitation of a transformer can occur whenever the ratio of pu voltage to pu frequency (V/Hz) at
the secondary terminals of a transformer exceeds its rating of 1.05 pu on the transformer base at full
load. When an overexcitation condition occurs, saturation of the laminated steel cores of the
transformer can occur. This can cause severe localized overheating in the transformer and eventual
breakdown in the core assembly or winding insulation.
In some cases, overexcitation protection for the transformer (24T) is provided by the generator
overexcitation protection which uses the VTs connected to the generator terminals. In other cases,
however, the rated transformer voltage is different than the rated generator voltage and protection may
not be provided. It may, therefore, be desirable to provide supplementary protection for the
transformer.
2.2.5 Transformer breaker failure
The breaker failure scheme for transformer protection (50BF) uses the same scheme as generator
breaker failure protection. When the protective relays detect any fault, they will attempt to trip the
transformer breakers and at the same time initiate the breaker-failure timer. If the breaker trip does not
clear the fault in a specified time, the timer will trip all the necessary breakers to remove the
transformer fault.
2.2.6 Gas accumulator relay
This type of relay, commonly known as the Buchholz relay, is applicable only to transformers
equipped with conservator tanks and with no gas space inside the transformer tank. The relay is
placed in the pipe from the main tank to the conservator tank and is designed to trap any gas that may
rise through the oil. It will operate for small faults by accumulating the gas over a period of time or
for large faults that force the oil through the relay at a high velocity (IEEE, 2000a).
2.2.7 Pressure relay
When high current passes through a shorted turn, a great deal of heat is generated. This heat, along
with the accompanying arcing, breaks down the oil into combustible gases. Gas generation increases
pressure within the tank. A sudden increase in gas pressure can be detected by a sudden-pressure relay

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(63) mounted on the transformer tank below oil level. The sudden-pressure relay usually operates
before relays sensing electrical quantities, thus limiting damage to the transformer. This function is
also known as a pressure relief valve.
2.2.8 Winding temperature
Transformer windings may overheat because of high ambient temperature, failure of the cooling
system, external faults not cleared promptly, overload or abnormal system conditions. Overheating
shortens the life of the transformer insulation in proportion to the duration and magnitude of the high
temperature. Thermal relays (49) in the high and low voltage windings are normally provided for
transformer protection.
2.2.9 Top oil temperature
A liquid temperature sensor (26) measures the temperature of the insulating liquid at the top of the
transformer. Because the hottest liquid is less dense and rises to the top of the tank, the temperature of
the liquid at the top partially reflects the temperature of the transformer windings and is related to the
loading of the transformer.
Because the top-oil temperature may be considerably lower than the hot-spot temperature of the
winding, especially shortly after a sudden load increase, the top-oil thermometer is not suitable for
effective protection of the winding against overloads. The liquid temperature sensor can be equipped
with one to three adjustable contacts that operate at preset temperatures. The contacts are normally
used for alarms or to initiate different stages of fans, when forced air cooling is employed (IEEE,
2001).
2.2.10 Oil level protection
An oil level sensor (71) is used to measure the level of insulating liquid within the tank or conservator
with respect to a predetermined level, usually indicated at 25 C. An excessively low level could
indicate the loss of insulating liquid (IEEE, 2001). Alarm contacts for low liquid level are normally
used. The alarm contact is set to close before an unsafe condition actually occurs.
2.2.11 Protective arrangements and tripping modes
The typical protective arrangement for a unit transformer is shown in Figure 5. Internal transformer
faults trip the high voltage and low voltage circuit breaker for complete isolation of the fault. Internal
faults also trip the generator circuit breaker, field circuit breaker and turbine.
2.3 Motor protection description
Circulations pumps, cooling tower fans and gas extraction pumps (in case these are used instead of
steam-jet ejectors) are essential in geothermal power plants. The protection system for these
applications is very similar because conventional AC motor protection can be applied in all cases.
There are a few differences related to mechanical protection that will be discussed in this document.
Motors commonly used for these functions are large, however, the same basic principles apply as
when small motors are used.
2.3.1 Phase overcurrent protection
The current flowing to a fault within a motor can vary greatly in magnitude. The main factors that
affect the magnitude of fault currents are the source, motor feeder, and grounding impedance; the type
of fault (phase or ground); and the location of the fault in the motor winding (IEEE, 2000b).

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SOURCE

50/51

50BF
Buchholz
26

87T

49
63
24

51G

71

52-T

LOAD

FIGURE 5: Typical transformer protection scheme


In the case of high-magnitude, short-circuit currents, immediate isolation of the faulted motor is
always necessary. However, when the fault current is only a few amperes and the motor is a critical
one, an alarm without immediate tripping is sometimes justified.
Instantaneous overcurrent relays (50) are used to detect motor supply cable faults as well as severe
stator faults. In cases of essential service motors, a time overcurrrent relay with an instantaneous
overcurrent relay (51/50) can be used. Alarms are sufficient for moderate overloads below the
instantaneous overcurrent setting and trips for more severe overloads or faults.
2.3.2 Negative sequence protection
Negative-sequence current is contributed by the motor or system when an unbalanced voltage
condition exists (e.g., open-phase faults, single-phase faults, or unbalanced load), a stator coil cutout
occurs during a repair or there are shorted turns in the stator winding. These negative sequence
currents induce double line-frequency currents that flow in the damper or rotor parts.
The magnitude of the double line-frequency current depends on the location of the fault, number of
turns shorted, mutual induction, and system and motor impedance. The danger to the rotor parts is a
function of the imbalance in the stator current. Phase-balance relays (46) compare the relative
magnitudes of the phase currents. When the magnitudes differ by a given amount, the relay operates.
2.3.3 Ground fault protection
On solidly grounded systems, phase overcurrent relays, direct-acting trip devices and fuses afford a
certain measure of ground-fault protection. For motors where greater sensitivity to ground faults is
required, ground relays shall be used. Residually connected ground relays (51N) use a toroidal CT
that encircles all three-phase conductors (IEEE, 2000b).

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2.3.4 Stall or locked rotor protection


Failure of a motor to accelerate when its stator is energized can be caused by several types of
abnormal conditions, including mechanical failure of the motor or load bearings, low supply voltage,
or an open circuit in one phase of a three-phase voltage supply. Stall detection for an induction motor
is usually provided by an overcurrent relay (51R), with an inverse characteristic set to detect current
above the breakdown torque level.
2.3.5 Stator winding overtemperature
The purpose of stator winding overtemperature protection (49) is to detect excessive stator winding
temperature prior to the occurrence of motor damage. This protection is often arranged to just sound
an alarm on motors operated with competent supervision. Sometimes two temperature settings are
used, the lower setting for the alarm, the higher setting to trip. Stator winding temperature protection
is commonly specified on all motors rated 190 kW and above. RTDs are commonly specified in all
motors rated 370 kW and above (IEEE, 2001).
2.3.6 Vibration monitors and sensors
Vibration monitoring has advanced from an important start-up function to an effective tool during
operation of the process. It increases safety and reliability and may reduce costs over the life of the
plant. The three components of a vibration monitoring system are transducers, monitors, and machine
diagnostic equipment (IEEE, 2001).
There are two types of sensors normally used in motor protection, proximity transducers and
accelerometers. Non-contacting proximity transducers accurately indicate displacement of the rotor
relative to the housing and accelerometers indicate motor vibration acceleration.
Circulation pumps are vertical pumps, a type that requires proximity transducers in the motor-pump
coupling and accelerometers in the motor bearings and pump case. Cooling tower fan motors require
an accelerometer at the gearbox.
2.4 Turbine-generator mechanical protections
In geothermal power plants, the turbine has to be protected in all events that could damage it. Part of
the generator protection system described before provides protection to the turbine but there are other
faults that need to be covered by an additional protection system.
Geothermal turbines require protections against mechanical faults that can be produced in the turbine
components, in the geothermal generation process or in auxiliary equipment. Figure 6 shows a typical
geothermal power plant P&ID with the most important components in the generation process.
2.4.1 Steam turbine inlet
The steam turbine inlet consists of the following three main components:
a) Steam collector. Collects the steam from all the geothermal platforms in the field. This system
has an overpressure protection that bypasses the steam line to a silencer in a case where the
pressure increases. When the high pressure cannot be relieved by the silencer bypass, it sends a
trip signal to the turbine.
b) Demister. Eliminates all the water that is contained in the steam. The most important
protection is the water level in the demister, monitored to prevent water from entering the
turbine and damaging the blades. The high level protection sends a trip signal to the turbine.

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41
PIC

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SILENCER

PY

STEAM
SYSTEM
M

PT

LT

DEMISTER

STEAM COLECTOR

PY

PIC

PT

TURBINE TRIP

PT

GOVERNOR

TT
H

AFTER
CONDENSER

STOP CONTROL

PT
TT

CONDENSER

CONDENSER
LT

FIGURE 6: Geothermal power plant P&ID


c) Turbine control valves. There are two control valves in series in the turbine inlet, one is for
turbine stop that closes in case of turbine trip signals and the other is for the steam control inlet
and is controlled by the governor system.
The turbine inlet has steam pressure and temperature measurements to ensure safe operating
conditions for the turbine.
2.4.2 Turbine
The turbine requires special protection equipment against mechanical faults. Turbine mechanical
protection measurements include vibration, oil temperature, bearing metal temperature, steam seal

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pressure, overspeed, axial movement, eccentricity and differential expansion. Turbine mechanical
variables are normally monitored and processed in a dedicated turbine supervisory system.
There are two auxiliary systems that are very important in turbine operation, the steam seal system and
the oil system for control and lubrication. Pressure measurements guarantee normal operating
conditions for both systems. For the oil system an oil level measurement in the oil tank is also
necessary.
2.4.3 Condenser
The condenser system includes three main components that can affect turbine operation:
a) Turbine exhaust. Is the turbine outlet; the most important variables are the steam pressure and
temperature. High steam pressure will increase turbine exhaust temperature and can cause
serious damage in the last stage of blades.
b) Condenser. Makes the turbine more efficient; the most important variables are the water level
measurement and the condenser pressure (vacuum).
c) Gas extraction system. Is in charge of the non-condensable gas extraction from the condenser.
Non-condensable gas extraction can cause turbine exhaust pressure increase. The most common
gas extraction system for geothermal power plants uses steam-jet ejectors but vacuum pumps
with electrical motors can also be used for this purpose.
Table 2 show the most important mechanical protection for a geothermal turbine-generator group and
Figure 7 shows a schematic diagram with all the mechanical protections.
TABLE 2: Geothermal power plant turbine trip scheme
Description
Location of measurement
Demister high level
Demister
Turb. exhaust high press. Turb. exhaust
Turb. exhaust high temp. Turb. exhaust
Cond. high level
Condenser
Turb. bearings high temp. All journal bearings
Gen. bearings high temp. All journal bearings
Oil bearing temp.
All bearings
Thrust bearing temp.
Thrust bearing on both sides
Turb. high eccentricity
Turbine Rotor
Turb. differential exp.
Turbine casing
Turb. rotor position
Turbine rotor
Turb. overspeed
Turbine rotor
Lube oil low pressure
Lube oil system
Control oil low press.
Control oil system
Turb.-gen. shaft vibrat.
All bearings in X and Y dir.

Trip 1

Trip 2

Trip 3

Trip 1: Turbine trip; Trip 2: Field circuit breaker trip; Trip 3: Generator circuit breaker trip

3. PROTECTION RELAY SELECTION


3.1 General description
A relay is an electric device designed to respond to input conditions in a prescribed manner and, after
specified conditions are met, to cause contact operation or similar abrupt change in associated electric
control circuits (IEEE, 1989). Digital numeric relay is the new generation of protective relays, where

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BRG #1
VIBR

BRG #2
VIBR

BRG #3
VIBR

BRG #4
VIBR

BRG #5
VIBR

ROTOR

ROTOR

ROTOR

ROTOR

ROTOR

TEMP

TEMP

TEMP

ECCENTRICITY

TEMP

TEMP

DIFFERENTIAL
EXPANSION

TURBINE

ROTOR
POSITION

GENERATOR

EXCITER

OVERSPEED

FIGURE 7: Turbine-generator mechanical protections


many functions can be implemented by the microprocessor programming. That means that in one
digital relay device, the implementation of one or all of these device functions can be performed.
The protecting functions are generally divided into two groups for redundancy purposes. Each group
function is executed by a number of relay protections and is associated with different digital outputs.
Relay redundancy is used for geothermal power plant protection, where two identical protection relays
are employed and are connected to the same instrument transformer or two independent instrument
transformers, if applicable. Two different power supply sources are used for the protection relay
supply and for trip circuits. Circuit breakers often have two independent trip coils.
3.2 Protections relay specifications
Digital relay technology provides an economically viable alternative for electrical equipment
protection. In addition, digital technology provides several other advantages, like improved
performance, greater flexibility, reduced panel space and wiring, metering of various parameters,
event reporting, fault data recording, remote communication, continuous self-checking and easy
configuration (Estevez, 2009).
3.2.1 Function selection
Protection relays for geothermal power plants should be of a multifunction type and include the
minimum functions required for the equipment to be protected according to the description provided in
this report and by international standards.
Protection relays should include current inputs, voltage inputs, digital inputs, contact outputs and
optionally RTD inputs for thermal protection. The relays should have programming capacity to
perform control and protection logistics, define the function of digital inputs, configure the contact
output operations and timer functions (SEL, 2010).
The relays should include metering and monitoring functions to indicate different electrical variables
and non-volatile memory for events records that could help for faults analysis. The relays should be
capable of being serviced by Microsoft Windows based software with a friendly graphic interface.
For data access the relays should provide a front panel LCD display and different kinds of
communication ports for data download, relay configuration and main SCADA communication.

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3.2.2 Auxiliary inputs and outputs


Protection relays should include at least 6 digital inputs and 8 contact outputs. They should be
configured and defined by programming software for different functions and could be used as part of
any control and protection logic program. Digital inputs should be opto-isolated contact inputs and
contact outputs should be configurable as either normally open (a contact) or normally closed (b
contact). The trip contacts should be configurable to be either latched (relay reset required) or nonlatched (no resetting of the relay required).
The relays may optionally include RTD inputs, too, for thermal protection monitoring (49). The RTD
types and locations should be individually configurable by programming software.
3.2.3 Communication features
The communication port type and communication protocols available in the protection relays should
correspond to the most common applications used in industry. The particular ports and
communication protocols selected for a determined application should be compatible to the SCADA
system ports and communication protocols where the relays will be connected.
In case the protection relays and the SCADA system communication protocols are not compatible, a
communication protocol converter should be considered. In this case the relay communication
protocol should be selected according to the most common communication protocol converters used in
the industry. The most primitive means of communication is using relay outputs that are wired to PLC
inputs for signalling relay operations.

4. INSTRUMENT TRANSFORMER SELECTION


4.1 Current transformers (CT)
A CT transforms line current into values suitable for standard protective relays and isolates the relays
from line voltages. A CT has two windings, designated as primary and secondary, which are insulated
from each other. The secondary is wound on an iron core. The primary winding is connected in series
with the circuit carrying the line current to be measured; the secondary winding is connected to
protective devices. The secondary winding supplies a current in direct proportion and at a fixed ratio
to the primary current.
4.1.1 Rating of current transformers
The ratings of a current transformer should include:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)

Basic impulse insulation level in terms of full-wave test voltage;


Nominal system voltage or maximum system voltage;
Frequency (in Hertz);
Rated primary and secondary currents;
Accuracy classes at standard burdens;
Continuous thermal current rating factor based on 30C average ambient air temperature;
Short-time mechanical current rating and short-time thermal current rating.

4.1.2 Standard burdens


Burden is the load connected to the secondary terminals and is expressed as volt-amperes and power
factor at a specified value of current, total ohms impedance and power factor, or Ohms of the

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resistance and reactive components. Table 3 shows standard burdens for relaying CTs according to
IEEE (1993). Burden selection for CTs should consider cable and relay input impedance.
TABLE 3: Relaying current transformers burdens
Burden
designation

Resistance
()

Inductance
(mH)

Impedance
()

Volt-amperes
(at 5 A)

Power
factor

B-1
B-2
B-4
B-8

0.50
1.00
2.00
4.00

2.30
4.60
9.20
18.40

1.00
2.00
4.00
8.00

25.0
50.0
100.0
200.0

0.5
0.5
0.5
0.5

Secondary
terminal
voltage
100
200
400
800

4.1.3 Accuracy
Protective-relay performance depends on the accuracy of the CTs, not only at load currents but also at
all fault current levels. The CT accuracy at high overcurrent depends on the cross section of the iron
core and the number of turns in the secondary winding. The greater the cross section of the iron core,
the more flux can be developed before saturation. Saturation results in a rapid decrease in
transformation accuracy. The greater the number of secondary turns, the less flux required to force the
secondary current through the relay. This factor influences the burden the CT can carry without loss
of accuracy.
According to IEEE (1993), the relaying accuracy class is designated by use of one letter (C or T) and
the classification number. C means that the leakage flux in the core of the transformer does not have
an appreciable effect on the ratio, and T means that the leakage flux in the core of the transformer has
an appreciable effect on the ratio. The classification number indicates the secondary terminal voltage
that the transformer delivers to a standard burden at 20 times the nominal secondary current without
exceeding a 10% ratio correction. The ratio correction should not exceed 10% at any current from 1 to
20 times the rated current at standard burden.
4.1.4 Nameplates
Nameplates should include, as a minimum, the following:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)

Manufacturer's name or trademark;


Manufacturer's type;
Manufacturer's serial number (SER);
Rated primary and secondary current;
Nominal system voltage (NSV) or maximum system voltage (MSV) (None for bushing CTs);
Basic impulse insulation level (BIL kV) (None for bushing CTs);
Rated frequency (Hz);
Continuous thermal current rating factor (RF);
Accuracy rating.

4.2 Voltage transformers (VT)


A VT is basically a conventional transformer with primary and secondary windings on a common
core. Standard VTs are single-phase units designed and constructed so that the secondary voltage
maintains a fixed ratio with primary voltage. The required rated primary voltage of a VT is
determined by the voltage of the system to which it is to be connected and by the way in which it is to
be connected (e.g., line to line, line to neutral). Most VTs are designed to provide 120 V at the

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secondary terminals when nameplate-rated voltage is applied to the primary. In Europe, 110 V and
100 V are common values for VT secondary voltages.
4.2.1 Rating of voltage transformers
The ratings of a voltage transformer should include:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

Basic impulse insulation level in terms of full-wave test voltage;


Rated primary voltage and ratio;
Frequency (in Hertz);
Accuracy ratings;
Thermal burden rating.

4.2.2 Standard burdens


Standard burdens for VTs with a secondary voltage of 120 V according to IEEE (1993) are shown in
Table 4.
TABLE 4: Relaying voltage transformer burdens
Characteristics on
standard burdens
Power
Designation VA
factor
W
12.5
0.1
X
25.0
0.7
M
35.0
0.2
Y
75.0
0.85
Z
200.0
0.85
ZZ
400.0
0.85

Characteristics on
120 V basis

Characteristics on
69.3 V basis

R ()

I (mH)

Z ()

R ()

I (mH)

Z ()

115.2
403.2
82.3
163.2
61.2
30.6

3.0400
1.0900
1.0700
0.2680
0.1010
0.0503

1152
576
411
192
72
36

38.4
134.4
27.4
54.4
20.4
10.2

1.0100
0.3649
0.3560
0.0894
0.0335
0.0168

384
192
137
64
24
12

4.2.3 Accuracy
Standard accuracy classifications of VTs range from 0.3 to 1.2, representing percent ratio corrections
with which to obtain a true ratio. These accuracies are high enough so that any standard transformer is
adequate for most industrial protective relaying purposes as long as it is applied within its open-air
thermal and voltage limits.
4.2.4 Nameplates
Voltage transformer nameplates should include, at minimum, the following:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)
h)
i)

Manufacturer's name or trademark;


Manufacturer's type;
Manufacturer's serial number (SER), numerals only;
Rated voltage (PRI);
Ratio or ratios;
Basic impulse insulation level (BIL kV);
Rated frequency (in Hertz);
Thermal burden rating or ratings at ambient temperature or temperatures, in voltamperes or
degrees centigrade;
Accuracy rating: maximum standard burden at which the accuracy rating is 0.3 class, as a
minimum.

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4.3 Safety considerations


Instrument transformers, like other transformers, transform the secondary impedance to the primary
side. Therefore, it is important for CTs that the secondary circuit is never opened, as this will be
transformed to the primary side as very high impedance that the primary current is forced through.
This will result in a dangerously high voltage across the CT secondary. Equally, the short circuiting of
a VT secondary must be prevented with a proper fusing or fast mini circuit breaker (MCB).
Otherwise, the primary side will be short circuited to ground through the VT primary, which may
result in an explosion of the VT.

5. AUXILIARY EQUIPMENT SELECTION


5.1 Auxiliary relays
During a fault in any of the equipment of a geothermal
power plant, the protection relay described above will detect
the fault and send a trip signal via a contact output. In most
cases, it is necessary to multiply this trip signal for different
applications such as circuit breaker trip coil, SCADA system
fault register, mimic panel alarm and the trip and interlock
circuit for other main equipment. Auxiliary relays are used
for this application. Figure 8 shows a typical high speed
auxiliary relay.
FIGURE 8: High-speed auxiliary relay
The most important characteristic for auxiliary relays is
high-speed operation in order to avoid delays in trips due to fault conditions. Current carrying
capacity for auxiliary relay contacts should be 30 A for 200 ms and 20 A for 1 s. The number of
contacts for the auxiliary relays should be selected according to the number of applications required
for circuit breaker trips, process trips, alarms or other auxiliary relay operations. One of the contacts
of the auxiliary relay is used directly for trips to avoid delays in fault protections. The typical number
of contacts available for this relay ranges from 2 to 15, and could be combined between normally open
and normally closed types.
5.2 Lockout relay
Lockout relays are utilized for locking out the main
circuit breakers or process in a geothermal power plant.
These relays are hand reset types avoiding an
instantaneous restart of the operated circuit breakers or
process and forcing the power plant technical personnel
to check the system conditions before a system restart.
These relays are used also as multiplying contact relays.
Figure 9 shows a typical lockout relay.
A lockout relay is normally operated by main protection
relay contact output or by an auxiliary relay. In both
cases it is necessary to take into account the fact that the
current carrying capacity to the operating contact must
be equal or higher than the coil current required to trip
the relay. The number of contacts for a lockout relay
should correspond to the number of trips, lockouts and

FIGURE 9: Typical lockout relay

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alarm signals required for each particular application and should also depend on whether it is utilized
in combination with other auxiliary relays. The typical number of contacts available for these relays
normally ranges from 2 to 40 and could be combined between normally open and normally closed
types.
5.3 Control and measurement cable
Cables are utilized for two applications, instrument transformer signals (CTs and VTs) and control
signals for trip, contacts, circuit breakers or other equipment status. These are located along the power
plant and at the high voltage substation and are necessary to bring signals to connection boxes, control
rooms, power rooms and protection relays.
Because H2S is present in the atmosphere, the cable conductors should be tin-coated copper
conductors to protect against corrosion. The cable should be approved for installation indoors or
outdoors, in conduits, ducts or cable trays. Cable insulation and jacket should be flame-retardant and
with low-halogen emission. The cable jacket should be sunlight resistant.
Cable size selection has to consider secondary fault currents for CT circuits, voltage drop for VT and
control circuits and distances between equipment and panel rooms. Typical cable sizes for CT circuits
are 10-12 AWG (4-6 mm2) and typical cables sizes for VT and control circuits are 14-16 AWG (1.52.5 mm2). The number of conductors per cable depends on the particular application.
5.4 Marshalling box
Marshalling boxes are normally used for signal concentration and as connection boxes between field
equipment and the panel room. Marshalling boxes should include all the accessories required for
connections: terminal blocks, circuit breakers for control feeders and secondary VT circuits, short
circuit terminal blocks for secondary CT circuits, plastic cable channels, grounding bar, internal light,
and heaters.
Because of the H2S presence, the marshalling box material should be corrosion resistant, such as
stainless steel or polyester. The protection degree for indoor and outdoor installation should be
NEMA 4X (IP 66). All metallic parts of marshalling boxes should be grounded, including mobile
parts like doors. The boxes should include a removable rear wall for component installation.
Marshalling box installation should be designed for wall mounting or floor mounting, depending on
particular applications.
5.4.1 CT and VT circuits considerations
CT and VT terminal blocks should be of a heavy duty type with a
screw connector for the use of ring terminals in cable termination.
CT terminal blocks should include a short circuit bar. Terminal
block continuous current capacity should be enough to support the
maximum fault current for the CT secondary. Figure 10 shows a
typical terminal block for CT and VT circuit and ring terminals.
VT secondary circuits should include circuit breaker protection.
All the cables and terminals blocks should have identification
labels for easy revision and fault corrections.

FIGURE 10: CT and VT


terminal block and ring terminals

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5.4.2 Control circuit considerations


Control circuit terminal blocks should be of the DIN rail mounting
type with a screw clamp cable connection. Terminal blocks
should accept at least cable sizes from 10 AWG to 18 AWG (1-6
mm2). Cable terminations should include pin terminals. Control
voltage feeders should include circuit breaker protection. Figure
11 shows a typical DIN rail mounting terminal block and pin
terminals. All the cables and terminals blocks should have
identification labels for easy revision and fault corrections.
5.5 Installation considerations
There are some installation considerations that must be taken into
account for the correct operation of protection systems. These
considerations apply for all the measurement and control circuits.

FIGURE 11: DIN rail mounting


terminal block and pin terminals

Superficial cable installation should be made in rigid metal


conduits or cable trays. For final connections between rigid metal conduits or cable trays and field
equipment, it is necessary to use liquid-tight flexible metal conduits or cable glands. According to the
National Electric Code (2008), there should not be more than the equivalent of four quarter bends
(360 total) between pull points, such as conduit bodies and boxes.
In superficial installations, distances between supports for these rigid metal conduits or cable trays
should not exceed 900 mm. The space utilization in any type of conduit for superficial or underground
installation should not exceed 40% of the whole cross section area and all conduit edges should be
eliminated to avoid cable damage during installation.
For underground cable installation, rigid PVC non-metallic conduits should be used to avoid
corrosion. It is necessary to use concrete pull boxes in conduit derivations or direction changes.
Outdoor pull boxes should be of water-tight construction and be provided with drains at the bottom.

6. ELECTRICAL CONTROL SCHEMES


6.1 Substation control
An electrical substation is an important part of an electricity generation system where voltage is
transformed from medium to high, using transformers. Electric power may flow through several
substations between a generating plant and the consumer, and may change voltage levels in several
steps. Figure 12 shows a typical substation single-line diagram.
The most important elements of an electrical substation are the disconnecting switches and circuit
breakers. The disconnecting switches are used for no-load operations, like isolating a circuit breaker
for maintenance or as bypass equipment, and cannot be operated with load. The circuit breakers are
load operation equipment used to isolate part of the electrical system in normal operations such as in
fault cases. Substation control refers to all the conditions that permit the operation of a determinate
element to the substation. These controls make sure that the different elements are not operated under
inappropriate conditions that could produce damage in any part of the generating plant. Each
particular case requires a different control scheme, but according to the single line diagram shown in
Figure 12, the control scheme must take into account the following conditions:

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b)

c)

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MAIN BUS
Disconnecting switches (89TA1 &
89TA2). This equipment normally has
an opening circuit and a closing circuit
89TA2
operated by an electrical motor. The
most important condition for the opening
52-T
or closing of this equipment is that the
circuit breaker 52-T must be open.
89TA1
Earthing switch. The earthing switch is
part of one of the disconnecting switches
and is used for grounding the bus for
89ETA1
security during maintenance work. It can
be operated manually or by electrical
motor. The most important condition for
PROTECTION AND
the closing of this equipment is that the
MEASUREMENT
circuit breakers and disconnectors in both
sides must be open.
Circuit breakers. This equipment has
one closing circuit and two independent
trip circuits.
The most important
conditions for the closing circuits are:
disconnecting switches must be closed,
52-G
the earthing switch has to be open and no
trip conditions can be active. The trip
conditions block the closing circuits by
using lockout relays. The trip circuits
should not have any conditions except FIGURE 12: Typical substation single-line diagram
the trip signals from the protection relays. The protection schemes divide the trips into two
groups and each group is associated with one trip circuit.

6.2 Mimic panel


A mimic panel simulates the generation process and electrical
system in a geothermal power plant, showing the most important
measurements, conditions and alarms. Figure 13 shows a typical
mimic panel for the electrical system in a geothermal power plant.
The mimic panel normally works as a manual control system, too,
permitting the manual operation of parts of the process or
equipment. The mimic panel for the electrical system displays the
single line diagram and includes the following:
a)

b)

c)

Electrical variables and states. The most important


electrical variables are displayed in the mimic panel. They
come from the measurement instrument transformers and
are converted by transducer to 4-20 mA or 0-10 V signals.
The mimic panel also displays the state of equipment, like
circuit breakers or disconnecting switches.
Manual control. The mimic panel permits manual control
and operation for some parts of the electrical system like
substation equipment operation, circuit breaker remote FIGURE 13: Electrical system
mimic panel
operation, automatic and manual synchronism.
Alarms. The mimic panel shows the most important electrical alarms like relay trips,
transformer mechanical protection alarms, generator mechanical protection alarms, and turbine
mechanical protection alarms. The visual alarm is normally accompanied by an audible alarm.

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6.3 Hardwire interlock


The safest protection schemes in geothermal power plants are hardwired interlocks that consist of
electrical connections between the different equipment to a protection system through hardwiring,
avoiding the use of communication protocols or extra electronic equipment that could add an external
fault to the system. In this way, the protection schemes do not depend on external factors or
equipment like PLCs or communication protocols. This is an important consideration for the safe and
reliable operation of protection systems. Hardwired interlock can be divided into two applications,
trip applications hardwire interlock and control applications hardwire interlock.
6.3.1 Trip applications hardwire interlock
In protection systems, the only electronic equipment that should be present in a trip circuit is the
protection relay. Protection relays receive the measurement signals from the instrument transformers
and other mechanical protection measurement equipment, such as RTD for winding temperature
measurement, then process the information and send the trip signal directly to the circuit breaker or
through high speed auxiliary relays.
The electrical connections between the protection relay, instrument transformers, mechanical
protections and circuit breaker trip circuits should be made through hardwire to avoid external fault
conditions that could be caused by electronic devices or protocol communication faults. A
marshalling box is normally used as an interface between the field equipment and the protection
panels inside the power plant.
6.3.2 Control applications hardwire interlock
Electrical connections for control applications should be hardwired between the field equipment, like
circuit breakers or disconnecting switches, and the auxiliary relays contacts used with protections
relays. These hardwire connections should be made in the marshalling boxes and should avoid the use
of PLCs for control or interlock functions.
For substation control in the particular case described above, a marshalling box is normally located in
the substation and all the auxiliary contacts and control circuits to the substation elements are
connected in it. This marshalling box works as an interface between the field equipment and the
control panels inside the power plant. All the interlocks for the substation element operation should be
made in the marshalling box through hardwire to avoid external fault conditions that can be caused by
electronic devices or protocol communication faults.

7. CONCLUSIONS
The protection system is one of the most important components of a geothermal power plant for
reliable and secure operation of all plant equipment. The correct design and selection of protection
systems ensure that the power plant will be protected and any electrical or mechanical fault will not
cause serious damage to the main equipment.
The protection scheme selection for the main equipment requires special attention to obtain high levels
of availability in the operation of a geothermal power plant. An adequate scheme selection avoids
unnecessary trips and minimizes loss conditions of the process, thus allowing the rapid return of the
unit to normal operating conditions.
During the start up of the protection systems design, it is necessary to consider all the components for
a complete protection system operation. These components should include main equipment such as
protection relays or instrument transformers, and auxiliary equipment such as cable terminals or
auxiliary relays to avoid delays in the construction and installation process.

Aguirre

52

Report 7

Adequate protection system equipment selection avoids unnecessary trips or unsafe conditions during
a fault and permits quick trips to eliminate the fault and minimize the damage in the protected
equipment. Insufficient protection equipment selection or configuration can cause protection system
failures in detecting a fault or cause excessive delay in the detection. A delayed trip of the equipment
or a no trip condition could damage the equipment.
Correct tripping action for a turbine generator set requires an understanding of the technical
characteristics of the turbine, the capacity of the system generator/ turbine, the operation of the unit,
and the process of geothermal energy conversion. An adequate trip selection avoids a complete power
plant trip and permits rapid recovery of normal operating conditions.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to give my sincere gratitude to all the staff of United Nations University Geothermal
Training Programme in Iceland, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this programme.
Special thanks to Dr. Ingvar Birgir Fridleifsson, Director, and Mr. Ldvk S. Georgsson, Deputy
Director, for their patience, dedication and support throughout this training, and for the enthusiastic
work of all the staff. I want to give special thanks to my supervisor Mr. Snaebjrn Jnsson for
invaluable guidance which made this project possible.
I would like to extend my gratitude to my employer, LaGeo S.A. de C.V., especially to Mr. Jorge
Burgos, Mr. Ricardo Escobar and Mr. Jos Luis Henrquez for their support during this 6 month
training. My gratitude to the people who generously shared their data and time for this report: Mr.
Jorge Castillo, Mr. Carlos Melgar and Mr. Mario Avila.
I am deeply grateful to my wife, Maricela, for her patient support and unconditional love. Also, I
warmly thank my parents, Luis and Kenny, for their guidance and support throughout my life. Finally,
I give thanks to the unconditional lord and friend God, who makes all things possible.

REFERENCES
Estevez, J., 2009: Electrical protection in geothermal power plants projects.
Geothermal Training in Iceland 2009. UNU-GTP, Iceland, 151-177.

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