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Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

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A2A project: A practical implementation of smart grids

in the urban area of Milan
Maurizio Delfanti a, , Enrico Fasciolo b , Valeria Olivieri a , Mauro Pozzi a
Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
A2A Reti Elettriche S.p.A., Milan, Italy

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Distribution systems have undergone a strong evolution in the last few years. An important cause of
Received 3 February 2014 this evolution is the growing presence of dispersed generation; the increasing levels of quality of service
Received in revised form 4 November 2014 required by nal users are another important issue for Distribution System Operators. These driving forces
Accepted 18 November 2014
are particularly challenging in Italy: on the one hand, recent incentives have fostered the installation of
Available online 15 December 2014
many Dispersed Generation units on MV networks; on the other hand, the quality of service regulations
put in place by the Italian Energy Regulator push Distribution System Operators to exploit automation on
distribution grids. Within this framework, the paper describes a practical implementation of the smart
Smart grid
Communication system
grid concept to a real-life MV network in the urban area of Milan, developed by A2A Reti Elettriche (which
IEC 61850 owns and operates the distribution network in the cities of Milan and Brescia) in the context of smart
Logic selectivity grid demonstration projects launched by the Italian Energy Regulator in 2010. After a brief illustration of
DG control the network adopted for the experiment, the smart grid architecture is presented, along with the main
Local dispatch on distribution network functionalities to be achieved. Particular attention is devoted to an innovative automatic procedure for
selective fault detection, based on logic selectivity and fast network reconguration. Some remarks are
also provided about the performances of telecommunication supports used for the project.
2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction problems arising from energy networks; implementing smart grids

requires additional investment in network automation, and in the
A high degree of Dispersed Generation (DG) penetration has communication infrastructure between grid operators and cus-
considerable impact on the operation, control, protection and tomers.
reliability of existing power systems and involves a complete Generally, the current regulatory framework does not suf-
redeployment of both active and reactive power ows along the ciently encourage innovative investments (mainly based on ICT) in
distribution network. With the distribution network operated radi- distribution grids: in the future, this problem will result in conges-
ally, the energy ows mainly from the Primary Substation (PS) to tion in the distribution networks, higher risks of blackout, problems
the lower voltage levels; this architecture, which was chosen when for RES (Renewable Energy Sources) integration and a deterioration
DG was very rare, can entail several problems today: many poten- of QoS. In fact, today, DSOs (Distribution System Operators) follow
tial problems have been reported in the literature (voltage control, the t and forget approach, that means over-sizing the distribu-
rapid voltage changes, thermal limits of branches, short circuit tion grid to avoid congestion during the few periods of high DG
currents, protection tripping, etc.). Smart grids are a new frame- injection (strong wind or sunshine). Alternatively, DSOs can follow
work for improved management of electric generation, transmis- the smart grids approach which consists of investing in ICT that
sion, and distribution with attention to interoperability, security, will help to manage the electricity ows better, to delay or reduce,
and resilience problems [1]. It is recognized that Information and according to network requirements and constraints, the need for
Communication Technology (ICT) is a key enabler to solve new network expansion or upgrades and will also bring about many
benets to other actors such as energy suppliers and, most impor-
tantly, to customers. By using ICT (including smart metering) to
monitor, control and automate the distribution grid, DSOs can opti-
Corresponding author at: Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano,
mize the use of current assets and provide a better allocation of
Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milan, Italy. Tel.: +39 02 2399 3719;
fax: +39 02 2399 8566. resources in the long run. This approach is very likely to result in
E-mail address: (M. Delfanti). higher capital expenditures in the short term, compared to the t
0378-7796/ 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 3

non-proprietary type, for any exchange of information involving

Nomenclature network users.
This paper describes the innovations introduced by the A2A
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Reti Elettriche (hereinafter called A2A) Lambrate project, which is
AEEG Autorit per lenergia elettrica e il gas developed in the city of Milan. This project has two specic char-
AVR Automatic Voltage Regulator acteristics that are distinctive from other pilot projects: on the one
CB Circuit Breaker hand the availability of superfast broadband services (i.e., those
DG Dispersed Generation with an advertised speed of 30 Mbit/s or above) [4]; on the other
DMS Distribution Management Systems hand, the presence of customers and industrial applications which
DSO Distribution System Operator have very stringent QoS demands. The A2A project of Lambrate is
FL Fault Locator a eld demonstration of a smart grid and is aimed at restructuring
FPS Feeder Protection System a specic distribution network through innovative technologies
GGIO Generic Process Input Output that allow an active RES management and the necessary level of
GOOSE Generic Object Oriented Substation Events security, availability and QoS.
GPRS General Packet Radio Service The paper is developed in the following way: after this introduc-
GPS General Protection System tion, Section 2 describes the main features of MV network involved
DGUR Dispersed Generation User Router in the eld demonstration project. In Section 3, we carry out the
HMI Human Machine Interface description of the smart grid architecture based on the extended
HV High Voltage substation concept, focusing on the innovative devices for the
ICT Information and Communication Technology Primary Substation, the Secondary Substations and the Dispersed
IED Intelligent Electronic Device Generation Users (DG user), and report the innovative functions of
IPS Interface Protection System the project. Section 4 provides a brief description of the algorithm
LAN Local Area Network of logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration, while
LoM Loss of Mains Sections 5 and 6 report some results about the new Interface Protec-
LN Logical Node tion System and about voltage regulation functions. The innovative
LV Low Voltage applications are enabled by a communication infrastructure based
MV Medium Voltage on a broadband always on technology that connects MV produc-
MMS Manufacturing Message Specication ers, passive customers, and the primary and secondary substations;
NA Network Analyzer the main features of the communication system applied to a MV
NTP Network Time Protocol network are shown in Section 7. Finally, a summary of developed
OLTC On-Load Tap Changer solutions and expected results, in addition to some guidelines for
ORPF Optimal Reactive Power Flow similar developments, is provided in Section 8.
QoS Quality of Service
PS Primary Substation
2. Field demonstration project main features of the MV
PSCP Primary Substation Control Platform
PSR Primary Substation Router
RES Renewable Energy Sources
The Lambrate grid is connected to the transmission network
RO Regulatory Order
with a double-busbar system, and two HV/MV transformers (with
RTU Remote Terminal Unit
rated power of 100 MVA each) that supply 32 feeders, Fig. 1. The
SAIFI System Average Interruption Frequency Index
rated voltage of the HV side is 220 kV, while the rated voltage of
SAIDI System Average Interruption Duration Index
the MV side is 23 kV. The transformers are equipped with On-Load
SCADA Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition
Tap-Changers (OLTCs) that allow voltage regulation by varying
SS Secondary Substation
the transformer ratio under load. The system neutral (MV side) is
SSS Smart Secondary Substation
earthed by means of a Petersen coil.
SSR Secondary Substation Router
The greater part of the distribution network is realized by buried
RPT Reverse Power Flow Time
cables, and is a high-loaded urban network, so that prioritization
TLC Telecommunication Network
on QoS is an explicit task. In particular, the Italian QoS regulation
TSO Transmission System Operator
is focused on continuity of supply indices of frequency of inter-
VPN Virtual Private Network
ruptions (SAIFI, System Average Interruption Frequency Index2 ),
WACC Weighted Average Cost of Capital
and cumulative duration of interruptions (SAIDI, System Average
WAN Wide Area Network
Interruption Duration Index3 ) [5]. These instruments are used for
an output-based incentive scheme, based on the past continuity
performance, that aims to a 12-year convergence of common tar-
and forget approach. For this reason a new regulation is required gets for continuity levels across urban, suburban, and rural areas.
[2]. As a consequence, the SAIDI target is 25 min for urban territo-
The Italian Energy Regulator (Autorit per lenergia elettrica e il ries, 40 min for suburban territories and 60 min for rural territories,
gas, AEEG) has launched a selection process (RO ARG/elt 39/10 [3]) while the SAIFI target is 1 interruption per customer per year for
for smart grid demonstration projects, focused on MV networks urban territories, 2 interruptions for suburban territories and 4
that show a Reverse Power ow Time (RPT)1 of at least for 1% interruptions for rural territories. Fig. 2 shows the continuity of
on a yearly basis and use only standard protocols, of an open and supply indicators (with respect to short and long interruptions) in

1 2
RPT represents the percentage of time in a year during which power ows SAIFI gives the average number of times per year that the supply to a customer
from medium to high voltage in a given Primary Substation (which represents the is interrupted. It is expressed in interruptions per customer per year.
interface between HV and MV networks). The RPT indicator can be measured at the SAIDI gives the average amount of time per year that the supply to a customer
HV/MV interface (Primary Substation) or at the beginning of the MV feeders. is interrupted. It is expressed in minutes per customer per year.
4 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Fig. 1. Lambrate MV network zoom of the project.

Milan for each of the four years between 2008 and 2011 [6]. For As regards the DG penetration and the relevant MV network
this reason, the project on the Milan network includes innovative capacity for accommodating new DG plants, the grid comprises
automation solutions, which can signicantly improve the quality ve generating plants (Table 1). Generating station 1 has three
of service, especially when the number of SS per PS increases (the 1100 kVA natural gas generators; station 2 is a 1250 kVA natural
project involves 21 SS and 4 feeders). gas plant; station 3 has one PV generator with rated power of some
kVA and one 62.50 kVA natural gas plant; station 4 is a 158 kVA PV
plant. Finally, generating station 5 has some plants connected to the
LV (Low Voltage) network (including PV, wind and storage system)

Table 1
DG plants involved in the project main features.

DG plant Voltage Rated power Type of energy Communication

[kVA] source system

DG 1 MV 3 10,110 CHP ADSL Fast

DG 2 MV 1250 CHP ADSL Fast
3 62.50 CHP Fast
DG 4 MV 158 FV ADSL Fast
DG 5 LV Variable Mixed ADSL Fast
Fig. 2. SAIDI and SAIFI indicators for Lambrate PS.
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 5

Fig. 3. Extended substation architecture.

with ratings from some tens to some hundreds kVA; this station The proposed architecture (Fig. 3) is hierarchically structured at
is a part of the test facility of Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico, the multiple levels:
Italian public research center in electro-energy.
The connection of these generators to the network modies nor- level 0: HMI (Human Machine Interface) in Primary Substation
mal working conditions: on the basis of measured data, in 2011 the and interface with Control Center (SCADA system) and with
Lambrate PS has an RPT greater than 1%, measured at the begin- Transmission System Operator (TSO);
ning of MV feeders on which generators are installed. The more level 1: control system for the extended substation;
the generators are connected to the MV and LV network, the more level 2: protection and control unit in Primary Substation;
this phenomenon is increased; the strong presence of generators level 3: protection and control unit in Smart Secondary Substa-
and the amount of connection requests in the Milan distribution tion;
network, often concentrated on small areas, have a great impact level 4: protection and control unit in the DG users plant.
on the proper operation of the network protection and automation
system. As detailed above, projecting this situation in the future, the The levels from 0 to 3 are related to the distribution network,
massive penetration of DG makes it mandatory to overcome net- while the last level (level 4) is that of DG users, which constitute
work constraints by means of suitable innovative developments. the most peripheral part of the network; this level is developed
within the project framework and is validated by tests. Achieving
interoperability is a major challenge for this level; conformance
3. Smart grid system architecture to IEC 61850 is not sufcient for a real interoperability [7,8]. In
fact, the communication proles developed in the devices by each
The project takes into account the following areas of interven- manufacturer vary,4 and it is possible that different proles from
tion: SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) systems, different vendors conform to the standard, but are not 100% inter-
HV/MV substation, secondary substations, MV active and passive operable. In order to allow the DSO to exchange information and to
users and communication network. use the information that has been exchanged with DG users, in our
The innovative smart grid architecture, which implements an project we set up a data model5 (which is explained in more detail
integrated protection, automation and control system, is based on: in Section 7.1). The A2A data model guarantees the interoperability
between multi-vendor devices and allows the DSO to communicate
with all third party devices in the extended substation.
an extremely limited number of devices, with very high integra- The innovative applications are enabled by a communication
tion level; infrastructure based on a broadband always on technology that
an adequate redundancy; connects MV producers, passive customers, and the primary and
a high level of distributed intelligence;
a modern communication network;
a very high compatibility with standard market devices (not cus- 4
DG users can install the equipment they prefer, and there are multi-vendor
tomized); devices connected to the MV network.
a complete integration with devices installed in DG plants and IEC 61850 rigorously denes and standardizes logical nodes, data and data char-
acteristics required for interoperability; it also allows optional private LNs (Logical
the main loads that can be curtailed (controllable/interruptible Node), data and GGIOs (Generic Process Input Output) for managing the situations
loads). where standard models may be difcult to handle.
6 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Fig. 4. Architecture of Primary Substation.

secondary substations in order to create the extended substation6 connection (ring topology) ensures redundancy of communication
concept. The extended substation contains programmable devices, increasing the reliability of the whole protection and control system
known as Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), for control, monitor- with respect to a star connection. In addition, the overall reliability
ing, protection and automation; in addition to the IEDs, the project of the protection system is increased since we use a distributed fault
involves the installation of some electromechanical equipment selection algorithm (instead of centralized one based on a control
(such as circuit breakers along MV feeders) and sensors in order to center, e.g., PSCP) to accomplish fault selection.
integrate and optimize the innovative functions. Communication In fact, in this project, we propose a distributed fault selection
between levels 4, 3 and 1 is via Internet using IEC 61850 proto- algorithm, implemented in each protection relay (FPS). In this algo-
col. A backup communication channel (IEC 60870-5-101 over GPRS rithm, each protection relay does not need to receive a response
modem) is provided in order to ensure communication between from every neighbor protection relay. It only needs to receive a
levels 4, 3 and 1 in case of failure of the primary internet chan- response from one downstream protection relay as long as there
nel. The communication between levels 1 and 2 takes place by is one common available channel between them. In this way, our
means of Ethernet Substation LAN (Local Area Network). Finally, algorithm tolerates communication network congestion, commu-
the communication between levels 0 and 1 occurs in 60870-5-104 nication link failures, and protection relay failures.
3.1.1. Primary Substation Control Platform (level 1)
3.1. Primary Substation (level 1 and level 2) The Primary Substation Control Platform (PSCP) is the central
element in the automation and control of this smart grid imple-
The IEDs of Primary Substation are shown in Fig. 4. The IEC mentation. The PSCP provides all the functionalities of a modern
61850 communication between IEDs in the PS is peer-to-peer using SCADA and DMS (Distribution Management System); the tradi-
GOOSE (Generic Object Oriented Substation Events) over a substa- tional SCADA functionality, such as on-line network monitoring
tion LAN (ber optic ring) between a Router (Primary Substation data, is complemented with an advanced DMS database based on
Router, PSR) and IEDs. The PSR is connected to the internet network real-time and historic measurements and data; this enables new
via Ethernet port in order to realize the IEC 61850 serverclient real-time applications for improved network monitoring and out-
communication (over a WAN, Wide Area Network) between the Pri- age management. The PSCP allows both automatic and manual
mary Substation Control Platform (PSCP) and the peripheral IEDs. (by operator) orders to open/close or modify the state of each
The PSR is able to perform switching functions (for LAN commu- device in the distribution network. Dedicated components have
nication) and routing functions (for WAN communication). The been integrated in the PSCP for specic applications, including
Feeder Protection Systems (FPS) are connected to the substation topology analysis, load ow and fault current calculation, accurate
LAN with a direct connection to the ber optic ring. This type of state estimation and load and DG forecasting for network monitor-
ing, operations planning and contingency analysis; furthermore,
simulation is available for the purpose of training operators with
real situations.
The extended substation is an extension of control and protection system (a
The PSCP provides a supervisory control layer for the extended
concept which is already applied by IEC 61850 philosophy, but only to the primary substation including the protection systems in SS and DG plants.
substation) to all the MV distribution network users. Based on real-time measurements, and on the results of the
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 7

network and protection analysis, the PSCP implements the cen-

tralized voltage control algorithm that denes the best reactive
power set-points for all DG plants and the position of the OLTC
of HV/MV transformers in the PS. The PSCP uses state estimation
and real-time measurements to estimate power ows and voltage
proles before dispatching plants (reactive injections) according
to an Optimal Reactive Power Flow (ORPF).
The PSCP monitors the state of all resources in the system; the
active power algorithm is run every 10 min, and resulting con-
trol actions are sent back to each DG in order to modulate the
active power injections of DG according to distribution network
congestion (local issue) or to guarantee system reserve margin on
transmission network (global issue).
The PSCP determines also the optimal contribution of each gen-
eration plant in the perspective of a local dispatch; the optimization
routine is performed over the prediction horizon (e.g., 24 h) based
on load and renewables forecasts. Finally, the PSCP exports the load
and DG measurement (and forecast data) to the systems used to
operate the national transmission network by means of the exist-
ing data connection between DSO and TSO control systems. By this
link, the PSCP is also capable of receiving from the TSO modulation
signals for the DG units.

Fig. 5. Architecture of Smart Secondary Substation.

3.1.2. Protection and control IEDs (level 2)
The PS is equipped with further Intelligent Electronic Devices
As regards the telecommunication system, the Secondary Sub-
(IEDs) summarized as follows.
station Router (SSR) is connected to the Internet network via
Ethernet port in order to realize the IEC 61850 serverclient com-
Feeder Protection Systems (FPS), used for protection and automa- munication (over a WAN) between the IEDs of SSS and the IEDs
tion of MV feeders of the extended substation, that include (in of PS and DG users. The SSR is able to perform switching func-
addition to common protection functions7 ) also the directional tions (for LAN communication) and routing functions (for WAN
time overcurrent protection (67) needed to implement the inno- communication).
vative logic selectivity automation function with both radial and
meshed network. The FPS supports the IEC 61850 communication 3.3. DG user (level 4)
interface and allows the integration with the protection systems
in SSS and the Interface Protection Systems (IPS) for DG using The last element of the extended substation is the DG user,
send/receive GOOSE messages. which can be remotely controlled and monitored in the project by
Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR), that supports IEC 61850 PSCP; the possibility to communicate with DG enables the acqui-
communication protocol in order to receive GOOSE message, and sition of some interesting parameters (real-time measurements
then to pilot the OLTC of HV/MV transformers according to the on the load and on the power generated) and the possibility for
voltage control algorithm. the TSO/DSO to issue instructions (and to get feedback). According
to this architecture, DG plants can actively participate in energy
markets and provide dispatching resources, at the same level as
3.2. Smart Secondary Substation (level 3)
conventional power plants [9]. In fact, when properly integrated,
DG could provide ancillary services required by TSO such as real-
The IEDs and the other devices set up in the Smart Secondary
time balancing, frequency regulation, power reserve, congestion
Substation (SSS) are shown in Fig. 5.
management, and voltage control. As regards ancillary services for
distribution network, in addition to voltage and power ow control,
Feeder Protection Systems (FPS) is the same used in the Primary new services are possible in order to improve the security of supply
Substation; it supports the IEC 61850 communication interface and the quality of service; for instance, active and reactive power
and allows the integration with the other protection systems. reserve for voltage regulation, demand response and load rejection,
MV vacuum circuit breaker (CB) capable of interrupting from island operation of part of the network. However, some studies [10]
small inductive or capacitive load currents up to the short-circuit suggest that the value of the most feasible ancillary services will
current. be relatively low. Consequently, the market access of DG plants
Voltage and current sensors with a highly accurate and linear gained through these innovative IEDs will represent incremental
response over a wide range of measured quantities; current revenue opportunities, especially in circumstances without incen-
measurement is based on the Rogowski coil principle; voltage tive schemes (e.g., in a grid parity context) and where constraints
measurement is based on the resistive divider principle. restrict network development (e.g., environmental and planning
The IEDs of DG plant used to set up innovative protection and
control functions are shown in Fig. 6.
Instantaneous overcurrent relay (50) and time overcurrent relay (51) for pro-
tection against overloads and phase-to-phase short-circuits, residual instantaneous
The General Protection System (GPS) is used to detect faults in
overcurrent relay (50.N), residual time overcurrent relay (51.N), neutral overvoltage
(59.N), and ground directional overcurrent relay (67.N) for earth fault protection. In the users plant; it ensures the separation of the entire DG user
addition, the FPS is provided with auto-reclose function (79). installation from the network. The GPS supports the IEC 61850
8 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Fig. 6. Architecture of DG plant.

communication interface and allows integration with the protec- 3.4. Innovative functions of the project
tion systems in PS and in SSS using send/receive GOOSE messages.
The Interface Protection System (IPS) is used to disconnect DG The architecture described so far is designed to provide some
from the distribution network when Loss of Mains (LoM) appears new functionalities. According to the requirements of R.O. ARG/elt
(opening of the circuit breaker in the Primary Substation8 ); it 39/10 and to the operational needs of the DSO, the innovative func-
is able to discriminate between failures on the distribution net- tions proposed in the project are listed below.
work, in order to prevent islanding events, and to receive transfer
trip GOOSE messages from the upstream FPSs.
The Network Analyzer (NA) allows effective monitoring of real-
time electrical parameters: voltage, current, frequency, power (1) Implementing a new technique for automatic fault detection
factor, active and reactive power absorbed by loads and produced and isolation (logic selectivity and automatic network recongu-
by generators. The network analyzer supports the IEC 61850 com- ration), with the aim to reduce the number and the cumulative
munication interface and allows integration with the PSCP. duration of long and short interruptions (SAIFI and SAIDI).
The Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) allows the local control of DG (2) Increasing the IPS reliability by transfer trip message and voltage
active and reactive injections. The RTU, in the absence of com- unlock to prevent unwanted islanding and to improve continu-
munication (i.e., when the PSCP is not able to send the optimal P ity of service [11].
and Q set-points), if the voltage thresholds are violated, denes (3) Enforcing an innovative centralized voltage regulation, by coor-
new P and Q set-points according to the local voltage (i.e. a droop dination and modulation of DG reactive power injections, in
control). The generator operates at a variable power factor inject- order to improve the networks capability to accommodate DG
ing/absorbing reactive power from the network until voltage (Hosting Capacity [12]), the voltage quality and the energy ef-
limits (Vmax and Vmin ) are reached. In the absence of commu- ciency of the grid.
nication, the reactive power generated by the DG is null when (4) Enabling limitation/modulation of active power injections by DG
the network voltage is within acceptable levels, thus minimizing during contingency operation (by the DSO) or emergency con-
power losses introduced by a non-unit power factor DG injection. ditions (by the TSO).
Such a control strategy involves an amount of reactive power that (5) Enabling a local dispatch in order to determine the optimal set-
depends on voltage variations, until power factor limits are hit; in point (P and Q) for each generator according to distribution
this way voltage regulation actions are strictly related to network network conditions and to the transmission system require-
response. The ModBus protocol is used to interface RTU with the ments.
DG controller in order to implement the P and Q set-points. The (6) Making available measurements and forecasts of DG and load
RTU supports the IEC 61850 communication interface and allows every 20 s in order to allow the TSO to manage system security
integration with the PSCP. (and eventually the DSO to implement a local dispatch).

The DG User Router (DGUR) is connected to the Internet network

via Ethernet port in order to realize the IEC 61850 serverclient In the following, the paper is focused mainly on the automation
communication (over a WAN) between the IEDs of DG user and and protection function that represents the most important func-
the IEDs of PS and SSS. The DGUR is able to perform both switching tion for smart grid projects in Italian urban areas. The proposed
functions (for LAN communication) and routing functions (for WAN algorithms and operational schemes have been deeply investigated
communication). in order to make this solution replicable in other networks that
require a high QoS.
Furthermore, since the Lambrate project is still in progress, and
the relevant installations are not yet completed, we report the
results of some eld tests and measurements, which were carried
If auto-reclosing is applied (as in Italy), the DG units must be disconnected before
reclosing, to give enough time for the fault arc to extinguish, and to prevent damage
out, by means of IEDs installed ad hoc, in order to test the most
to DG units. important functions.
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 9

4. Logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration managed by switching devices along the lines (full circuit breakers
are not needed).
This function, related to the implementation of the extended The multi-phase fault technique allows the automatic selec-
substation, has the main goal to isolate the portion of the network tion of the faulty branch by means of the reclosing cycle of the
affected by a fault without resorting to fast reclosure of MV lines, MV circuit breaker operated by a relay, with non-directional detec-
even in the case of multi-phase faults with high current value. tion of multi-phase faults (5051). The simple rules performed by
Generally, distribution lines are protected by overcurrent relay- each automated switch, after the tripping of the CB in PS, are the
ing; the greatest advantage can be taken of the inverse-time following:
characteristic because the fault-current magnitude is determined
mostly by the fault location and is practically unaffected by changes (1) the switch is opened when there is a lack of voltage for a cer-
in generation or in the high-voltage transmission system. To assure tain time and the fault detector has been activated by the short
selectivity, the operating time of a given relay should be higher circuit;
than that of other relays downstream (i.e., nearer to the fault) and (2) the switch is closed (there is a priority order in case of more
with which the rst relay must be selective. However, since the switches) after the voltage restoration due to the reclosing of
coordination between circuit breakers is based on time grading of the circuit breaker (or of the switch) located upstream;
the relays, there are limitations to the maximum clearing time; (3) the switch is opened and locked in the open position when,
in practice it is possible to use only one circuit breaker (at the executing the closing operation according to step no. 2, there
beginning of the feeder), and it is necessary to develop automation is a lack of voltage and at the same time the activation of fault
strategies for the fault selection. detector, both within a time window starting from the close
position of the switch.
4.1. Distribution automation function adopted before the project
It has to be highlighted that the further improvements of SAIFI
The common practice for Italian MV networks consists of man- are hardly achieved by means of conventional network automation,
aging fault isolation by means of switches along MV feeders after which is mainly effective for improving SAIDI [1517]. Conversely,
tripping the CB in PS. The actual automation on MV network is based limiting the number of interruptions affecting customers can be
on a group of automatons resident in the RTU that equips these achieved by structural investments in the network (e.g., network
switches; such automatons operate fault detection and selection expansion by adding new primary stations), which are extremely
through actions and delays triggered locally by two signals: difcult to apply to urban areas. As a consequence, the logic
selectivity and automatic network reconguration tested in the
presence/absence of voltage at the line input;
experiment is an interesting alternative to improve the SAIFI value.
intervention of Fault Locators (FL).

4.2. Innovative distribution automation function proposed in the

There are two techniques for the fault selection respectively for
ground fault and for multi-phase fault [13].
The ground fault technique consists in automatic selection of a
In order to reduce the number of interrupted customers, also
single phase faulty branch by means of switches and fault detectors
in case of short circuits, the switches along MV feeders must be
along the MV line (without opening the circuit breaker atop the
replaced with circuit breakers able to clear fault currents; when a
line). The simple rules performed by each switch and fault detector
fault occurs in a section of the line and selectivity can be ensured,
are the following:
the circuit breaker installed along the line opens the fault before the
tripping of the circuit breaker in PS (all the customers connected
the switch is opened and locked, after a programmed delay, if the
upstream of the faulty section remain in service). As stated before,
earth FL is activated;
without a communication system, this solution is severely limited
the delay programmed for each switch is calculated according to
by the use of only one or, at most, two circuit breakers for each
the position along the feeder.
MV feeder; in this project, to increase the performance, the logic
selectivity is implemented.
Two cases are possible:
The strategy of logic selectivity proposed works as follows. A
protection placed on the nth line segment detects a fault, but does
(1) if the fault is not located in the rst section of the feeder, the not trip instantaneously. The trip is delayed for a certain time inter-
circuit breaker remains closed all the time the selection is per- val to allow receiving a block order (by GOOSE message) from
formed, avoiding any interruptions on the healthy line sections the n + 1 protection. If n + 1 protection detects a fault, n does not
located upstream the faulty one; operate (the fault is in the subsequent sections). On the contrary,
(2) if the fault is located in the rst section (immediately upstream if the n + 1 protection does not communicate the presence of a
the rst automated switch), the circuit breaker in the PS per- fault within 50 ms, then the circuit breaker piloted by the nth FPS
forms the reclosing cycle and (if needed) trips denitively. trips. This system is intrinsically safe: in the case of communica-
tion inconveniences the n protection will surely trip, although in an
This technique can be applied only for ground faults and only untimely manner. As a back-up protection, the nth circuit breaker
on MV networks equipped with a Petersen coil. In fact, thanks to trips although the subsequent relay communicates the presence of
the Petersen coil, the earth fault current is limited (50 A for the a fault, of course with a further delay. In other words, the block
specic application) and mainly resistive9 [14]. This current can be order remains valid for a limited time, equal to 50 ms. In addition
to a fault along a line, also a fault on the MV busbars can occur;
however, the clearing of this fault is obvious.
In Italy, the MV neutral connection to earth is made by means of an impedance
(Petersen coil + resistor in parallel); this impedance is usually connected directly by
means of a disconnector to the transformers neutral point of the MV winding. As
regards the earth impedance, two choices are possible: xed impedance (xed coil tunable + resistor). In all cases, thanks to this solution, the single phase earth fault
tunable off-load with taps + resistor); variable impedance (mobile coil continuously current is limited (typically 40/50 A) and mainly resistive.
10 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Fig. 7. Logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration normal operation.

In this project, in order to increase the performance, circuit (2) secondary sequence of maneuvers (via GOOSE and MMS mes-
breakers will be equipped with upgraded relays, able to communi- sages) to select the smallest faulty branch and proceed to repair
cate by IEC 61850 protocols [1820]. the fault (by the intervention of the crew in the eld).
The innovation of the protection scheme presented in this paper
is that the supply interruption caused by permanent or transient
Some of the new features of this scheme depend on communica-
faults, for healthy branches upstream and downstream the faulty
tions; the new solution presented in this paper is based on Internet
one, has a very limited duration and is classied as a transient
protocol which provides instant connectivity, secure and depend-
interruption (up to and including 1 s).
able access from anywhere. It is not necessary that all IEDs have
To obtain this goal, the logic selectivity function must be inte-
dedicated Ethernet network access [22]; Internet protocol gives
grated with the automatic network reconguration function: the
robust and reliable performances now, with scalable bandwidth
communication exibility provided by IEC 61850, which enables
and global expansion capabilities for the future. The possibility of
to send/receive data measured from one IED to another through
exploiting the existing infrastructure represents a dramatic cost
the communication network, is needed. Once the faulty branch is
reduction for the project.
precisely located by the IED, it trips the relevant CB (in order to
clear the fault) and sends a signal to a pre-selected CB to back feed
the healthy section of the line. Back feed maneuver by remote in 4.3. Example of logic selectivity and automatic network
a very short time guarantees that, when logic selectivity operates, reconguration
the network area affected by a fault is strongly reduced compared
to actual systems [21]. In fact, only the faulty branch will be dis- The advanced automation system operates according to the fol-
connected from the system, while in common protection schemes lowing steps.
a trip involves the loss of all branches downstream the faulty
The logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration, for 4.3.1. Conguration of relay settings
multi-phase faults on a radial distribution network, works as fol- During normal operation, the PSCP, based on the topology of
lows (the trip logic of the proposed scheme is detailed in Section the network, enables each FPS through MMS messages to the
4.3): subscription of all GOOSE messages published only by down-
stream FPS and identies the further downstream FPS (for the
network reconguration phase) for each feeder; the possible FPSs
belonging to other feeders that can be used to enable back feed are
(1) primary sequence of maneuvers (via GOOSE messages) to select also selected. In addition, the PSCP enables each IPS through MMS
as soon as possible the faulty branch, disconnect DG plants messages to the subscription of all GOOSE messages published
and restore the supply to as many customers as possible while only by upstream FPSs (Fig. 7, where X means not enabled to
repairing the isolated fault (carried out by network recongu- subscribe, 0 enabled to subscribe, 1 message subscribed). In this
ration); way, it is possible to draw the sequence of switching steps of the
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 11

Fig. 8. Logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration primary sequence of maneuvers.

automation, and the individual IED specic setting les including 4.3.3. Secondary sequence of maneuvers
the logic scheme in order to make the fault selection faster. After the primary sequence of maneuvers is over, the secondary
sequence of maneuvers starts. The faulty FPS (FPS-2b) performs
a reclosing cycle (O-0,3CO-30CO-70CO-70CO); the rst reclosing
4.3.2. Primary sequence of maneuvers shot is carried out with an auto-reclosure dead time (ta ) equal to
When a fault occurs (ground fault or multi-phase fault, point 300 ms followed, in the case of a permanent fault, by other reclosing
A in Fig. 8), the primary sequence of maneuvers operates in the shots operated after a programmable time (tp ). At this point, two
following way: situations can occur.

(1) If the fault is transient, the rst reclosing shot operates suc-
each FPS upstream of the fault (detecting a fault) publishes a cessfully: the fault is extinguished, the downstream customers
GOOSE message DOWNSTREAM FAULT ON (in Fig. 8, the FPS, only suffer a transient interruption. In addition, the faulty FPS
the FPS-1a, the FPS-1b, the FPS-2a and FPS-2b); changes its GOOSE message transfer trip upstream FSP ON
within 50 ms, the upstream FPSs subscribe the blocking order, in transfer trip upstream FSP OFF reconnecting all DG plants
and are prevented from operating because the fault is in the sub- after a suitable delay (30 s).
sequent sections (Fig. 8, the FPS, the FPS-1a, the FPS-1b, and the (2) If the fault is permanent, after the rst reclosing shot, a new
FPS-2a); overcurrent affects the protection system: the auto-reclosing
the only FPS (Fig. 8, the FPS-2b, called faulty FPS) which does equipment is blocked and the system operates as follows. If
not subscribe any GOOSE message (it is not receiving any block- the faulty branch is not the last branch of the feeder, the faulty
ing order) is the one nearest to the fault on consequently it will FPS changes the GOOSE message OPENING DOWNSTREAM FPS
trip the relevant circuit breaker; at the same time, it changes its OFF in OPENING DOWNSTREAM FPS ON in order to open the
GOOSE message transfer trip upstream FSP OFF into transfer rst downstream FPS (FPS-3a in Fig. 9).
trip upstream FSP ON; as mentioned above, this message can be When the FPS opens the relevant circuit breaker, the faulty
subscribed only by downstream IPSs that disconnect their gen- FPS automatically will enable the back-feed, changing its
eration within 150 ms (Fig. 8, the IPS3) [23]. GOOSE message BACK-FEED OFF to BACK-FEED ON.
The FPS on the back-feed line (FPS-na in Fig. 9) subscribes the
message and closes the relevant circuit breaker; in this way,
In this way, the isolation of the fault occurs in a single opera- after the back-feed restoration, all customers only suffer a
tion, before the tripping of the circuit breaker in PS, ensuring the transient interruption.
continuity of supply for the healthy sections of the feeder; all the Finally, the PSPC sends an MMS message to the IPSs in order
customers connected to the upstream sections remain in service to operate in the local mode till the recovery of standard
and only suffer a voltage dip (Fig. 8, all customers connected to operating conditions.
SSS-1 and SSS-2). Since the setting of all relays is the same along
the feeder, the use of several circuit breakers is allowed, with a The logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration
decisive advantage in terms of QoS. procedure is also described in Fig. 10, where the solid line indicates
12 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Fig. 9. Logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration secondary sequence of maneuvers.

the status of the FPS-2b and the dashed one indicates the status of extinguish, and to prevent damage to the users equipment [24].
FPS-3a. For customers with special QoS requirements (and also to prevent
This innovative system achieves full selectivity, even with transient interruptions for other customers), coordination systems
regard to faults in the users plant, increasing reliability and avail- could be based on an exchange of information between DSO and
ability of the entire line. The DSO does not install any protective user protection systems. To reach this goal, the GPS is included
devices at the users plant PCC. Consequently, to prevent the faults in the selectivity chain as an FPS; in the case of a fault in the
in the users plant from affecting the distribution network, the users plant, the GPS sends a block order to all upstream FPSs and
user must install the GPS consisting of a maximum phase current trips the relevant circuit breaker without interruption to the other
and earth fault protection relay (as prescribed in Italian connec- customers.
tion rules). At present, the coordination between DSO FPS and user In addition, the clearing time of the fault/short circuit (tF) is the
GPS is achieved (when possible) by introducing a short time delay, same along the MV network, independently of the number of cir-
in compliance with automatic reclosing cycle (O 400 ms C) on cuit breakers, leading to a signicant increase in voltage quality. The
the MV network; the GPS must open the relevant CB in 120 ms consequences of the proposed innovation in terms of reducing the
(before DSO reclosure), to give enough time for the fault arc to number of long and short interruptions per MV and LV customers

Fig. 10. Timing and operating scheme of logic selectivity and automatic network reconguration function.
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 13

Table 2
Failures occurred in 2013 on the three smart feeders.

Interruption Feeder Date Interruption Fault type


1 LA 23067 21/10/2013 11:13 Long Short circuit

2 LA 23067 27/06/2013 20:29 Short Ground fault
3 LA 23067 03/07/2013 00:17 Long Ground fault
4 LA 23067 30/03/2013 19:32 Long Ground fault
5 LA 23064 01/07/2013 10:05 Long Ground fault
6 LA 23128 30/05/2013 19:35 Short Short circuit

are evident. The critical aspect of this function is related to the per-
formance of the communication system: extremely short latency
(some tens of milliseconds) and high availability and reliability are
required, even when the electric system faces critical situations,
e.g., during faults on the MV system.

4.4. Preliminary network results

Some eld measurements were performed by means of ad hoc

relays installed only for testing purposes; the relays are not elec-
trically connected to the relevant circuit breakers. In case of fault, Fig. 11. IPS operation logic scheme.
the SCADA system records the relays activities but no trip signal is
sent to the circuit breaker; in this way, it is possible to reconstruct
city of Milan; the improvement with respect to the results recorded
the system behavior. Based on the events recorded during 2013
in 2013 would lead both the SAIFI index and the SAIDI index to
(and on the relevant consequences in terms of QoS), it is possible
respect the QoS requirements imposed by the Italian Energy Regu-
to estimate the improvements obtained with the new architecture.
Table 2 shows for year 2013 the network faults on feeders involved
in the project and the relevant characteristics.
The proposed automation allows the automatic selection of the 5. Innovative IPS: selecting local faults and transmission
MV faulty branch as well as the automatic supply of the MV healthy events
branches upstream and downstream the faulty one.
A dry test took place in the period MarchOctober 2013 and In order to ensure the proper functioning of IPS with respect to
revealed: the security of transmission networks and the safety, reliability and
continuity of service of distribution networks (and of DG users), in
the percentage of successful signal exchange; the project we adopted an innovative logical scheme that allows the
the average improvement in the number of times per year that IPS to discriminate between failures on the distribution network
the supply to a customer is interrupted (SAIFI); (possible islanding events) and disturbances on the transmission
the average improvement in the amount of time per year that the networks. As shown in Fig. 11, this solution is based on the use of
supply to a customer is interrupted (SAIDI). remote signals (transfer trip). To reach high reliability levels (a fail-
safe operation) the proposed architecture is able to operate with
For each fault, we recorded the response of protection system and without communication.
dening the fault section (and the relevant group of interrupted
customers) and the time that the supply to a customer is inter- 5.1. IPS operation with a communication system
rupted (Table 3).
Data coming from tests show the following improvements with The novel strategy for IPS operation is mainly based on the
respect to the results obtained with the previous automation in two presence of a suitable communication system, and is capable of
different scenarios. protecting distribution networks and DG units from islanded oper-
ation, without the need of narrow overfrequency/underfrequency
In the rst scenario, we activate only the logic selectivity func- settings, which could be dangerous for the operation of the inter-
tion: the SAIFI index for these three feeders is equal to 1.179 connected transmission system.
(still higher than the target value, which is equal to 1) and the In more detail, when communication is active, islanding risks
SAIDI index is equal to 14.382 min (lower than the target value, are managed with transfer trip a low sensitivity setting prole of
which is equal to 25 min), with an improvement of 39% and 53%, voltage/frequency protections is enabled in IPS (f.i. 47.551.5 Hz,),
respectively. in order to disconnect DG only if LoM occurs (or for a severe
In the second scenario, we activate the logic selectivity and auto- transmission network incident, leading to extreme deviations of
matic network reconguration function: the SAIFI index for these the frequency from 50 Hz). Moreover, with this protective strat-
three feeders is equal to 0.569 (well below than the target value) egy, nuisance tripping due to faults on MV adjacent feeders, or to
and the SAIDI index is equal to 11.626 min (lower than the target disturbances on transmission networks are avoided, and DG may
value), with an improvement of 70% and 62%, respectively. contribute to recover emergency conditions of the whole systems.

In only one event (fault no. 4 in Table 3) the communication 5.2. IPS local operation
system did not perform the exchange of information in the time
required. Unfortunately, the performance of the communication system
For a preliminary estimation of the benets, one can extend the cannot be guaranteed for 100% of time (see Section 7.2.2 for maxi-
results of this test to the whole distribution network of A2A in the mum latency measured), especially in a project where shared TLC
14 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Table 3
Results of new protection system.

Interruption Group of Previous automation New automationlogic selectivity New automationlogic selectivity and
customers automatic network reconguration

Interrupted Duration of Interrupted Duration of Interrupted Duration of

customers interruption [s] customers interruption [s] customers interruption [s]

1 1594 240 1454 0.151 1454 0.151

2 170 279 646 279 646 0.752
3 640 960 564 1406 564 1406
4 260 1406
1 1050 152 542 0.158 542 0.158
2 2 1437 1089 1475 250 1475 0.751
3 177 1820 647 1820 647 1820
1 978 279 542 0.15 542 0.15
3 2 1318 882 1475 279 1475 0.75
3 368 2038 647 2038 647 2038
1 880 181 542 181 542 181
4 2 152 202 1475 202 1475 202
3 1576 1772 647 1772 647 1772
1 230 2376 459 0.157 459 0.157
5 2 1668 2503 1663 280 1663 0.755
3 608 3085 384 3085 384 3085
6 1 3455 147 3455 0.152 3455 0.152

infrastructures are exploited. As a consequence, it is necessary to parameters indicated in EN 50160 are monitored on a sample of
improve the local operation of IPS, activated when the communi- buses, belonging to transmission and distribution networks: from
cation channel is unavailable. In this case, as in the case before, the this point on, the focus is mainly on the HV monitoring system
disconnection of DG for an extreme transmission network incident (MONIQUE [25]). Table 4 reports the average number of voltage dips
is guaranteed by IPS wider settings. Conversely, during a fault on the due to poly-phase faults measured per voltage-quality recorder in
distribution network, the disconnection of DG is guaranteed by acti- the HV busses in the area of Lambrate. These gures are given per
vating on the IPS high sensitivity frequency settings (49.850.2 Hz); class of duration and residual voltage; we are only interested in
this activation is related to the presence of particular voltage con- voltage dips with duration <200 ms (after this time, the protection
ditions on the distribution network, measured by the same IPS. In 27 trips directly, and there is no interest in investigating the perfor-
particular, sensitive settings are activated by means of one of the mance of voltage unlock). The analysis of these values shows that a
following functions (voltage unlock, no direct trip): 27.V1 relays voltage setting equal to 0.4 p.u. avoids the trip of the
IPS for the 94% of the faults on the transmission network.
residual overvoltage protection (59.N) to detect phase to ground After this preliminary choice, the second step of the analysis
faults; consists in assessing the possibility of using the voltage unlock relay
negative-sequence overvoltage protection (59.V2) to detect two- threshold with the goal to discriminate faults on the feeder where
phase faults; DG is connected from faults on adjacent feeders. We exploited some
positive-sequence undervoltage protection (27.V1) to detect simulations on the network of the project in order to study the
three-phase (and two-phase) faults. oscillations of frequency and voltage at the PCC of DG units in case
of some specic faults.
In this way the IPS will be able to recognize variations in fre- Three-phase, two-phase and single-phase to ground faults are
quency due to the LoM and to separate DG plants from network simulated at feeder LA 23128, LA 23066 and LA 23067 in three dif-
in a short time (before the rst fast reclosing in order to avoid an ferent positions: rst bus, last bus and in the middle of the feeder in
out-of-synchronism reconnection). terms of electrical distance. A total of 27 simulations were carried
To investigate the real capability of the IPS of discriminating out and the performance of the IPS in each case was assessed. In
MV events from all other events, we dened two kinds of events on the gures, we report some signicant cases analyzed.
distribution networks, as described below. In Fig. 12 the voltage and frequency oscillations measured at the
PCC of DG 3 are shown for three-phase fault at the end of feeder LA
Local events: faults located in the same feeder of the DG con- 23128 (local event). The fault occurs at 0.1 s and the disconnection
nection, for which the IPS has to trip in a short time (to avoid of the faulted feeder by means of the overcurrent protection occurs
islanding). at 0.246 s (origin of the islanding). After the fault, the voltage goes
External events: faults outside the DG feeder (typically faults on beyond the 27.V1 threshold and sensitive frequency threshold
transmission networks and faults on adjacent feeders), for which 81.S1 are activated. Thanks to narrow frequency settings, the gen-
DG has to remain connected (no IPS tripping). erator is separated at 0.379 s (0.2 s after the fault event); similarly,

The proper operation of voltage unlock is ensured only if appro-

priate settings for the relays are applied: nding the settings for
voltage unlock was achieved by means of suitable tests. Table 4
Average data for voltage dips recorded on transmission networks.

5.3. Preliminary network results Residual voltage [%] Number of dips [20/200 ms]

90 > u > 80 27
The rst step in order to coordinate the voltage unlock relay 80 > u > 70 10
is to dene a suitable voltage setting (27.V1), that is able to dis- 70 > u > 40 8
criminate between faults on transmission network and faults on 40 > u > 5 3
5>u>0 0
distribution network. In Italy since the beginning of 2006, all VQ
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 15

Fig. 12. 3 Ph fault at the end of feeder LA 23128 positive sequence voltage (above) and frequency at DG3s PCC (below).

DG 6 is separated from the grid and the islanding operation of oscillations at PCC of one DG unit installed on another Primary
feeder LA 23128 is extinguished before the automatic reclosing. Substation for three-phase fault at the top of feeder LA 23128
Now the external event is investigated. The undervoltage mea- (external event). This short circuit occurs very close to the PS
sured at the DG 4 lasts till the opening of the faulty feeder. Because and, because of the small electrical distance between the fault
of the high electrical distance between the DG unit and the short and the PCC, voltage drop at the DG unit is enough to trigger the
circuit, the PCC voltage drop is not enough to trigger the 27.V1 27.V1 unlock. Furthermore, the frequency oscillation exceeds the
and IPS continues to operate with permissive frequency thresh- restrictive setting 81>.S1 and the DG plant is disconnected even
olds; anyway, frequency oscillations are low and DG unit is not if the fault is located in an adjacent feeder (i.e. nuisance trip-
disconnected from the grid. Fig. 13 shows the voltage and frequency ping).

Fig. 13. 3 Ph fault at the top of feeder LA 23128 positive sequence voltage (above) and frequency at DGs PCC (below).
16 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Table 5
Result summary for MV faults.

Fault Relays proper Nuisance unlock Nuisance tripping

functioning activation (external (external events)
(internal events) events)

3 ph Yes Yes Yes

2 ph Yes Yes No
1 ph Yes Yes No

The results show that the innovative IPS is not completely effec-
tive in case of single-phase to ground fault (Table 5). In fact, the
residual voltage reaches the same value in the whole MV network
and the activation of restrictive setting for the action of 59.N volt-
age unlock can occur even for events far from the PCC. These events
are properly managed only by transfer trip signals (not in the local

6. Innovative voltage control Fig. 14. Local voltage control strategy.

As for voltage quality standards, the steady-state voltage limits

in the MV distribution system are 10% of the rated voltage (EN
5016010 ). In a passive network the voltage prole decreases along
the feeder. However, with DG connected, the voltage prole is no
longer monotonic and DG can lead to serious overvoltages for other
customers connected to the same feeder; if properly managed, DG
can contribute to sustain feeders voltage prole. Furthermore, the
voltage set-point of the MV bus bar in primary substations may not
be correct due to the wrong management of On-Load Tap Changer
(OLTC) in the presence of inverse power ow.
In order to overcome this strong limitation and to increase the
hosting capacity of the network without requiring any new infra-
structure, the project implements a voltage regulation by GD. In the
project, two different regulation strategies are adopted. In a Local
control strategy each generator operates without coordination with
other devices, and communication infrastructures are not required.
However, in an electrical network each regulation action affects the
voltage of all buses of the system: for that reason voltage prole and
reactive power ow could be non-optimal if a local strategy is used.
Conversely, in a Global control strategy, all regulation resources Fig. 15. Voltage prole along a feeder.
are coordinated and equipment is adjusted remotely in order to
obtain an optimum voltage prole; this approach is quite similar
to the scheme usually adopted for the transmission networks. This
same production of reactive power according to the technical limit
second approach assures a better working point for the distribu-
of the generator. In a further stage, the control actions of each DG
tion network but requires an integration between power network,
unit will be coordinated at a centralized level (PS level).
telecommunication infrastructure, state estimation procedure and
optimal power ow.
In the rst phase of the project, a simplied control strategy is 6.1. Preliminary network results
adopted (Fig. 14): each generator operates without coordination
with other generators or network devices (local voltage control, Some preliminary tests have been carried out on the Lambrate
the only strategy viable in the absence of communication systems). network: the Hosting Capacity for voltage constraint (10% Vn)
In order to mitigate the voltage prole, when a particular voltage has been calculated modulating the reactive power injection of the
threshold in the DG Point of Common Coupling is reached (such generators for different scenarios. In passive condition feeder LA
as 1.08 Vn), the generator is controlled to absorb reactive power 23128 has the higher voltage prole and feeder LA 23067 presents
with a xed power factor (such as 0.95). The method comprises the lower one.
two conditions: a normal operating situation, where no control In the case studied, the over-voltage always occurs in the last
action is required, and a situation where the voltage thresholds bus of the feeder, for this reason only the power factor of DG unit
(V1 or V2) are violated. In the latter case, the generator oper- installed in last bus is changed from 1 to 0.9.
ates at a not-unitary power factor injecting/absorbing reactive In these cases the voltage prole decreases and the level of
power from the network according to the local voltage (compound GD capacity that can be accommodated (HC) raises. In Fig. 15 the
curve). voltage prole for feeder LA 23067 with cos = 0.9 is shown. The
If this action is not enough to control voltage, it is also possible prole increases monotonically along the feeder but the voltage
to curtail the injection of DG active power, thus maintaining the constraint is met only at the end of the feeder. As a side effect, the
current on the feeder increases because of DG operation at non-
unitary power factor; only in extreme cases, thermal constraints are
The last edition of EN 50160 allows a deviation up to 115% for 1% of time. violated.
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 17

7. Communication system users; we made use of the well-known IEC 61850 protocol [28],
originally developed for the management of the HV stations. The
7.1. Architecture publisher/subscriber method used in GOOSE messaging provides
an efcient and fast means of sharing information between all IEDs
The communication infrastructure used in the project is based in an extended substation. The inherent quality validation of GOOSE
on a broadband, always on technology to connect MV gen- messages, and the condition monitoring of the physical communi-
erators, smart secondary substations and primary substations; it cation link, increase reliability and allow alerting the operator (or
uses public Internet by ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) even automatically changing the system parameters) in case any
technology as Telecommunication (TLC) support. Communication abnormal condition is detected.
among all the devices is fully based on IEC 61850 standard. To complete the denition of the extended substation, and to
Telecommunications is the enabling technology to carry out ensure interoperability between devices from different manufac-
the whole project. In principle, all the modern wire-based (ADSL, turers, it is necessary to proceed with its conguration; after this
optical ber, etc.) or wireless (3G, Wi-Max, Wi-Fi, etc.) com- step the Lambrate system, built according to the specications of
munications systems can be used, taking into account that new IEC 61850, will be able to actually work.
applications require, as described above, an always on broadband The development of the data model for the control of DG plants
connection between some selected busses of the MV distribution was made mostly with Logical Node (LN) classes existing in the
network. standard; however, in some specic cases, it was necessary to
In order to dene the communication network, it is also extend the standard with new objects. The messages were grouped
important to establish its architecture, i.e. specifying a system of into the following categories, based on the information content:
addresses that will be used to identify each device for communica-
tion purposes. The proposed solution involves the development of Plant characteristics, which includes the plant identication (this
two different types of networks with different IP addresses groups. LN contains the information for the plant identication in the DSO
The aim is to create: database), the physical device information (to identify the device
for the plant monitoring) and the operational characteristics at
a local communication network for each DG user that ensures the PCC (operational data of each DG plant);
the exchange of messages between DGUR and other devices of DG characteristics, which denes the characteristics of the gen-
the DG users plant (i.e. GPS, IPS, etc.); erators (rated value, operational range);
a communication network of the DSO that allows messages to be State of the plant, which denes the operational state of the plant
exchanged between PSR and DGURs, as well as between PSR and and includes the DG controller status (this LN denes the set-
other devices in PS (i.e. PSCP, FLSs, VAR). point, regulation function, alarms for each device of DG plant),
and the status information (to show the status of the plant, such
The advantage of this solution is that the two communica- as the operational time, the total energy injected/absorbed, etc.);
tion networks are completely independent, both from the point of Operative parameters of DG plant, which includes the supervisory
view of management (costs, maintenance, communications secu- control (this LN allows the parameters of the set-point operative
rity) and from the point of view of operation. In this context, the mode to be set), the operation mode in order to provide ancil-
DGUR of each DG user becomes the interface between the two dif- lary services (to activate the set-point operative mode for each
ferent communication networks. In fact, in the smart grid view, function);
two interfaces are to be considered between the DSO and the user Plant measurements, which is used to exchange real time mea-
domains: the interface between the communication system of the surements of the DG plant.
DSO and the DG users one is the DGUR; the interface between the
MV network of the DSO and the network of the DG user is the Point In order to prove the interoperability and the proposed data
of Common Coupling (coincident with the GPS). model for the control of DG plants, we have chosen to use equip-
The communications system used in the project is described ment from different manufacturers for the DSO network and for the
below (Fig. 16). DG users network. In this way, to carry out the innovative func-
tionalities of the project, all the equipment will have to use the
Primary Substation primary links same data model provided by A2A. This choice ensures maximum
Fiber Optic Link with CWDM technology download/upload replicability on a large scale (the entire network of A2A) of the pro-
band of 10 Mbps posed solutions, requiring limited additional future developments.
Secondary Substations and DG users primary links In fact, it is possible to use the technical solutions proposed in a
ADSL 4 Mbps/512 kbps down/up (minimum guaranteed: general manner (deployment) on all the network and connect all
256 kbps) type of generators with equipment from different manufacturers
ADSL conguration: Fast with the only constraint that the A2A data model is adopted.
Standard: ITU-T G.992
Quality parameters: 7.2. Communication network test and results
asymmetric conguration: latency = 20 ms;
jitter = 6 ms for 95% of the connections; The telecommunications system is the enabling factor for the
cell loss = 104 for 95% of the connections; implementation and proper operation of the innovative functions
described so far. In fact, ICT will allow a strong improvement of QoS,
In the literature, the issue of cyber security is widely men- and enable DG to provide a real contribution to the security and
tioned; Virtual Private Network (VPN) technologies such as IPsec reliability of the whole power system. Furthermore, ICT will intro-
and Secure Socket Layer should at least be available to provide duce more exibility in the connection and access services, and will
increased security in the future [26,27]. In our project, a Virtual facilitate the participation of DG in the ancillary service and energy
Private Network (VPN) of level 2 is used to link all IEDs. For markets. In the A2A Lambrate project we decided to use the exist-
communication protocols, as requested by the selection process, ing public Internet as TLC support. This choice is very challenging:
only standard protocols of an open and non-proprietary type are one of the project goals is to prove that it is possible to use a pub-
admitted for any communication applications involving network lic communication network (instead of a dedicated communication
18 M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219

Fig. 16. Architecture of communication system.

TEST SYSTEM (400 ms on the Lambrate MV distribution network). According to

mbrate Politecnico di
d Milano this criterion, the results are classied as follows:
Primary Substa
S on Cogenerattion Site
if the transfer trip message sent by FPS arrives at the IPS in a
innovave innovave time that is less than 150 ms, the protection system is considered
FPS IPS efcient;
if the transfer trip message sent by innovative FPS arrives to the
ON SYSTEM and GOOSE messages
innovative IPS in a time that is greater than 150 ms (or does not
TRANSFER TRIP arrive), the protection system is considered inefcient.
7.2.2. Test and results
TRANSFER TRIP The rst tests are based on the existing public Internet with ADSL
Internet and Wi-Max technologies: a standard IP connection is used, both
KEEP ALIVE at the master and at the slave relay.
With respect to availability/reliability, the initial testing in an
Fig. 17. Testing and communication systems developed in the project. urban environment showed (Fig. 18) a reliability of the data channel
fully compatible with the needs of the distribution system.
network) to exchange signals for the operation, control and protec- In a time span of a whole week, over a distance of about 3 km,
tion of the MV distribution networks even in the presence of very more than 20,000 transfer tests were performed (samples). As
strict performance requirements. For this reason, before starting shown in the graph, 100% of the tests were successful; the time
the project, in order to prove the speed and the reliability of the occurring for a communication is shown in Fig. 18 (response time),
public Internet,11 some tests were carried out. and is less than 100 ms in practically all cases. This is fully com-
patible with the application (innovative IPS management), which
7.2.1. Test bed setup would work even with a longer response time. It has to be noticed
A testing system was setup in the city of Milan in two different that the application we propose is related to small-size DG units,
locations; at the Lambrate PS and at the cogeneration site of Politec- widely scattered over the network. When considering the per-
nico di Milano (a future DG user of the project): innovative FPS and formances of such a system (made up of many small units), a
IPS were installed, see Fig. 17. As for communication channels, VPN probabilistic criterion has to be used: this allows accepting reliabil-
over ADSL connection and over Wi-Max connection were exploited ity levels less than the ones required for the protection of a small
between FPS and IPS. number of huge power plants (as the ones on the main transmission
The aims of the test are to highlight the technological feasibility system).
of the application and its possible limitations, and to identify the
efciency rate of the innovative IPS protection system based on real
life results.
Tests have been performed causing the transmission of the
transfer trip GOOSE message from the master relay and measuring
the time difference between the relays real time clocks at message
transmission and reception. An NTP server was used in order to
keep the real time clocks synchronized.
A time limit of 150 ms was admitted between the transmis-
sion and reception of transfer trip messages; this allows DG to be
surely disconnected before the rst cycle of automatic reclosing

At least in urban (and sub-urban) contexts such as Milan, the Internet is widely
available with a good level of exchange performances. Fig. 18. Public Internet (ADSL and Wi-Max technologies) transfer trip results.
M. Delfanti et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 120 (2015) 219 19

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