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Power System Protection
Gene rators are m ost expens ive e quipme nt in the power system.
The ge nerator represents the most complicated unit & demands
Unit I: contd expe nsive protection system compris ing a large numbe r of
protective relays.

The protective system of gene rator mus t be carefully chose n since

Protection of Generator: an inadvertent ope ration of the relay is almost as s erious failure to
This is because the disconne ction of a la rge generator may
overload the rest of the system. On the other ha nd, failure to clea r
a fault promptly may ca use extens ive damage to the genera tor &
may again lead to disruptive of the whole system.
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Continued Major Faults & abnormal conditions in case of generator:

Another difficulty with the generator protection system is the 1. Failure of insulation of the stator or rotor winding
fact that, unlike other equipments, opening a CB to isolate the 2. Unbalance loading
defective generator is not enough to prevent further damage, 3. Field failure
since the generator will continue to supply power to its OWN 4. Over load
fault until its field excitation has been suppressed. 5. Over voltage

Therefore, it is necessary to remove field supply, shut-off the 6. Failure of prime mover

steam, water or fuel supply to the prime mover, trip the boiler 7. Loss of synchronism

8. Over speed
& shut-0ff all the auxiliaries of the generator.
9. Under frequency
10. Over heating
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Protective schemes are employed for generator protection D ifferential Protection of Generator:
( g eneral):
1. Differential protection Cases & Consequences of Stator Insulation Failure:
2. Inter-turn fault protection
3. Stator e/f protection The breakdown of ins ula tion may result in fa ult between
4. o/c & e/f protection conductors or between conductor & iron core.
5. Rotor e/f protection
The breakdown may be ca used by over voltage or by over
6. Negative phase-sequence protection
7. Field failure protection heating which in turn can be ca use d by over-loads, unba lanced
8. Over load protection currents, ventilation troubles, failure of cooling of system etc.
9. Over voltage protection
It may also be cause d by damage to the ins ulation by conductor
10. Reverse power protection
11. Pole slipping protection movement due to forces exe rte d by short-circuits O R out-of-s tep
12. Back up impedance protection condition.
13. Under frequency protection
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Continued Continued

Obvious ly, the s hort circuit currents cause d by these faults can
However, the grounding impe dance greatly influences the protection
cause e normous da mage to the gene rator winding & core.
offered by differential relays in case of ground faults in the
Hence, these fa ults s hould be cleared by high spe ed
instantaneous relays.

Faults be twee n conductors can sometimes be re paire d by It is usual practice to limit the earth fault current to a very low value,

retaping or re placing the conductor, but fa ults be twe en hence separate e/f protection is rese rved for phase faults only as the

conductor & iron lamination are a se rious matte r becaus e the fault current in this case will be very high as it is limited by the

ARC (due to fa ult) may sinte r the laminations together which reactance of the generator only.

may necessitates rebuilding the core.

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Continued Continued.
Figure 2 shows that the voltage across the relay coil is zero in case of
Figure 1 shows the sim plifie d scheme of differe ntia l protection. The
protection is a unit system of prote ction & it responds to internal external fault & he nce the relay does not operate. However if emf

faults only. It must be stable against external faults. induced in secondaries of CT1 & CT2 are not e qual or if the relay is not
connected at the equipote ntial points, the re will be some voltage across
the relay coil. Such problem can be solved by biased differential relay or
stabilizing resistance.

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Continued Continued..
Figure 3 confirms that the relay will certainly ope rates in cas e of
For the gene rator differentia l protection, identical CTs & re lay
external fa ult. It is assumed that the power system will feed the fault
connection s hould fulfill the basic require ment. But ideally
through CT2.
identica l CTs & e qua l lea d le ngths (from CT1 to relay & CT2 to
relay) can not be obtained in practice.

If the lead lengths a re not equal, a djustable extra res istances

can be connected in se ries with pilot wires s o tha t the re lay coil
is connected to the e quipotential points (or for non ide ntical
CTs, a biased differential relay can be used).

The biased differentia l relay can be set to pick up at 5% of CT

rating and % bias setting is usually about 10%.
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Continued Continued...
Referring figure 4 below & for the worst condition
Lm1, Lm2 Magnetizing Inductances of CT1 & CT2
Anothe r way to solve the problem of non-identical CTs & unequal
RCT CT secondary resistance
lead lengths is by the us e of stabilizing resis tance in se rie s with the RL lead resistance
relay coil. RR relay resistance
LR relay inductance
The value of the stabiliz ing resista nce ca n be find out by RSTAB stabilizing resistance.
cons ide ring the worst case i.e. absolute sa tura tion of one of CT
while other is working in its linear range.

This is the s imple way of assessing the crite ria of sta bility against
through fa ults, since if the relay setting is greate r than the s pill
current calculated by this method, stability is assured.

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Continued Continued.
Figure 5 shows the equivalent circuit of figure 4.
The current throug h relay IR as given in above equation ca n be
From fig 5, voltage across the relay VR,
limited by connecting e xtra sta bilizing res istance Rsta b in series with
VR = IR (RR + XR) = if (RCT + RL)
Normally LR is small & hence XR << RR the relay coil. IR will then reduced to

The desired value of s tabiliz ing res istance can be ca lculate d from the

where IS = pick up setting of the relay

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Continued Example:
A gene rator having rate d curre nt equal to 1000 A is to be protected
Rstab need not to be as high as indicate d by equation above, it by circulating current diffe rentia l relay using s tabiliz ing res istor. T he
can be about 1/3rd of this value. through fa ult stability is re quired upto 10 times full loa d current.

The sta bilizing res istance ass ures stability agains t e xte rnal faults Assuming one set of CTs at one end completely sa tura ted. CT ratio

& also avoids unwanted ope ration of the relay due to unequal is 1000/1 amp. CT s econda ry res istance = 0.05 ohm a nd total lead

lead lengths. burden = 1 ohm (from CT to relay), determine the required

stabilizing resis tance. Relay picks up at 0.1 A and re lay has res istive
burden of 50 ohm.

Solution: using the equation

VR = if (RCT + RL)

= 10x1 (0.05 + 1) 18

= 10 (1.05) = 10.5 volts

Continued. Continued
Using equation Rstab = V R/ Is RR
Protecti ve scheme:

= 10.5 / 01 x 50 Figure shows AC control circuits

of generator differential
= 55 ohm
protection. Surge diverters

Thus diverts the high frequency

stabilizing resistance should have a value less than 55 ohm. transient surges so that NO
unwanted tripping occur
because of short duration
transient spikes.

SD surge diverter
19 NGT- neural grounding transformer 20


Continued. Inter-turn fault Protection:

The sta r connected gene rator considered here as they a re The incidence turn to turn fa ult is very rare. One method of
common. detecting inte r turn faults is by employing voltage tra nsforme r with

Differential prote ction opera tes insta ntaneous ly, be cause the tertiary connected to watt-hour meter type induction relay.

inte rna l fa ult has to be clea red without a ny time de lay. The inte r turn faults are de tected by measuring the res idual voltage
otherwise the damage to the sta tor core & windings would take of gene rator terminals. T his voltage appears a cross the tertiary
the generator out of service for a long time for several months. winding which is conne cte d to operating winding of a three
element directional relay.

The quadratic winding is operate d from se condary side of the

voltage transformer.

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Continued. Continued

During normal condition, the residual voltage is 0.

i.e. Vres = VRN + VYN + VBN = 0

This balance is disturbed during inte r-turn fa ult on any of

single windings & residual voltage is fed to the relay coil.

When the gene rator is with sing le winding pe r phase, the

residual voltage detection method is used for inter turn fault.

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Continued Continued.
Anothe r me thod of inte r turn fault prote ction is based on cross-
differential protection principle. I n this case, stator winding has two
separate pa rallel paths. The current tra nsforme r primaries a re
inserted in these paths and secondaries are cross connected as shown.

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Continued Stator Earth Fault Protection:

The fault from sta tor conductor to core of a ge nerator stator

During inte r turn fault in the phase winding, the out of balance
occurs due to failure of insulation between conductor and core.
current of CT secondaries flows through relay.
As the conductor is a t hig h voltage, core being earthe d, the
Such a prote ction ca n be extre mely sens itive. However it can
breakdown of insulation be twee n conductor & core will res ult in
be employe d to generators with pa rallel windings for ea ch
an ARC between the conductor & core.
The ground fa ult current will flow through this a rc. If the earth
The fa ult be twee n turns does not disturb the current balance
fault current is high, the arc e nergy will a lso be high. Hence in
of CTs for differential prote ction, he nce diffe rentia l protection
turns, high arc temp..
does not detect inter- turn fault.
This hig h temp. can cause failure of ins ulation between
lamination & can even sinter the laminations.
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Restricted e/f protection by differential system:
This will result in increase of eddy curre nt losses & la rge damage to
the portion of stator core. Such damage will take quite long time to When the neutral is solidly grounded, it is possible to protect

repair. Hence the sta tor earth fault are very des tructive fa ults if complete alte rnator winding against phase-to-ground fault. However
neutral is earthed through resistance to limit e/f current.
ground fault current is large.
With resistance earthing, it not possible to prote ct complete winding
Therefore, for large gene rators, the ground fault current is usua lly
from e/f and the percentage of winding protected depe nds on the
limited to a ve ry low value s uch tha t the resultant arc is not very
neutral-earthing resistor and the relay settings.
While selecting the value of resistor & earth fault re lay setting, the
The a rc temp in this case will be very low & the refore the da mage to
following aspect should be kept in mind
stator core can be reduce to a minimum.
Current rating of the resistor
As such no da mage may occur during the time of relay operation & Resistance value
consequent tripping 29 Relay setting 30

Continued. Continued.

Earth faults are not likely to occur near the neutra l point due to
less voltage with respect to earth.

It is usua l practice to protect about 80 to 85% of winding

against ea rth fa ult. The rema ining 15-20% winding from neutral
side left unprotected by differential protection.

A separate e/f prote ction is provided to take care of comple te

winding against e/f.

A restricted e/f re lay in the diffe rentia l protection is s hown in

figure below.

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Continued. Continued.

In above figure, during earth fault the current if in the If the point is nearer to a (i.e. neare r to ne utra l point), the forcing

alternator winding flows throug h a part of winding and ne utral voltage Vaf will be rela tively less. He nce e/f current if will reduce or

to ground circuit. less. Hence it is not practica ble to keep the relay setting too
sensitive to sense the earth fault currents of small magnitude.
The corres ponding seconda ry current Is flows through the
operating coil & restricted e/f coil of the differential protection. Becaus e, it too se nsitive the relay may respond during through
faults of other faults due to inaccuracies of CTs, CT saturation etc.
The se tting of the res tricte d e/ f relay can be selected
independent of the setting of the o/c relay. Hence a pra ctice is to protect a bout 85% of the generator winding
against phas e to earth fault and to leave the 15% portion
earth fault occurs at point F of the a lte rnator winding, Vaf is the
unprotected by the differential protection against e/f.
available voltage to drive e/f current if through ne utra l to
ground connection.
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Continued. Continued

The following equa tion gives the value of % of winding remains

In high resis tance earthing, maximum e/f curre nt is of the orde r
of 10 A. Such earthing is use d for distribution transforme r &
Where: R = ohmic value of impedance (L to G)
generator-transforme r unit.
Io = Minimum operating current in primary of CT
With the higher neutral resis tance, the e/f current is re duced.
Hence lesse r % of winding is protecte d by the restricted e/f V = line to neutral Voltage

protection. If 15% of relay setting is used, Io is 15% of F.L. curre nt of the

If a relay setting of 15% is chose n, this affords prote ction of 85% machine.

of the winding of largest machine.

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Example: Continued

A generator is provided with res itricted e/f protection. The % of winding unprotected = (R x Io / V) x 100
ratings are 11 kV, 5000 KVA. The percentage of winding 20 = (R x 65.5 / 6340) x 100
protected against phase to ground fault is 80%. T he re lay
hence, resistance to be added in neutral to ground connection is:
setting such tha t it trips for 25% out of bala nce. Calculate the
R = ( 20 x 6340 / 65.5 x 100 )
resistance to be added in neutral to ground connection.
= 1.94 ohm
V = 11 x 103 / 3 = 6340 V

I = KVA / 3 kV = 5000 / 3 x 11 = 262 A R = 1.94 ohm

Io = 262 x 25% = 262 x 25 / 100 = 65.5 A

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Example for practice: Overcurrent & Earth Fault Protection:

In machine below 10 MW, inverse time over current relays may
A 11 kV, 3-phase a lte rnator has full load rated current of 200 A.
replace the differential relays.
Reacta nce of A rmature winding is 15%. The differe ntial
This is applicable only if the cost bringing out the gene rator
protection system is se t to opera te on e/f current of more than
leads at the neutral e nd & installing CTs and differe ntia l re lays
200 A. Find the neutral ea rthing re sista nce, which gives e/f
cannot be justified. Othe rwis e, diffe rential system is most
protection to 90% of stator winding.
reliable & fast.

This is becaus e the synchronous reacta nce of the generator is

generally of the order of 100% or even more & he nce the
steady state fault current even for the 3-pha e fault is less than
the full load rated current of the generator.
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Continued. Continued

Figure: In such a case, the relay have to be actuate d by the short circuit
Overcurrent & Earth fault current supplied by the system.
protection of generator.
Such prote ction (by o/ c a nd e/f re lay) is ineffe ctive when the
main breaker is ope n or if the system has no othe r generating

The normal practice is to monitor the over current re lays by an

instantane ous under-voltage relay. The latter is connected to
control the overcurrent re lay making it faster and more
sensitive if the voltage drops indicating a fault in the machine.

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Rotor Earth Fault Protection:
A rotor 2nd earth fault may also cause local heating which may distort
The rotor carries the field winding which is kept is olated from rotor causing dangerous eccentricity, this also can cause vibration &
the g round. Ne ither the pos itive nor the negative term ina l of the serious damage.
dc s upply is grounded. T hus a ny ground fault on the rotor field To protect generator from the rotor e/f, a high resistance is connected
winding does not affect the working of the alternator. across the rotor circuit.

Howeve r subsequent fault would cause a s ection of the rotor The centre point of this is connected to earth through a sensitive relay.
winding to be short circuited. i.e. 2nd fault to ea rth will increase The relay detects the earth faults for most of the rotor circuit except the

the current in pa rt of the winding & may als o unbala nce the a ir centre point of the rotor.

gap fluxes so that the re will be se rious vibration which may lead
to serious damage.

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Negative Phase sequence Relay: Continued.

Why negative sequence protection is necessary to the generator? This components rotates at synchronous s peed in a opposite
dire ction to the direction of the rotor. T herefore double fre que ncy
Gene rally -ve se que nce protection of ge nera tor is provide against
currents are induced in the rotor.
unbalance loading.
The time for which the rotor ca n withstand this condition varies
The unba lance d 3-phase stator curre nts cause double frequency
inversely as the square of the ve sequence current. i.e. I 2t = K
currents to be induced in the rotor. T hey ca use rotor heating &
damage the rotor. Where, K = constant which varies from 7 in a large steam turbo-alternator to about 6 for a
salient-pole hydro machines.
Unba lanced stator current also ca use severe vibrations & hea ting
It is important for the prote ctive re lay to have a time current char.
of the stator.
I 2t = K which clos ely matches with that of the machine beca use
From the theory of symmetrical components, it is k nown that
while it is important to disconnect the generator if K is exceeded .
unbalanced 3-phase currents have a ve sequence component.
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Continued. Continued
Negative sequence protection Scheme:
Figure illustrates the principle of ve phase sequence circuit. The twin winding of two auxiliary CTs are so connecte d to the line
CTs that under balanced load condition, currents Ia, Ib & Ic flow in
the direction shown.

Impedance Z 1 & Z 2 are connected across auxilia ries of CTs, T1 & T2

and a load impedance ZL is connected across the terminal XX.

When the primary load current flows, the current through T1 will be
(Ib - Ic) and that through T2 will be (Ia-Ib).

For a given value of load impedance Z L (o/c relay) the impedance Z 1

& Z 2 are chosen such that points P & R remain at the same potential.

i.e. the voltage across QR & QP are equal and opposite.

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Continued.. Reverse Power Protection:

Under bala nce d conditions these voltages diffe rs a nd a n output Reverse power protection is provide against the failure of prime

is produce d proportional to the ve phas e sequence across XX mover of an alternator.

(voltage E) so as to operate the relay. When the prime move r of one of the a lte rna tor fails in a powe r

The prote ction remains s table on symmetrical overloa ds upto plant, the alte rna tor will not stop but will run as a synchronous

about 3 times rated full load. motor taking power from the bus.

As the output is instantaneous in opera tion, it is necessa ry to There is no harm for the a lte rnator whe n it is run as a

operate the equipment in conjuction with a time lag relay. synchronous m otor but the reve rsal of power is harmful to the
prime move r. The prime move r act as a loa d on the motor. i.e.
flow of power is reversed.

The reversal of power is sensed by a reverse power relay.

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F i eld Failure Protection: Continued.

This magnetiz ing current is la rge of the order of 2 to 4 times the
Field failure can be ca used by a faulty field breaker or fa ilure of the
rated curre nt and are to be s upplied by the othe r units. He nce the
exciter. When the ge nerator losses its field, it speeds up slig htly and stability of the other units is affected.
acts as a Induction Generator. The sta tor curre nts may increase a bove normal current rating of
generator during the run as induction generator. High currents may
If the gene rator is a single unit supplying a loca l loa d, the loss of cause voltage drop & over heating of gene rator bus-ba rs, sta tor
winding etc.
field causes loss of term ina l voltage, sub-se que ntly loss of
Figure illustra ting the loss of field prote ction by means of an Unde r
synchronism depending upon the load condition. Curre nt Relay conne cte d across a s hunt in se ries with the field
If the gene rator is conne cte d in para lle l with other units, it can dra w
the mag netizing curre nts from the bus bars & continuous to run as
an induction ge nerator. i.e. when a generator losses e xcitation it
draws reactive power from the system as the system has to provide
the excitation. 51 52


Field Suppression: Continued.

When a fa ult develops in an a lternator winding even though
But becaus e the fie ld coil is an inductive coil having high
the generator CB is trippe d, the fault continues to fe d beca use
inductance, the current cannot reduce to zero abruptly.
emf is induced in the generator itself.
The electromagne tic e ne rgy LI 2 gets store d in the inductance
Hence the field CB is ope ned and the stored ene rgy in the fie ld
of the field coil.
winding is discharged through a nother resistor. T his method is
The high voltage produce d beca use of high rate of cha nge of
known as field suppression.
current being inte rrupted, may dete riorate the ins ulation of the
When the fie ld is disconnected from the exciter in case of the
field coil leading to rotor earth fault.
dc current passing through the field coil try to reduce to zero.

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Continued Miscellaneous Protections:

The figure s hows how field is s uppressed. W hen the field breaker is
Over Speed:
opened, the arra ngeme nt is ma de s uch that the field is shorted by a
In hydro-se ts the water flow cannot be stopped or deflected
discharge resistor R.
quickly & he nce ove r s pee d ca n occur. Over spe eds in s uch a
Hence the store d ene rgy of the field ge ts diss ipated into the
case of over 150% of normal are possible.
Over voltage or over frequency relays can be e mployed in case
of hydro-alternator.

Stator Over-heating:

The ma in cause s of sta tor ove r heating a re ventilation failure,

over-loading, failure of cooling system, s hort circuited
laminations & failure of core-bolt insulation.
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Continued Continued
The method used to protect the generator against over-heating is
given in figure. Vibration :-
The method uses RTD embedded in slots at different locations in the
stator windings. The vibration takes pla ce due to unbalanced s tator curre nts
If the over heating occurs, the resistance of RTD changes, disturbing or rotor ground faults.
the balance of bridge, thus operating a relay. The relay can be
arranged to sound an alarm & annunciate the condition in control The vibration ca n res ult from a mechanical fa ilure or
abnormality also.
1 & 2 are the relay polarizing & operating coil respectively.
The prote ction against unbala nce currents & rotor e/f
protection will prevent or minim ize the vibra tion unde r
these conditions.

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Bearing failure & bearing over-heating:

Failure of cooling e quipment or fa ilure of lubrication system

may cause bearing over heating & in-turn failure of bearing.

The temp. of the oil can be m onitored by an ins trument with

alarm contacts.

The failure of oil cooling e quipme nt is dete cte d in large

machines by comparison of inlet and outlet temp. of the oil.