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Paper accepted for presentation at 2003 IEEE Bologna Power Tech Conference, June 23th-26th, Bologna, Italy

Coordination of protective relays

in MV transformer stations
using EasyPower Protector software
S. Nikolovski, Member, IEEE, I. Provci and D. Sljivac

Current magnitudes and transient duration of power

In this paper, the analysis of digital protection relays setting transformers switching into parallel operation, as well as the
in a MV transformer station grounded via a low-ohmic resistor is single-line-to-ground (SLG) fault resistance value are the
presented. Theoretical background on low-ohmic resistor important parameters which condition the correct operation of
grounding in a transformer station is provided. EasyPower resistor relay protection.
PowerProtector software is used for simulation and relay Inconsistent use of a typical solution for resistor protection
settings. Protective relay coordination after the simulation of a 3-
settings or of back up lines protection can result in the false
phase fault and a line-to-ground fault on different selected buses
in transformer station 35/10 kV is performed. Digital ABB relays response of relay protection. False protection response
series REF 541 were used for low-ohmic resistor thermal, short- indicates a different cause of failure, which makes the
circuit and overcurrent protection and overload protection of the establishment of normal system operation more difficult. In
low voltage transformer side. The results of analysis indicate order to avoid false protection response, current magnitude
correct selectivity of overcurrent protection devices in all cases. and response time are increased intuitively using engineering
experience. However, care must be taken since an increased
Index Terms -- digital relay, fault, low-ohmic resistor, tap setting, may decrease the sensitivity during SLG faults and
protection, transformer station lead to resistor overheating and possible damage. Increase of
the response time due to resistor bridging can result in high
induced touch and step voltage voltages in a transformer
I. INTRODUCTION station, as well as in damaging the grounding system,
especially in the case of currents exceeding several kA.

T HE purpose of the power system neutral grounding is to

limit the fault current, as well as to limit the values of
overvoltages induced by line-to-ground faults. In the middle
Information on resistor characteristics, network SLG
conditions, and energy transformers operational transients
leads to a different approach to selection of resistor protection
voltage (10 kV, 20 kV and 35 kV) networks neutral grounding in order to decrease consumer supply interruptions.
is performed by voltaic connection between the energy
transformers secondary wyes winding neutral and the ground.
In the case when transformers connection type is not the same II. MATHEMATICAL BACKGROUND
or transformers do not have the neutral point (delta winding),
A. Technical Characteristics of Low Ohmic Resistor
it is necessary to perform the artificial wye neutral grounding
of the secondary winding. Artificial neutral is achieved by Middle voltage resistor grounding characteristics are
earthing the transformer with specific technical characteristics. chosen for short overloads. The resistor is defined by these
There are basically two different types of grounding: direct values:
and indirect. Indirect grounding can be performed using 1. nominal current with 5 seconds permitted duration
2. permanent permitted current
resistance or reactance. To the present, low-ohmic resistor
3. 10 minutes permitted current
grounding is the only grounding type used in the middle
These are the parameters, which determine the choice and
voltage power system of the Croatian National Grid. If the
the protection settings of a resistor. Knowing the material of
secondary winding neutral of all transformers in a transformer
the resistive element, together with the nominal current with 5
station is accessible, two grounding schemes or approaches
seconds permitted duration, it is possible to calculate the
are possible:
maximum time of permitted overload for various current
values above the nominal.
1. one low-ohmic resistor in station
SLG fault current in 35 kV network is typically limited to a
2. one low-ohmic resistor at transformer
nominal current of 300 A. SLG fault current in a 10 (20) kV
The usual grounding scheme in the distribution area network is limited to 150 A current in meshed or 300 A in a
"Elektroistra" Pula is the one only one low-ohmic resistor in cable network. Calculation of the permitted overload duration
both 110/35 kV and 35/10(20) kV transformer stations. will be conducted for those nominal resistor currents

0-7803-7967-5/03/$17.00 ©2003 IEEE

according to the following expression:
 Ia 
 
= Tϑ ⋅ ln  2
Time-current characteristic α β
t B max
 Ia 
  − 1 Normal inverse 0.02 0.14
 In  Very inverse 1.0 13.5
Extremely inverse 2.0 80.0
where: Tϑ is the resistive element heating time constant; Ia
is the resistor current; In is the nominal current of the resistive Long-time inverse 1.0 120.0
element and tB max is the maximum overloading duration.
For the 300 A current, the resistive element is made with
the permitted permanent current equal to or higher than 65 A,
while for the 150 A current with permitted permanent current
is equal to or higher than 32 A. Calculated current values are
obtained according to manufacturer's characteristics, but in
reality they are higher than those declared by manufacturers.
The diagram in figure 1 presents calculated results.

Fig. 1. Calculated values of resistor currents

There are four international standard time-current Fig. 2. Time-current characteristics for low-ohmic resistor
characteristics. Time and current ratio is defined according to
the BS 142 and IEC 255-4 standards as: For example, low-ohmic resistor protection in a 300 A
current area, i.e. resistor thermal protection area, is performed
k⋅β using the long-time inverse characteristic defined by
t ( s) = α (2) parameters k=1 and I=15 A. Low-ohmic resistor protection in
 I  a 150 A current area, i.e. resistor bridging protection area, is
  −1
 I > performed using extremely inverse characteristic defined by
parameters k=0.05 and I=200 A.
where: t is the response time; k is the time multiplier; I is the
fault current and I> is the overcurrent setting. III. DIGITAL RELAYS SIMULATION IN EASYPOWER
α and β constants are dependent on the type of the
characteristics according to table I. Fig. 2 (using table I) For the simulating the protection relays and proper
represents an example of choosing the time-current coordination the EasyPower PowerProtector software module
characteristics for 300 A nominal current low-ohmic resistor was used. It has the short circuit (SC) and the Time Current
protection. Curves (TCC) programs completely integrated with the one-
line diagram. The user does not have to create separate one- Using protection blocks in digital relays the following
lines for the TCC plots. Also all SC currents are automatically protections are achieved:
placed on the one-line diagram of the TCC Plots, and the TCC
plot itself so there is a huge time savings in the analysis. 1. High-ohmic fault protection using definite time-current
EasyPower PowerProtector can model all the different types characteristic with settings: I=5 A and t=5 min (300 s) -
of Multi-Function relays on the one-line as a single relay, so used for switching off power transformers.
the user actually sees the real protective system. The MF 2. Thermal protection of low-ohmic resistor using long time
relays can perform many functions (plotted on the TCC) like a inverse characteristic with settings: k=1, I=15 A (fig. 2.).
real unit. EasyPower Protector has the graphics capabilities to 3. Low-ohmic resistor bridging using extremely inverse
model all the different protective device relays, CT's, etc. so characteristic with settings: k=0.05, I=200 A (fig 2.).
the real protection system is modeled. 4. SLG fault protection of the lines using definite time
The problems associated with transformers working in characteristic with settings: I=100 A and t=5 s.
parallel operation, and transients in the case of SLG faults, as 5. 10(20) kV bus fault protection using definite time
well as SLG high-ohm faults, could be solved using several characteristic with settings: I=900 A and t=0.2 s.
electromechanical or static relays with various current 6. Overload protection of LV side of power transformers
characteristics and various time-current settings. However, using definite time characteristic with settings: I=492 A
this kind of solution is very expensive. and t=1.8 s.
By using digital multifunctional relays which can perform
several functions in a single device, it is possible to simplify According to the data from [6] the topology of the
the solution of these multiple problems and therefore to make distribution network and the transformer station 35/10 kV
the solution less expensive, together with decreasing the Pula Zapad were simulated in the Protector module of
number of false protection operations. It is possible to EasyPower software.
configure the digital relays to simultaneously use the inverse The REF 541 digital relay from ABB was used for low-
time-current characteristics and definite time-currents ohmic resistor thermal protection, short-circuit and
characteristics together with supervision of the switching state overcurrent protection and overload protection of the low
of power station components important for operational logic voltage transformer side. Due to the situation in TS Pula
of relay protection. Zapad, it was neccessary to obtain the multi-function
combination of 51DT/50, 51DT/50, 51/50N protection
functions. Therefore, the tap time, time dial time, the
A. Sample case: Transformer station 35/10 kV Pula Zapad instantaneous pickup time and the instantaneous delay time
The sample case of using the digital relays installed in a needed to be adjusted according to the calculated data from
low voltage side of power transformer field terminals in a Dispatching Center of the Croatian Grid Company.
35/10 kV transformer station Pula Zapad is described further The field terminal of REF 541 has: three protection blocks
in a text. of 3-phase non-directional overcurrent protection (NOC3),
The analysis of the real transformer station in cases of 3- three protection blocks of non-directional earth fault
phase and single line-to-ground faults was performed. Fig. 3. protection (NEF1) and three protection blocks of directional
presents the protection scheme of TS 35/10 kV Pula Zapad. earth fault protection (DEF2). All relays setting are present in
Fig. 4.

Fig. 3. Protection scheme of TS 35/10 kV Pula Zapad Fig. 4. Database of ABB REF 541 digital relay settings
Since this relay is in the multi-function connection, these
settings needed to be performed for 51/50N, as well as for
51DT/50N function.
Protective settings of 10 kV feeders and transformers were
adjusted and the 10/0.4 kV transformer was also introduced in
the analysis in order to obtain the information on protective
response in TS 35/10 kV Pula in cases of faults in low voltage
networks. Low-resistor impedance on 10 kV side of
transformers in TS Pula Zapad was 20 Ω.

B. The results of the analysis

The six sample cases were studied and assessment of time-
current relays setting was performed:
1. 3-phase fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula Zapad
2. 3-phase fault in 0.4 kV network
3. 3-phase fault in 10kV network with fault impedance10 Ω
4. Single line-to-ground fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula
5. Single line-to-ground fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula
Zapad with zero low-resistor impedance
6. Single line-to-ground fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula
Zapad with variable fault impedance of: 20 Ω, 50 Ω, 100
Ω, 200 Ω, 500 Ω, 1000 Ω and 1200 Ω

Fig. 6. Time-current curve for 3-phase fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula Zapad

Time-current curves indicate the response of the protective

scheme in each case.

Fig. 7. Relay ‘s tripping and setting in case of a 3-phase fault on 10 kV bus

For example, Figures 6 and 9 present time-current curves

for 3-phase and a single line-to-ground fault on 10 kV bus of
TS Pula Zapad respectively, with zero low-resistor impedance.
The most important results of the analysis are described
further in a text. Tables II, III and IV represents the simulated
protection operation results in case of a 3-phase fault on 10
kV bus of TS Pula Zapad, a 3-phase fault in 0.4 kV network
and a single line-to-ground fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula
Fig. 5. Single-line diagram for 3-phase fault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula Zapad
Zapad, respectively.
TABLE II Fault on low voltage on 0.4 kV bus of TS Pula Zapad was
performed to point out the need to increase the response time
of relay R-5 so that a high voltage fuse in transformer branch
Relay Voltage Device Fault Responce TX-3 has time to burn out and therefore to switch off the
level Function Current I> Time t power transformer, but not the rest of the network.
( kV ) (A) (s)

R-1 35 51DT/50 1169 2.012

R-3-1 10 51DT/50 4094 0.206
R-5-1 10 51DT/50 8189 0.051

From Table II. it can be seen that coordination of protective

relays is done well, since the selectivity for a 3-phase fault is
achieved. First, the relay in cable terminal R-5-1 will trip with
an instantaneous delay of t=51ms, after that relay R-3-1 on the
secondary side of the transformer station with an
instantaneous delay of t=206 ms, and the last relay will be the
relay on the primary side of the transformer station R-1, with
definite time delay t=2.012 sec. From Fig. 5 it can be noticed
that fault currents that flow from the supply network to 10 kV
bus of TS where the fault is simulated crosses time-current
characteristics of relays and those values are presented in
Table II

Fig. 9. Time-current curve for 3-phase fault on 0.4 kV bus of TS Pula Zapad

It should be mentioned that in a sample network there is no

HV fuse of 10/0.4 kV transformer when simulating the 0.4 kV
fault, but in reality selectivity of 10 kV lines fault protection
operation to operation of HV fuse of 10/0.4 kV transformers
in case of close faults in 0.4 kV network is desirable.

Relay Device Fault Current Response Time

Function I0 > t
(A) (s)

R-3-3 51/50N 150 13.874

R-3-4 51DT/50N 150 5.024
R-5-1 51DT/50 293 1.003
Fig. 8. Single-line diagram for SLGfault on 10 kV bus of TS Pula Zapad R-5-2 51DT/50N 293 0.614

The analysis of relay protection coordination in case of the

3-PHASE FAULT IN 0.4 KV NETWORK SLG fault at 10 kV bus in TS Pula Zapad indicates that the
selectivity of the relays is also satisfactory. Relay R-5-1 is also
presented in Fig. 6. although it is used for 2 or 3-phase faults.
Relay Voltage Device Fault Response
level Function Current I> Time t
The reason is that overcurrent protection functions always
( kV ) (A) (s) "see" SLG faults due to their 3-phase performance, so there is
a real possibility that a 10 kV feeder overcurrent element will
R-3-1 10 51DT/50 515 0.206 be excited in the fault affected phase.

R-5-1 10 51DT/50 1030 0.049

1, R-3-2, R-3-3 and R-3-4 will react on the same current value
of 6.411 kA, but the faster response has relay R-3-2 operating
first which is set according to the very-inverse characteristic,
resulting in a very good protection of the low-ohmic resistor,
meaning that the response time of relay R-3-2 in case of
resistor bridging is only 0.022 s.


The analysis of the digital protection relays setting in MV a

transformer station grounded via low-ohmic resistor is
presented in this paper. EasyPower PowerProtector software is
used for simulation and coordination of the relay protection in
MV TS 35/10 kV. Several functions of digital relays are
simulated: High-ohmic fault protection using definite time-
current characteristic. Thermal protection of low-ohmic
resistor using long time inverse characteristic Low-ohmic
resistor bridging using extremely inverse characteristic. SLG
fault protection of the lines using definite time characteristic
The 10(20) kV bus fault protection using definite time
characteristic. Overload protection of LV side of power
transformers using definite time characteristic.
The analysis of relay protection co-ordination in case of the
Fig. 10. Time current curve for single line-to-ground fault on 10 kV bus of TS three-phase fault and SLG fault at 10 kV bus in TS Pula
Pula Zapad Zapad indicates that relay selectivity is satisfactory.

Furthermore, the simulation of relay protection response on V. ACKNOWLEDGMENT

various fault impedances in the case of SLG fault on 10 kV
bus of TS Pula Zapad is simulated. Fault resistance is changed
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of
from 20 ohm to 1000 ohm, for high-ohmic SLG faults. The
Igor Vickovic, BSc from HEP - Croatian National Grid
results are presented in table V. It can be noticed that by
Company for his help and also to the Electrical System
increasing the fault impedance (i.e. decreasing the fault
Analysis Inc. for their financial support to this project.
currents) the response current is decreases, while the response
time is increases according to the TCC curves.
SINGLE LINE-TO-GROUND FAULT ON 10 KV BUS OF TS PULA ZAPAD [1] S. H. Horowitz, Power System Relaying, 2nd ed, Research Studies Press
LTD. Somerset, England, 1995.
Feeder field Transformer field [2] A. T. Johns and S. K. Salman, Digital Protection for Power Systems
Z IEEE Power Series 15 , London, 1995.
(Ω) R-5-1 R-5-2 R-3-3 R-3-4 [3] S.Nikolovski, Basis of Relay Protection in Power System, Osijek, 2001.
[4] ABB: Protective Relaying Theory and Aplication, 1994.
(293A; (293A; (151; (150.1; [5] ABB: User’s Manual and Tehnical Description REF 54_1999.
20 [6] S. Drandić and N. Rudan, "Choice and setting of relay protection of low-
0.9s) 0.5s) 13.9s) 5.1s)
ohmic grounding resistor in MV electrical networks using digital relays,"
(118A; (59.6A; (59.6A; in Proc. 2001 CIGRE Croatian Comitee Conference, November 4-8,
50 - 126.3s) Cavtat, Croatia
0.5s) 42.1s)
(58.8A; (30.2A; (31.2A;
100 - 298.7s) VII. BIOGRAPHIES
0.6s) 14.9s)
(29.3A; (15A;
200 - - Srete Nikolovski was born in Belgrade on 01. October, 1954. He obtained his
0.5s) 329.5s) BSc degree in 1978 and Master of Science degree (MSc) in 1989, both in the
(11.8A; (6A; field of Electrical Engineering, from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering,
500 - - University of Belgrade. He received his PhD degree from the Faculty of
176.7s) 312.5s) Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Croatia in 1993.
100 (5.89A; Currently he is Associate Professor with the Power System Engineering
0 - - - Department at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Osijek, Croatia. His main
interest is in power system modeling, simulation and analysis, especially in
reliability assessment of power system and power system protection.
Additionally, simulation of the grounding resistor which is
short circuited is performed. Results indicate that relays R-3-
Igor Provci was born in Travnik, Bosnia and Hercegovina, on October 19,
1976. He graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Osijek in
2002. In 1999. He received a scholar ship from HEP - Croatian National Grid
Company, Direction section - Opatija. He was an active member of IAESTE
(The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical
Experience) during his unergraduate studies and carried out two practical
trainings, one in Tunisia and the other one in Ireland.

Damir Sljivac was born in Osijek, Croatia on February 4, 1974. He obtained

his BSc degree in Electrical Engineering in 1997, from the Faculty of
Electrical Engineering, University of Osijek, Croatia and his MSc degree in
2000, from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University
of Zagreb, Croatia. At present he is a research assistant with Power System
Department at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Osijek and
a PhD student at Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University
of Zagreb. In 2002, he was an academic visitor at a University of Manchester,
Institute for Science and Technology (UMIST), UK. His main field of interest
is in power system analysis, particularly power system reliability in
deregulated electricity markets.