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systems in the Arab worl
Economic and technical considerations are usually the underlying factors for interconnecting neighbouring electric power systems. Among some of the benefits that may be realised are plant capacity savings, interchange due t o diversity, emergency power interchange, spinning reserve savings. However, planning of interconnections is a demanding task and must cover a wide range of technical aspects. This article presents the advantages, requirt =merits and problems arising from the interconnection of electric power systems in the Arab world. It also presents the planning principles for grid system, procedure for power system development planning, technical aspects of interconnection, and possibilities of increasing interconnection capacity by limited means. The results of studies investigating the feasibility of interconnecting the power networks of the six countries which form the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) are presented. The article also shows existing and future interconnections of power systems in the Arab world.
by Emad S. lbrahim
The interconnection of electric power has been a well established practice since the development of three-phase AC systems. Many interconnections run across international boundaries linking countries w i t h varying political, social and economic systems. The reasons for interconnection are based o n economic, strategic and technical considerations. Among the best known interconnections are the Canada-US Eastern interconnection, the Pacific West interconnection and the Texas interconnection in North America, the interconnection systems of Western and Eastern Europe, and the Japanese National Grid.’ In the Arab world, the interest in the interconnection of electric power systems started at the Tenth Engineering Conference held at Al-Quds in 1966. In the Middle East, several interconnections exist or are under consideration. For example, the electric networks of the eastern and the central provinces of Saudi Arabia are interconnected. The interconnection of the power systems of Egypt and Jordan is in the implementation stage. In addition, investigations have been conducted t o study the feasibility of interconnecting the power systems in the Mashreq Arab countries and of interconnecting Turkey t o the Northern Arab States. The reasons for the interconnection of power systems are both technical and POWER ENGINEERING JOURNAL JUNE 1996 economical, and may be summarised as fol 1ows:2,3,4 Systems when interconnected need less installed generation plant t o achieve a given level of security of supply than would be required for separated systems. Interconnections enable systems t o share spinning reserve so that each system can carry less spinning reserve than would be required without interconnection. Catastrophic multiple outages, such as the simultaneous loss of several generation units, can lead t o widespread interruptions of supply and possibly t o the total collapse of the power system. Strong interconnections t o neighbouring systems limit the effects of, ancl help recovery from, such catastrophic events. Interconnections enable interchange of planned or incidental energy between systems resulting in a lowering of the total operating costs. Interconnections also permit assistance from neighbouring systems t o cope with unforeseen construction delays and unexpected load growth. Quality of supply is improved by better system frequency and voltage c m t r o l .
Planning principlesfor grid systems The following fu nda menta I principles
guide the lanning of bulk transmission networks:
1 Procedure for longrange system development planning
The power system must be planned and constructed in such a way that there is sufficient generation and transmission capacity t o cover the load forecast. The system must, without interruption bf power supply t o the consumer, be able t o withstand most of the faults that may occur. Basically no single fault contingencyshould cause loss of bulk supply continuity. The interconnected network must be planned and operated in such a manner that there are no oscillation phenomena in the power system or thermal overload of network components during normal operation. Oscillations in connection with faults must be sufficiently damped and temporary permissible overloading removed in time. It is technically not possible t o construct a power system with 100°/~reliability of supply and a compromise between security of service and cost of service must be selected. Interruptions that occur should, however, as far as possible be limited in time and space, with help of a suitable programme of action (load shedding scheme etc.). The network should, in general, enable the most economic generation dispatch.
However, when out-of-merit operation of generation may defer transmission system reinforcement, this should be considered if the overall system economics favour it. 6 A flat voltage profile should be the objective in planning the bulk transmission network as well as a minimum of reactive power transfer between the bulk transmission and the various subtransmission systems. The overall grid system power factor should be lagging.
Procedure for power system development planning The procedure adopted generally in power system long-range planning is shown in Fig. 1 . 6 The first step is t o conduct an accurate demand forecast. Secondly, several plans are carefully developed for t h e generation, transmission and distribution systems, and the system operation facilities. These plans must meet the reliability requirements, conform t o t h e utility policy and guidelines, and must take into account the existing system elements and characteristics. Finally, a com pa rative study is made o n these plans by emphasising reliability and economic
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efficiency, and the most appropriate plan is selected based o n management policy and available funds.’
Technical aspects of interconnection Several studies are required t o assure the technical viability of the system or systems under consideration. These are load-flow studies, reactive power and voltage control requirements, short-circuit levels, stability, insulation problems and others. The techniques used t o conduct such studies are well established. However, the interpretation of the results and the relative importance of each of these items have t o be weighted properly.’
Transient a n d dynamic behaviour The dynamic behaviour of internal systems may change as they become interconnected. Damping techniques may be used such as the power system stabilisers. However, reinforcing the tielines and internal systems are basic means. Frequency control a n d spinning reserve The tripping of a unit in any subsystem will affect frequency controlled reserves in any part of the system. A few aspects are important t o note:’ The tielines (and the internal system) should be strong enough t o transfer the extra transfers deriving from reserves in one country, when a unit trips in another cou nt ry . Large units may be used in rather small systems, as reserves may be used in other parts.
Generating plants The generating plants in an interconnected system have t o be designed with respect t o certain specifications concerning sensitivity t o frequency and voltage deviations, and facilities to control active and reactive power. For frequency requirements, as all units will be affected by the same frequency drop at a loss of generation, it is of the utmost importance that the units fulfil certain requirements with respect t o the frequency. If not, the most sensitive units may trip causing further frequency decay, thus increasing the risk of cascade tripping and blackout.
For voltage requirements, although the voltage disturbances are more local, voltage dips of certain levels and duration must not cause tripping of the unit. Hydro and thermal units should meet certain standards of control facilities. Network configuration and switchgear rating The updating of the network configuration may be carried out by load-flow calculations, while the updating of the switchgear and circuit breakers may be obtained using shortcircuit studies for the overall interconnected system. The underrating of the circuit breakers may be avoided by using either busbar limiting reactors or feeder reactors. However, the protective relay systern must be updated as well as the regulator parameters and configurations should match the new conditions.’ Protective system The protective system strategy is not limited t o the tripping operation of an overloaded transmission line or transformer. It can go up t o the utilisation of reactive power compensators in order t o reduce the consumer voltages and therefore reduce the main loads in the system. A decrease of the busbar voltages by 5% will lead t o a corresponding decrease in the load power of 10% which can greatly help the generating stations and transmission links during peak loads.7 Control systems7 When the generator is connected t o a weak system, the automatic excitation control has the object of controlling the machine voltage, and the speed governor has the object of controlling the machine speed and participating in the control of the system frequency. If the generator is connected t o a strong system the machine voltage and system 123
In case of serious disturbances the tielines may split. Thus an emergency plan should be prepared t o maintain the systems in separate operation, i n ~ l u d i n g : ~
local spinning reserves and load shedding preparations of control centres and generating units, including possibility t o rapidly change the frequency control strategy.
In case there are a number of tielines, the remaining lines should be strong enough t o keep the total system stable, in case one tieline trips. Load shedding Load shedding based on local frequency criteria is often used as a back-up system t o prevent total blackout. In case t w o separate systems become interconnected, the load shedding has t w o purpose^:^ t o support the individual systems in case tielines trip t o support the total system in case there are internal faults. The latter purpose requires co-ordination between the shedding schemes. POWER ENGINEERING JOURNAL JUNE 1996
Means t o increase the interconnection capacity
new ines large conductors higher voltage level rapid relay protection series capacitors shunt capacitors/reactors (breaker switched) shunt capacitors/reactors (thyristor controlled) nchronous condensers pplementary control of generators
frequency are almost constant and the main object of the automatic excitation control is t o control the reactive power fed by the generator while the speed governor is t o control the active power fed by the generator t o the network. As the system capacity increases, either by installing new large generating stations or by interconnection with another system, the system may transfer from a weak t o a strong one and the function as well as the parameters of the control systems must be u pda ted . The updating of the control systems could also be done by the addition of new control systems such as: secondary control systems for load frequency control (SCSLFC) economic dispatching centre (EDC) co-ordination between SCSLFC and EDC optimisation of both location and values of static VAR compensator for the interconnected network replacing of old control equipment by new, such as static excitation, hybrid control system or digital control systems DC interconnection DC is the only alternative for interconnecting power systems operating a t different frequencies, e.g. 50 and 60 Hz. Long cable links can be built for DC transmission, since the capacitance does not need t o be taken into account. In fact, in some cases DC will be the only feasible solution. The fast-acting power control of DC links gives a number of possibilities:’
links have higher risks of insulation flashover, and can be more expensive than an AC system with the same ratings.’
Increasing interconnection capacity by limited means5 Normally the transmission capacity of a line is defined by i t s thermal limit. For a line interconnecting t w o systems, stability may be the limiting factor as well.
Stability as limiting factor Every perturbation during normal operation, i.e. load change, generation change, line tripping or line fault, is followed by an oscillatory transient. In an interconnected system, the severity of these oscillations increases when the interconnection length or the power transmitted increases. The stability problem can be divided into the following aspects. Stable operation is obtained if all of these are managed:
first swing stability and damping of large oscillations, i.e. transient stability damping of small oscillations, i.e. dynamic stability frequency control voltage collapse.
Means of in creasing interconnecting capacity A number of means t o increase the existing or planned transfer capacity between systems are listed in Table 1 . The factors which should be evaluated during the selection between different means a re:
improved transient stability limits of subsystems stabilising of power oscillations giving improved transfer capacity when damping is a limiting factor emergency power assistance from one subsystem to the other.
the increase of transfer capacity costs and benefits taking into account also operational costs and losses reliability.
It is important t o mention here that DC links provide superior performance in limiting the spread of system disturbances and in limiting the contribution t o the fault current between interconnected systems. However, the DC
New lines normally mean high cost but at the same time it improves the reliability. Also using higher voltage is expensive but it usually decreases losses. Series capacitors decrease the electrical length between subsystems. Their benefit is that they increase the reactive power when the power transmitted increases. The idea of shunt compensation is t o POWER ENGINEERING JOURNAL JUNE 1996
maintain constant voltage in the system. Breaker-switched compensators are used t o take care of the excess or shortage of reactive power during normal operation. Static, thyristor-controlled compensators are used for fast control of reactive power. By this fast control the system damping can be improved. In this case control is based on the speed of voltage variation or in practice on signals from active power. The drawbacks of static compensators compared with breaker switched compensation are higher price, need for more maintenance and bigger losses. On the other hand, compensators can be com pa red with synchronous compensators. In this comparison, static systems are faster in control and they are cheaper. Damping can also be improved with a power system stabiliser, to control generator voltage and further the electrical output according t o the oscillations. The advantage of stabilisers is that almost all modern exciters already include the electronics needed or it can be easily installed and, consequently, the extra cost is mini mal.
Table 2 (MW)
Demand forecast for GCC network
GCC interconnected systems4 Studies to investigate the feasibility of interconnecting the power networks of the six countries which form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (SCECO East), Oman and the UAE have been completed.8~9~10 Plans exist for the implementation of such an interconnect ion. Table 2 shows the demand forecast for each of the GCC power networks up t o the year 201 5. The size of the interconnection proposed for each of the GCC countries was based on a strategic criterion.8This criterion is:
‘The size of the interconnection would be such that each system could import u p t o half the installed capacity of the largest power plants, but no more than 30% of the peak load in 201 0, even during an outage of any one element of the interconnection t o that system. ‘ The use of this criterion resulted in the interconnection shown in Table 3. The principal factors influencing the development of schemes t o implement the interconnection are: (a) The power system in Saudi Arabia operates at a frequency of 60 Hz, while the systems in the other five states operate at 50 Hz. (b) The distances involved are relatively large. For example, the distance from Kuwait t o the United Arab Emirates is over 1000 km. (c) Bahrain may be separated from the other countries by water, but there is n o w a bridge connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and therefore a submarine cable may not be necessary. POWER ENGINEERING JOURNAL JUNE 1996
The adopted interconnection concept and tie capacities for the GCC countries are shown in Fig. 2. In this interconnection, the 510Hz systems of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar ;lnd UAE are interconnected by a double-circuit 400 kV backbone extending from Kuwait t o the UAE. Oman power system is connected t o UAE system by a 275 kV double-circuit line. The 60 Hz SCECO East system is interconnected t o the 50 Hz backbone by a 1800 M W back-to-back link. Bahrain and Qatar are connected t o this backbone via 220 kV circuits.
Requirements and problems of interconnection Requirements and problems of interconnection can be classified in to four categories:”
I Capital a n d international financing situation Most Arab countries face problerns of finance shortage for electricity development projects. 2 The technological a n d manpower situation This category leads t o the following problems with their long-term effects:
insufficient transfer of technology lack of training of the indigenous population delay in project execution mainly caused by bottlenecks in the overburdened civil construction sector emigration of scarce Arab skilled labour, mostly t o the OPEC-Arab countries. migration of non-Arab unskilled (and in limited cases skilled) Asian manpower t o the Arab oil producing countries.
Interconnection tie capac:ity(MW)
2 GCCsystem interconnection
3 Standardisation The construction process of electric power facilities in some Arab countries has involved consultants from various countries participating separately according t o specific projects. As a result, those facilities which lack uniformity are growing in number and sizes. The effect of such discrepancies may not raise serious problems as long as the systems are operated separately. However, they may result in large amounts of trouble when the structuring of large-scale electric systems is considered.’ Because of the piecemeal approach, there has been no unification of electricity standards (frequency, voltages, equipment, fittings etc.) inside most of the Arab countries and the Arab world as a whole. All Arab countries adopted 50 Hz as a standard national frequency, except Saudi Arabia which n o w utilises 50 Hz and 60 Hz systems. In high-voltage distribution, the Gulf countries use 132, 220 and 380 kV while the other eastern countries (Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon) use 132, 150, 230 and 400 kV. The western countries use 132, 230 and 400 kV for high-voltage distribution. In Egypt, the high-voltage distribution used is 132, 220 and 500 kV. The 132 kV used in lower Egypt will be gradually phased out.
Existing and future interconnections” The existing interconnections are: Morocco-Algeria, Algeria-Tunisia, SyriaLebanon and Jordan-Syria. Two lines of 225 kV and 200 M W already exist between Algeria and Morocco. The interconnection of the power systems of Egypt and Jordan is in the implementation stage. The interconnection across the Red Sea is being done by submarine cables. For the interconnection of electric power systems in the eastern and western Arab countries, these submarine cables will work on AC a t 600 M W in the first stage. Also, these submarine cables can work on DC at 1200 M W , but it becomes necessary t o build a DYAC convertor station. The Egypt-Jordan interconnection is the first stage in the interconnection project Egypt-Jordan-lraq-Syria and Turkey. The interconnection of these five countries started operation in 1995. The t w o 400 kV networks in Syria and Iraq make such connection easy. Two lines of 225 kV and 200 MW are n o w implemented between Libya and Tunisia, and it is expected that they will start operation in 1997. The possibilities of other interconnections are:
Saudi Arabia and Sudan A DC link between Saudi Arabia and Sudan under the Red Sea may be feasible if large water dams were constructed on the Nile in Sudan. Sudan and Egypt A link is not feasible n o w since the northern Sudan load centre is about 900 km from the High Dam in Egypt and the load in Sudan does not warrant such a connection.
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National networks There are nine Arab countries whose national networks are not yet interconnected. These countries are UAE, Gibote, Saudia Arabia, Sudan, Somalia, Oman, Libya, Mauritania and Yemen. It is important t o complete the design of national grids before any interconnection steps are taken.
Kuwait and Iraq The project has been thoroughly studied and proved t o be feasible since the t w o daily load curves are different (peak loads occur at different times). The amount of energy which may be exchanged merits such connection since the t w o consumption centres are not far away. The connection may be made using a 400 kV line connecting Kuwait to Basrah.
Egypt and East Libya A connection between the eastern part of Libya to the Egyptian network by t w o lines has been studied. The first stage includes a 220 kV, 170 M W line. The second stage includes one 500 kV line.
Conclusions For interconnected networks, power supply reliability is enhanced, generation of power is cost efficient, shutdowns and outages are easily manoeuverable, even during peak demand periods. Breakdown periods are reduced t o the minimum. 0 Before interconnection of different networks, a comprehensive study encompassing short-circuit rating of equipment being interconnected, fault levels of the interconnected networks, voltage IeveWdrops, maximum power transfer, effects of circuit outages, peak summer demands and frequency levels needs t o be done t o ensure system security and t o avoid collapse of the total system in case of faults. 0 The interconnection of Arab power networks is strictly dependent on the development of the internal networks, such that interconnections become economical and feasible. So, it is important t o complete the design of the national grids before any interconnection steps are taken. For all Arab countries, it seems that 50 Hz networks should be imposed, and 400 kV should be selected for Eastern Arab countries and 220 kV for North African Arab countries. Also, higher voltages should never be selected in one country in isolation from neighbouring countries. 0 Joint effort should be shown in standardisation and development of electrical equipment construction. 0 Updating of network configuration and control and protection systems is necessary for the interconnected network. It is necessary t o survey the available sources of energy in the Arab countries. It is expected that non-conventional sources of energy (i.e. nuclear, solar etc.) should be used. Joint effort is recommended t o establish a nuclear power station in one Arab country., 0 Electric energy generation should be in conjunction with irrigation and desalination projects. 0 The studies of interconnection in the Arab countries should take into account modern energy management systems (EMS) with a large variety of advanced
functions, where each function becomes more and more sophisticated in order t o get optimal performance. Total Arab electricity production was 236.4 TWh in 1992, compared to 85.2 TWh in 1980. This calls for an additional investment in the electricity sector in the Arab World from n o w until the end of the century. The interconnection of electric power systems in the Arab world will reduce the spinning reserve by 1 4 3 2 0 M W (1 3 320 M W in the eastern countries and 1000 M W in the western countries). The interconnection of electric power systems in the Arab world will reduce the possibility of complete loss of load t o 0.2 days per year. It is recommended that combined-cycle gas-turbine technology should be used t o give high efficiency. Egypt, Syria and, more recently, Gulf countries have already started t o used combined-cycle generation.
References 1 AL-SHEHRI,A. M., EL-AMIN, I. M., and OPOKU, G.: 'An overview of essential parameters for planning power system
interconnections', Proceedings of the 2nd Symposium on Electrical Energy in the UAE, 17th-I 9th November 1991, paper 1 .I. 2 EL-AMIN, I. M., AL-SHEHRI, A. M., and OPOKU, G.: 'Power systems interconnection in Saudi Arabia: scenarios and options', ibid., paper 1.2 3 YOUSUF, M. A,, IBRAHIM, M., and ALGOBAISI, D. M. K.: 'Development and justification of interconnected transmission system for UAE', ibid., paper 2.3 4 EL-AMIN, I. M., AL-SHEHRI, A. M., ;Ind OPOKU, G.: 'The UAE power system as an integral part of the GCC network', hid., paper
2.4 HOLBERG, D.: 'Interconnection of power
systems: economic benefits, technical possibilities and limitations', ibid., paper 1.3 'Power system development planning', Tokyo Electric Power Company AMER, A. H.: Interconnection of the UAE Emirates electric power networks', Proceedings of the 1s t Symposium on Electrical Energy in the UAE, 3rd-5th Arpil 1988, pp.445-460 'Feasibility study for interconnectiori of Arab gulf States electrical power systems', GCC, 1986 Update feasibility study', Hydro Quebec International, GCC, 1990 'Feasibility study of electrical network interconnection of Mashreq Arab countries', Arab fund for Economic & Social Development, 1991 AL-ABIAD, H. A. H.: 'Power system analysis and planning' (McGraw-Hill, 1983)
0 IEE: 1996 Emad S.lbrahim is with the Department of Electrical Machines and Power Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Helwan University, Helwan, Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Emad can be contacted a t P Box 27, Daher, Cairo, Esgypt, or by O E-mail: email@example.com. 127
POWER ENGINEERING JOURNAL JUNE 1996
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