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Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1

General

With the increasing dependence on electricity supplies, in both developing and developed countries, the need to achieve an acceptable level of reliability, quality and safety at an economic price becomes even more important to customers. A further requirement is the safety of the electricity supply. A priority of any supply system is that it has been well designed and properly maintained in order to limit the number of faults that might occur. Associated with the distribution networks themselves are a number of ancillary systems to assist in meeting the requirements for safety, reliability and quality of supply. The most important of these are the protection systems which are installed to clear faults and limit any damage to distribution equipment. Amongst the principal causes of faults are lightning discharges, the deterioration of insulation, vandalism, and tree branches and animals contacting the electricity circuits. The majority of faults are of a transient nature and can often be cleared with no loss of supply, or just the shortest of interruptions, whereas permanent faults can result in longer outages. In order to avoid damage, suitable and reliable protection should be installed on all circuits and electrical equipment. Protective relays initiate the isolation of faulted sections of the network in order to maintain supplies elsewhere on the system. This then leads to an improved electricity service with better continuity and quality of supply. A properly co-ordinated protection system is vital to ensure that an electricity distribution network can operate within preset requirements for safety for individual items of equipment, staff and public, and the network overall. Automatic operation is necessary to isolate faults on the networks as quickly as possible in order to minimise damage. The economic costs and the benefits of a protection system must be considered in order to arrive at a suitable balance between the requirements of the scheme and the available financial resources. In addition, minimising the costs of nondistributed energy is receiving increasing attention. When providing protective devices on any supply network the following basic principles must apply. On the occurrence of a fault or abnormal condition, the

Protection of electricity distribution networks


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EHV/HV/MV/LV network arrangements (reproduced from Electricity Distribution Network Design)

Introduction

protection system must be capable of detecting it immediately in order to isolate the affected section, thus permitting the rest of the power system to remain in service and limiting the possibility of damage to other equipment. Disconnection of equipment must be restricted to the minimum amount necessary to isolate the fault from the system. The protection must be sensitive enough to operate when a fault occurs under minimum fault conditions, yet be stable enough not to operate when its associated equipment is carrying the maximum rated current, which may be a short-time value. It must also be fast enough to operate in order to clear the fault from the system quickly to minimise damage to system components and be reliable in operation. Back-up protection to cover the possible failure of the main protection is provided in order to improve the reliability of the protection system. While electromechanical relays can still be found in some utilities, the tendency is to replace these by microprocessor and numerical relays, particularly in the more complex protection arrangements.

1.2

Basic principles of electrical systems

The primary aim of any electricity supply system is to meet all customers' demands for energy. Power generation is carried out wherever it achieves the most economic selling cost overall. The transmission system is used to transfer large amounts of energy to major load centres, while distribution systems carry the energy to the furthest customer, using the most appropriate voltage level. Where the transport of very large amounts of power over large distances is involved, an extra high voltage (EHV) system, sometimes termed major or primary transmission, is required. Such systems operate in the 300 kV plus range, typical values being 400, 500 and 765 kV. High voltage (HV) networks transport large amounts of power within a particular region and are operated either as interconnected systems or discrete groups. Below the transmission system there can be two or three distribution voltage levels to cater for the variety of customers and their demands. In general, the medium voltage (MV) networks and low voltage (LV) networks are operated as radial systems. Figure 1.1 illustrates the interrelation of the various networks. The HV networks are supplied from EHV/HV substations which themselves are supplied by inter-regional EHV lines. HV/MV transforming substations situated around each HV network supply individual MV networks. The HV and MV networks provide supplies direct to large customers, but the vast majority of customers are connected at low voltage and supplied via MV/LV distribution substations and their associated networks, as shown in Figure 1.2.

1.3

Protection requirements

The protection arrangements for any power system must take into account the following basic principles: 1. Reliability: the ability of the protection to operate correctly. It has two elements dependability, which is the certainty of a correct operation on the occurrence of

Protection of electricity distribution networks


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a fault, and security, which is the ability to avoid incorrect operation during faults. Speed: minimum operating time to clear a fault in order to avoid damage to equipment.

Introduction
3. 4.

Selectivity: maintaining continuity of supply by disconnecting the minimum section of the network necessary to isolate the fault. Cost: maximum protection at the lowest cost possible.

Since it is practically impossible to satisfy all the above-mentioned points simultaneously, inevitably a compromise is required to obtain the optimum protection system.

1.4

Protection zones

The general philosophy for the use of relays is to divide the system into separate zones, which can be individually protected and disconnected on the occurrence of a fault, in order to permit the rest of the system to continue in service wherever possible. In general a power system can be divided into protection zones - generators, transformers, groups of generator transformers, motors, busbars and lines. Figure 1.3 shows a system with different protection zones. It should be noted that the zones overlap at some points indicating that, if a fault occurs in these overlap areas, more than one set of protection relays should operate. The overlap is obtained by connecting the protection relays to the appropriate current transformers as illustrated in Figure 1.4.

1.5

Primary and back-up protection

All the elements of the power system must be correctly protected so that the relays only operate on the occurrence of a fault. Some relays, designated as unit type protection, operate only for faults within their protection zone. Other relays designated as non-unit protection, are able to detect faults both within a particular zone and also outside it, usually in adjacent zones, and can be used to back up the primary protection as a second line of defence. It is essential that any fault is isolated, even if the associated main protection does not operate. Therefore, wherever possible, every element in the power system should be protected by both primary and back-up relays.

1.5.1 Primary protection


Primary protection should operate every time an element detects a fault on the power system. The protection element covers one or more components of the power system, such as electrical machines, lines and busbars. It is possible for a power system component to have various primary protection devices. However, this does not imply that they all have to operate for the same fault, and it should be noted that the primary protection for one item of system equipment might not necessarily be installed at the same location as the system equipment; in some cases it can be sited in an adjacent substation.

1.5.2 Back-up protection


Back-up protection is installed to operate when, for whatever reason, the primary protection does not work. To achieve this, the back-up protection relay has a sensing

Protection of electricity distribution networks

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Introduction

element which may or may not be similar to the primary protection, but which also includes a time-delay facility to slow down the operation of the relay so as to allow time for the primary protection to operate first. One relay can provide back-up protection simultaneously to different pieces of system equipment. Equally the same equipment can have a number of different back-up protection relays and it is quite common for a relay to act as primary protection for one piece of equipment and as back-up for another.

1.6

Directional protection

An important characteristic of some types of protection is their capacity to be able to determine the direction of the flow of power and, by this means, their ability to inhibit opening of the associated switch when the fault current flows in the opposite direction to the setting of the relay. Relays provided with this characteristic are important in protecting mesh networks, or where there are various generation sources, when fault currents can circulate in both directions around the mesh. In these cases, directional protection prevents the unnecessary opening of switchgear and thus improves the security of the electricity supply. On protection schematic diagrams the directional protection is usually represented by an arrow underneath the appropriate symbol, indicating the direction of current flow for relay operation.

Example I.I Check on correct operation of protection Using the power system shown in Figure 1.5, examples are given where there has been incorrect operation of protection and the associated breakers, leading to the operation of back-up protection to isolate the fault from the system, followed by an example

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Protection of electricity distribution networks

of correct relay operation, with a final example of unnecessary relay operation. The directional protection is indicated by the arrows below the corresponding breakers. Table 1.1 shows the breakers that failed to open and those that were tripped by the primary protection and by the back-up protection.

Table 1.1
Case

Relay~breaker operations for Example 1.1


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Figure 1.6

Schematic diagram for Exercise 1.1

Introduction

For fault F1, the protection correctly tripped breaker 4 to open one end of the faulted feeder. With breaker 3 failing to open, breakers 1 and 2 were tripped by back-up protection to stop fault current flowing into the fault from generators G1 and G2. With fault F2, when breaker 6 failed to operate, the directional protection on breakers 3 and 8 operated to open the incoming feeders from the adjacent busbars, and the back-up protection on breaker 5 tripped to stop G3 feeding into the fault. Fault F3 was correctly cleared by the tripping of feeder breaker 10. Fault F4 was correctly cleared by the operation of breaker 11, so that the tripping of breaker 8 was incorrect. Any fault current flowing along inter-busbar feeder 7-8 before breaker 11 opened would have been from 7 to 8. Relay 8 is directional and operation should not have been initiated for flows from 7 to 8. Thus the first two cases illustrate mal-operation from a dependability point of view, with the last one illustrating maloperation from a security standpoint.

1.7

Exercise 1.1

For the power system arrangement shown in Figure 1.6, complete Table 1.2, taking into account the operation of the circuit breakers as shown for each fault case. Please note that, as in Example 1.1, some of the circuit breakers that operated may have done so unnecessarily.

Table 1.2
Case

Relay~breaker operations for Exercise 1.1


Breakers that mal-operated Tripped by primary protection 2,5 Tripped by back-up protection

Breakers that operated 2,3,4,5 21, 22, 23 24, 27 10, 11, 17, 19

F1 F2 F3