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Waterpower '97

August 58, 1997


Atlanta, GA

Upgrading
Hydroelectric Generator Protection
Using Digital Technology

Charles J. Mozina
Beckwith Electric Company
6190-118th Avenue North
Largo, FL 33773-3724 U.S.A.

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Upgrading Hydroelectric Generator Protection


Using Digital Technology
Charles J. Mozina1

Abstract
This proposed paper presents the reasons/rationale why hydroelectric generator owners should
consider upgrading the electrical protection of their generators to meet todays IEEE/ANSI standards. It specifically outlines the risks assumed by the owners in several functional protection
areas where 20+ year old generator protection is inadequate.
Introduction
Contrary to popular belief, generators do experience short circuits and abnormal electrical
conditions. In many cases, equipment damage due to these events can be reduced or prevented by
proper generator protection. Generators, unlike most other power system components, need to be
protected not only from short circuits, but from abnormal electrical conditions. Examples of such
abnormal conditions are: overexcitation, overvoltage, loss-of-field, unbalanced currents, reverse
power, and abnormal frequency. When subjected to these conditions, damage or complete failure
can occur within seconds; thus, automatic detection and tripping are required.
In the early 1990s, the IEEE Power System Relaying Committee conducted a survey to determine how major synchronous generators in North America were protected from short circuits
and abnormal electrical conditions. Survey findings indicated that despite the clear need to upgrade older generator protection schemes to meet current standards, utilities seemed reluctant to
make needed modifications to existing power plants. This reluctance may be due to several
factors: a lack of expertise, a misunderstood belief that generators do not fail often enough to
warrant proper protection, or a belief that operating procedures will cover protection design
deficiencies.
Areas of Protection Upgrade on Older Generators
The areas of upgrading of 20+ year old generator protection fall into three broad categories:
1) Improved Sensitivity in protection areas where older relaying does not provide the level
of detection required to prevent damages. Examples of protection in this area are:
negative sequence (unbalanced current) protection
100% stator ground fault protection
2) New or Additional Protection Areas that 20 years ago were not perceived to be a problem, but operating experiences have proved otherwise. These areas are:
1

Manager Application Engineering, Protection and Protection Systems, Beckwith Electric


Company, 6190 - 118th Avenue North, Largo, FL 33773-3724, U.S.A.

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inadvertent generator energizing


vt fuse loss
oscillographic monitoring
3) Special Protection Application Considerations that are unique to generators. These areas
include:
generator breaker failure
The IEEE/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) develop protection guides (see references 1, 2 and 3) reflecting the need to provide the protection, which is outlined in this paper, in
the major upgrade areas cited. These guides express the views of both users (utilities/generator
owners) as well as the generator manufacturers and are reflective of in-service experience viewed
at a national level. The guides are updated on a five year basis to keep them current with both inservice experience as well as changes in technology.
Improved Sensitivity Protection Areas
Negative Sequence (unbalanced current) Protection

There are a number of system conditions that can cause unbalanced three-phase currents in a
generator. These system conditions produce negative sequence components of current which
induce a double-frequency current in the surface of the rotor. The skin effect of the doublefrequency rotor current causes it to be forced into the surface elements of the rotor. These rotor
currents can cause excessive temperatures in a very short time.
The current flows across the metal-to-metal contact of the retaining rings to the rotor forging
wedges. Because of the skin effect, only a very small portion of this high frequency current
flows in the field windings. Excessive negative sequence heating beyond rotor thermal limits
results in failure. These limits are based on the following equation, for a given generator:
K=I22t

Where:
K = constant depending on generator design and size
t = time in seconds
I2 = RMS value of negative sequence current in p.u.
The continuous unbalanced current capability of a generator is defined in ANSI C50.13 (references 4 and 5). This standard states that "generator shall be capable of withstanding, without
injury, the effects of a continuous current unbalance corresponding to a negative-phase-sequence
current I2 of the following values, providing the rated kVA is not exceeded and the maximum
current does not exceed 105 percent of rated current in any phase."
Type of Generator

Permissible I2
(percent of stator rating)

Salient Pole
With connected amortisseur windings
10
With non-connected amortisseur windings 5

These values also express the negative-phase-sequence current capability at reduced generator
KVA capabilities.
It is common practice to provide protection for the generator for external unbalanced current
conditions that might damage the machine. This protection consists of a time overcurrent relay
which is responsive to negative sequence current. Two types of relays are available for this
protection: an electromechanical time overcurrent relay with an extremely inverse characteristic,
and a static or digital relay with a time overcurrent characteristic which matches the negative
sequence current capabilities of the generator. For open conductor or open breaker pole condi-

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tions, the negative sequence relay is usually the only protection. The low magnitude of negative
sequence currents created by this type of event (typically 10-20% of stator rating) prevents other
fault relays from providing protection. For electromechanical negative sequence relays, the minimum pickup can be set to provide only 60% of stator rated current sensitivity. Thus, these relays
will provide no protection for open phase or open generator breaker pole conditions which are
frequent negative sequence events within the industry. The sensitivity of negative sequence static
or digital relays is required. Almost all 20+ year old generators are protected with electromechanical negative sequence relays which make this an important upgrade area.
100% Stator Ground Fault Protection

High-impedance generator neutral grounding utilizes a distribution transformer and a secondary resistor. The secondary resistor is usually selected so that for a single line to ground fault at
the terminals of the generator, the power dissipated in the resistor is approximately equal to the
reactive volt-amperes in the zero sequence capacitive reactance of the generator windings, its
leads, and the windings of any transformers connected to the generator terminals. Using this
grounding method, a single line to ground fault is generally limited to 3-25 primary amperes.

59
N

Figure 1 High Impedance-Grounded Generator


The most widely used stator ground fault protective scheme in high impedance-grounded
systems is a time- delayed overvoltage relay (59N) connected across the grounding resistor to
sense zero-sequence voltage as shown in Figure 1. The relay used for this function is designed to
be sensitive to fundamental frequency voltage and insensitive to third harmonic and other zero
sequence harmonic voltages that are present at the generator neutral. Typically, the overvoltage
relay has a minimum pickup setting of approximately 5 V.
The 59N protective scheme is straight forward and dependable, however, this relay will provide protection for only about 95% of the stator winding. This is because a fault in the remaining
5% of the winding, near the neutral, does not produce a sufficient 60 Hz residual voltage. It is
important to protect major generators with an additional ground fault protection system so that
fault coverage for 100% of the winding is obtained. Twenty plus year old generators typically
have only 95% of the stator winding protected for ground faults. Many utilities have upgraded
protection to provide 100% stator winding ground fault protection. One method is the use of a
third-harmonics undervoltage relay. Third-harmonic voltage components are present at the neutral of nearly every machine to varying degrees; they arise and vary due to differences in design,
manufacture and machine load. If present in a sufficient amount, this voltage can be used to
detect ground faults near the neutral.

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One method uses the fact that for a fault near the neutral, the level of third-harmonic voltage
at the neutral decreases. Therefore, an undervoltage relay operating from third-harmonic voltage
measured at the neutral end could be used to detect faults near the neutral. The ground faults in
the remaining portion of the windings can be detected by conventional ground fault protection,
e.g., the overvoltage relay (59N) which operates on the 60 Hz neutral voltage. The combination
of both relays provide 100% stator winding protection. A simplified protection scheme using this
technique is shown in Figure 2.

59

(+)
59

59N

2-1

2-2

100%

95%
59
N

27
Th

27Th

2-2

2-1

86
COMPLETE
SHUTDOWN

(-)

59
59N

Instantaneous Overvoltage Supervisory Relay


Overvoltage Relay Tuned to the
Fundamental (60 Hz) Frequency
27Th Undervoltage Relay Tuned to the
Third Harmonic (180 Hz) Frequency
2-1, 2-2 Timers
Figure 2 Third Harmonic Undervoltage Ground Fault Protection Scheme
New or Additional Protection Areas
Inadvertent Accidental Generator Energizing

Inadvertent or accidental energizing of synchronous generators has been a particular problem


within the industry in recent years. A number of machines have been damaged or, in some cases,
completely destroyed when they were accidentally energized while off-line. The frequency of
these occurrences has prompted generator manufacturers to recommend that the problem be addressed through dedicated protective relay schemes. Due to the severe limitation of conventional
generator relaying to detect inadvertent energizing, dedicated protection schemes have been developed and installed. Unlike conventional protection schemes, which provide protection when
equipment is in-service, these schemes provide protection when equipment is out of service. One
method widely used to detect inadvertent energizing is the voltage-supervised overcurrent scheme
shown in Figure 3. An undervoltage element with adjustable pickup and dropout time delays
supervise an instantaneous overcurrent relay. The undervoltage detectors automatically arm the
overcurrent tripping when the generator is taken off-line. This undervoltage detector will disable
or disarm the overcurrent relay when the machine is returned to service. Great care should be
taken when implementing this protection so that the dc tripping power and relay input quantities
to the scheme are not removed when the generator is off-line.

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CT

50
27

50

VT

Overcurrent

I>P.U.

AND
Pickup
Delay

27

GEN

Output
Contact

Undervoltage*

V<P.U.

Dropout
Delay

* On All Three Phases Simultaneously

a) Relay Inputs

b) Relay Logic Diagram

Figure 3 Inadvertent Energizing Scheme


When an off-line generator is energized while on turning gear, or coasting to a stop, it behaves
as an induction motor and can be damaged within a few seconds. During three-phase energization
at a standstill, a rotating flux at synchronous frequency is induced in the generator rotor. The
resulting rotor current is forced into sub-transient paths in the rotor body, similar to those rotor
current paths for negative-sequence stator currents during generator single-phasing. Rapid rotor
heating occurs, which can quickly damage the rotor. The machine impedance during this highslip interval is equivalent to the generator negative-sequence reactance. Figure 4 shows a simplified equivalent circuit that can be used to calculate the current and voltage associated with threephase inadvertent energizing.
Equivalent
System
Reactance
X1S

Where:
X1S = System Positive Sequence Reactance

I
GEN

X2G

EG

ES
Equivalent
System
Voltage

X2G = Generator Negative Sequence Reactance


ES = System Voltage
EG = Generator Terminal Voltage
I = Current

Figure 4 Inadvertent Energizing Equivalent Circuit


Operating errors, breaker-head flashovers, control circuit malfunctions, or a combination of
these causes, have resulted in generators becoming accidentally energized while off-line. In industrial applications, the major cause of inadvertent energization of generators has been by closing the generator breaker through the mechanical close/trip control at the breaker itself, thereby
defeating the electrical interlocks.
VT Fuse Loss Protection

Loss of the vt signal can occur due to a number of causes, the most common cause being fuse
failure. Other causes may be an actual vt or wiring failure, an open in the draw-out assemblies, a
contact opening due to corrosion, or a blown fuse due to screwdriver shorts during on-line main-

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tenance. Such loss of vt signal can cause protective relays misoperations or generator voltage
regulator runaway leading to an overexcitation condition. Some method of detection is required
so that the effected relay tripping can be blocked and the voltage regulator transferred to manual
operation. Typically, protective functions such as 21, 32, 40 and 51V are impacted and are
normally blocked when a loss of potential is detected.
On larger generators, it is common practice to use two sets of voltage transformers (vts) in the
generator zone of protection. As shown in Figure 5a, the vts that are usually connected grounded
wye-grounded wye, normally have secondary and possibly primary fuses. These vts are used to
provide potential to a number of protective relays and the voltage regulator. If a fuse blows in the
vt circuits, the secondary voltages applied to the relays and voltage regulator will be reduced in
magnitude. This change in voltage signal can cause the misoperation of the relays and the regulator to overexcite the generator.
GEN

GEN
VT

60
FL

60
VOLTAGE
BALANCE
RELAY
TO
PROTECTIVE
RELAY

TO PROTECTIVE
RELAY AND
VOLTAGE
REGULATOR

TO
VOLTAGE
REGULATOR

a) Application of Voltage Balance Relay Protection b) Modern VT Fuse Loss Detection


Figure 5 VT Fuse Loss Detection
On many older, hydro generators, only one set of vts is provided. It is not possible to use a
voltage balance relay unless a second set of vts is added. Thus, many generators do not have vt
fuse loss protection. A modern digital method used in vt failure detection makes use of the
relationships of negative sequence voltages and currents during a loss of potential. When one vt
signal is lost, the three phase voltages become unbalanced. Due to this unbalance, a negative
sequence voltage is produced. To distinguish this condition from a fault, negative sequence currents are checked. The presence of negative sequence voltage in the absence of negative sequence current indicates a fuse failure rather than a fault.
Oscillographic Generator Monitoring

The monitoring of a utility's transmission system with oscillographs which record relay currents and voltages has long been accepted within the industry as providing the basic data to
analyze the performance of the transmission protective system. Because of the greater number of
transmission line faults versus generator faults and abnormal conditions, it was felt by many that
similar monitoring of generators could not be economically justified with stand alone oscillographs. However, with the advent of digital protective relays for generators, oscillographs are
built into the protective relay. Figure 6 is an example of an oscillographic recording from such a
relay.

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Figure 6 Digital Relay Oscillograph Record


With the remote communication capabilities of these relays, oscillograph and target information can be quickly accessed from a remote location, after a generator tripping, to determine if
relay and circuit breaker operations were proper. Oscillographic information can also identify the
type of testing needed to find the cause of a tripping and speed the return of the generator to
service. It gives the relay engineer the necessary data to keep machines off-line for testing and
inspection, when necessary, after an electrical tripping or to return the unit to service with a
minimum delay. Those utilities that have implemented a program of oscillographic monitoring of
generators have found the information invaluable.
Special Protection Application Considerations
Generator Breaker Failure

A breaker failure scheme needs to be initiated when the protective relay system operates to
trip the generator circuit breaker but the breaker fails to operate. Because of the sensitivities
required, there are major differences in how local breaker failure is applied on a generator breaker
versus a transmission line breaker. Figure 7 shows the functional diagram of a typical breaker
failure scheme used on a transmission line breaker.
When the protective relays detect a fault, they will attempt to trip the primary transmission
line breaker and at the same time initiate breaker failure. If the line breaker does not clear the
fault in a specified time, the timer will trip the necessary backup breakers to remove the failed
circuit breaker from service. The successful tripping of the primary breaker is determined by the
drop out of its current detector (CD) which stops the breaker failure timer (62). When breaker
failure is applied on a generator breaker, however, its tripping may not be initiated by a short
circuit but by an abnormal operating condition for which there maybe little or no short circuit
current. Abnormal operating conditions such as overvoltage, overexcitation, excessive underfrequency,
reverse power and stator ground faults will not produce sufficient current to operate the current
detectors (CD). The breaker 52a switch must be used in parallel with the fault detectors to
provide additional indication in a breaker failure scheme for generator breakers. This logic is
shown in Figure 8.

CD

Protective
Relays

AND
BFI

Trip
Generator
Breaker

62
Timer
A

CD - Current Detector

Trips
Backup
Breakers
and
Unit

62 - Breaker Failure Timer With


Adjustable Pickup & Zero Dropout Delays
BFI - Breaker Failure Initiate

Figure 7 Typical Transmission Line Breaker Failure Functional Diagram


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52a

OR

CD

62
Timer
A

AND

Trips
Backup
Breaker
and
Unit

BFI

Protective
Relays

52a - Circuit Breaker Auxiliary Contacts


CD - Current Detector
62

- Breaker Failure Timer With


Adjustable Pickup & Zero Dropout Delays

BFI - Breaker Failure Initiate

Trip
Generator
Breaker

Figure 8 Functional Diagram of a Generator Breaker Failure Scheme


Using Digital Technology to Implement an Upgrade Program
Just as it has been in the transmission line upgrade area, multifunction digital relaying is an
ideal and cost effective way to upgrade generator protection to current industry standards. Figure
9a shows a functional diagram of such a relay.
Utility System

Utility System
TYPICAL
MULTIFUNCTION
RELAY

IA, B, C

52
Unit

50

52
C

BF-N

TYPICAL MULTIFUNCTION RELAY

Denotes Upgrade
Functions

81

81

27

59

27

59

24
27

24
5
27

5
50
BF

87
GD

50

50
BF

50

87

IA, B, C

87

4
60FL

4
60FL

40

51V

32

50

46

Ia, b, c

40

21

32

46

27

Ia, b, c

27

51N

50N

2
27

27
TN

59N

High-Impedance
Grounding

Low-Impedance
Grounding

Denotes
Upgrade
Functions

a) High-Impedance Grounded Generator

b) Low-Impedance Grounded Generator

Figure 9 One-Line Diagrams


Common upgrade functions (shaded) are shown in Figures 9a and 9b:
1
2
3
4
5

Negative Sequence (unbalanced current) Protection


100% Stator Ground Fault Protection
Inadvertent (accidental) Generator Energizing
VT Fuse Loss Protection
Generator Breaker Failure

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These functions, plus nine (9) additional protection functions, are included in a single compact package. Space considerations are an important concern when doing upgrade work and can
have a significant impact on project cost, making multifunction digital relays ideal for upgrade
projects.
Additional features, which make these types of relays extremely flexible for upgrade applications, include:

Programmable outputs and six programmable inputs


Oscillographic recording
Target storage
Metering of all measured parameters
RS-232 and RS-485 communication ports
Continuous self-checking diagnostics

For low impedance-grounded generators (resistor-or reactive-grounded), overcurrent (51N)


stator ground relaying is required. Figure 9b illustrates a one-line diagram of this application.
Many protection upgrade projects are part of larger life extension or automation efforts within
a power plant. One of the important features of digital relays is their communication capability.
Rear-panel communication ports, RS-232 or RS-485, can be used to remotely set and interrogate
the relay via a modem. Communication with multiple relays can be accomplished using a simple
low cost communication signal splitter and modems (Figure 10).

Telephone
Line

IBM-Compatible PC

Modem

Modem
Communications-Line
Splitter

Address 6
Address 5
Address 4
Address 1

Address 3
Address 2

a) RS-232 Port
Address 1

Address 2

Address 5

RX
- +

RX
- +

RX
- +

TX
- +

TX
- +

TX
- +

PC Master

TT+
RR+

Twisted Pair
RS-232 to RS-485 4-wire converter

b) RS-485 Port
Figure 10 Multiple System Addressing Using Communications-Line Splitter
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Relay 1

Relay 2

Relay 3

Relay

PLANT
DCS System
Data link to
EMS Center

Local
Operator
CRT
Display

EMS
Center

Figure 11 System Integration


Metering quantities (MW, MVAR, Volts, Amps, P.F., etc.) within these relays can be accessed by a DCS (Distributed Control System) within the plant through the relay communication
ports. This saves in the costs and wiring required for dedicated transducers for each metering
quantity. Figure 11 shows a system which uses the digital relay as an Intelligent Electronic
Device (IED) to gather data for a DCS system.
Conclusion
There are a number of functional protection areas on 20+ year old generators which have
significant shortcomings. This paper identifies those protection areas and the risks of not addressing them. In addition, a cost-effective strategy to upgrade protection to current industry
standards is outlined using multifunction digital relaying. Generation is the single most expensive capital investment of a utility. Protecting this investment to prevent failure should be a
priority item with utilties as well as non-utility generator owners.
References
[1] ANSI/IEEE C37.102-1986, "IEEE Guide for AC Generator Protection."
[2] ANSI/IEEE C37.101-1993, "IEEE Guide for AC Generator Ground Protection."
[3] ANSI/IEEE C37.106-1987, "IEEE Guide for Abnormal Frequency Protection for Power
Generating Plants."
[4] ANSI C50.13-1987, "American National Standard for Cylindrical Rotor Synchronous
Generators."
[5] ANSI/IEEE C50.12-1982, "American National Standard Requirements for Salient Pole
Synchronous Generators and Generator/Motors for Hydraulic Turbine Applications."
[6] IEEE Power Engineering Society Tutorial 95TP102, "IEEE Tutorial on the Protection of
Synchronous Generators."
About the Author
Chuck Mozina is currently Manager of Application Engineering for Protection and Protection Systems for Beckwith Electric Co. He is responsible for the application of Beckwith products and systems used in generator protection and intertie protection, synchronizing and bus
transfer schemes.
Chuck is an active member of the IEEE Power System Relay Committee and is the past
chairman of the Rotating Machinery Subcommittee. He is the U.S. representative to the CIGRE
Study Committee 34 on System Protection and chairs a CIGRE working group on generator
protection. He also chaired the IEEE task force which produced the tutorial The Protection of
Synchronous Generators.
Chuck has a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Purdue University and has
authored a number of papers and magazine articles on protective relaying. He has over 25 years
of experience as a protective engineer at Centerior Energy, a major investor-owned utility in
Cleveland, Ohio. He is also a former instructor in the Graduate School of Electrical Engineering
at Cleveland State University.

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