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SURGE ARRESTERS FOR CABLE SHEATH PREVENTING POWER LOSSES IN M.V.

NETWORKS

A. Hei
Energie-AG (EAM),
Kassel
(Germany)

G. Balzer
Darmstadt University
of Technology
(Germany)

Cable sheaths of power cables in the distribution


networks are generally earthed on both terminals.
This method avoids any dielectric stress of the
sheath isolation by coupling voltage in the circuit
sheath -to -earth. The same applies to the fieldcontrol electrodes of the sealing ends. This is an
advantage for all dielectric field control system of
cable terminals, considering capacitive, resistive
or refractive controlled. The disadvantage is an
additional power loss, caused by the current
flowing in the circuit sheath- earth. The loss is
dependent on the type of cable, the load current
and the method of cable laying. For typical
medium voltage-plastic-insulated cables the
additional loss in the cable sheaths are about 2%
up to 10 % of the total power loss of a cable
connection.
However, the power loss can be avoided, if a
surge arrester is inserted between the screen and
earth at one terminal and if the other side is
directly earthed. Moreover the surge arrester
limits the voltage between sheath and earth to the
residual voltage of the arrester. And in this way
the arrester protects the cable-sheath isolation
and the isolation of the sealing end against high
voltages in case of an overvoltage. The fieldcontrol electrode of the sealing end and the cable
sheath have always an defined voltage in like
manner, if both ends of the sheath are earthed.
This kind of protective circuit is not new. It is
already applied for cable connections with high
current. With modern metal-oxid surge arresters
(mo-arresters) this protective circuit can be
installed on each cable connection to avoid the
additional power loss in the sheaths.
The report describes the design of the moarrester. The arresters are standardized for typical
length of cable-connections and typical values of
short-circuit currents. Its protective level should be
as low as possible, because the withstand
strength of the sheath during its service life is not
well-defined and is not assured by any
standardized test. On the other hand the rated
voltage of these arresters should be higher than
the induces sheath-to-earth voltage at maximum
fault current. Beyond this the paper specifies the

O. Schmitt
ABB Calor Emag
Schaltanlagen,
Mannheim
(Germany)

B. Richter
ABB Hochspannungstechnik, Baden
(Switzerland)

additional cable-power loss for different kinds of


cable laying and the economical advantage of the
solution. It also describes the effects for the
grounding arrangement of a whole network.

SURGE ARRESTERS FOR CABLE SHEATH PREVENTING POWER LOSSES IN M.V. NETWORKS

A. Hei
Energie-AG (EAM),
Kassel
(Germany)

O. Schmitt
ABB Calor Emag
Schaltanlagen,
Mannheim
(Germany)

G. Balzer
Darmstadt University
of Technology
(Germany)

1 INTRODUCTION

Cable sheaths of power cables in the distribution networks are generally earthed on both sides. This method
avoids any dielectric stress on the sheath insulation by
transferred voltages in the circuit sheath to earth. The
same applies to the field-control electrodes of the sealing ends. This is an advantage for all dielectric field
control systems of cable terminals, whether capacitive,
resistive or refractive controlled. The disadvantage is an
additional power loss, caused by the current flowing in
the circuit sheath to earth. The amount of losses depends
on the type of cable, the load current and the method of
cable laying. For typical medium voltage polymeric
insulated cables the additional losses in the cable
sheaths are around 2% up to 10 % of the total power
losses of a cable connection.

However, the power losses can be avoided, if only one


side of the cable sheath is earthed, and a surge arrester is
inserted between the sheath and earth at the other side of
the cable. Additional the surge arrester limits
overvoltages between sheath and earth, and in this way
the arrester protects the cable-sheath insulation. The
field-control electrode of the sealing end and the cable
sheath have always a similarly defined voltage, if both
ends of the sheath are earthed. This kind of protective
circuit is not new. It is usually already applied to cable
connections with high currents in high voltage systems.
The arresters are standardized for typical lengths of
cable-connections, and typical values of short-circuit
currents. Its protective level should be as low as possible, because the voltage withstand strength of the sheath
insulation is not well defined, and is not assured by any
standardized test. On the other hand the arresters should
withstand the induces sheath-to-earth voltage at
maximum fault current. Beyond this the paper specifies
the additional cable-power loss for different kinds of
cable laying and the economical advantage of the
solution. It also describes the effects of the grounding
arrangement of the whole network.
2 CALCULATION OF VOLTAGES /CURRENTS
2.1 General
The voltages and currents of the cable sheath is influenced by two different type of currents regarding amplitude and time duration:

B. Richter
ABB Hochspannungstechnik, Baden
(Switzerland)

short-circuit current with a time duration of


t = 3 s(single and three phase)
load current (infinite time).

For these two current stresses the voltages have to be


considered. Two types of laying of the cables are in use
according to figure 2.1: triangular and single plane
configuration.

Figure 2.1: Laying of m.v. cables


The different types of laying produce different voltage
stresses, and different load currents depending on the
geometry of the cable, and the earthing. The subclauses
describe the general equations to calculate the voltage
and current distribution due to the earthing condition.
2.2 Voltages
2.2.1 Voltages caused by three phase currents
In general the voltage sheath US can be calculated depending on the line current. In the case of single plane
configuration the voltage stress of the sheath depends on
the position of the line considered: the center or the
outer position. Due to this the maximum voltage will be
the induced voltage of the outer cable sheath.
2.2.2 Voltages caused by single phase currents
If a single phase current is assumed the voltage of the
cable sheath will not be influenced by the other lines,
which do not carry the short circuit current. The voltage
US can be calculated depending on the return path
through earth.
2.2.3 Capacitive voltage transfer
If the sheath is only earthed at one side according to
figure 2.2 the voltage U0 between the line conductor and
earth will be transferred to the voltage US and UL at the
remote end of the cable.

Capacitive voltage transfer


The capacitance CS and CE can be calculated to CS =
254 nF/km and CE = 760 nF/km. This leads to the voltage USmax = 0.25 U0. That means, that 25 % of the
voltage line-to-earth will be transferred. In reality this
voltages will be smaller due to the earthing at one side.
In dependence of the cable length the following values
are calculated assuming a line-to-sheath voltage of
Figure 2.2: Capacitive voltage transfer
UL
line-to-sheath US
sheath-to-earth

24 kV/ 3 and a frequency of 50 Hz:


US = 0.3 V/5.1 V

Without consideration of the load flow condition, the


voltage depends on the capacitance CS and CE and the
cable length. Therefore the maximum voltage USmax at
the end of the cable can be estimated due to the capacitive voltage divider if both sides are isolated. The voltage USmax is only possible if the cable length is infinite,
in the opposite of this the voltage will be reduced due to
the short-circuit at one side of the cable.
2.3 Sheath currents and power losses
A current of the sheath is caused, if the sheath is earthed
at both sides. The consequence is that additional power
losses are generated. According to the above mentioned
installations, the currents will be calculated with the
worst-case assumption, that there is no return current
through earth. This will lead to the maximum power
losses. According to the time duration the power losses
are only relevant for normal operation conditions (no
short-circuit currents). And for this reason three phase
currents are only considered.
2.4 Example
2.4.1 General
The most common cable in Germany is a polymeric type
(VPE) with aluminum conductors (NA2XS2Y). If in the
case of a triangle installation the distance between the
three lines is twice the outer radius of the cable (d = 36
mm), the distance is increased to fourth times the value,
if a plane level installation is considered. According to
the above mentioned circumstances the voltages and
currents are calculated using the equations, which are
reported in /1/.
2.4.2 Sheath voltages

Three phase: Triangular: U S = 55.0 [V km]


Single plane: U S = 126.1 [V km]
single phase:

The voltages sheath-to-earth generally can be neglected


considering the energy consumption of the installed
surge arresters in the case of the steady state condition.
If in the opposite of this the conductor of the cable
(length 2000 m) is stressed by a ramp-function with
time-to-peak of 4 s and the same amplitude of

24 kV/ 3 , the voltages US and UL (figure 2.2) at the


remote side are
US = - 14.44 kV

U S = 693.3 [V km]

UL = + 25.75 kV

These values are generated including the transient


phenomena and reflection of the surge at the open end of
the cable sheath. Therefore it should mandatory to
install a surge arrester between the isolated sheath and
earth.
2.4.3 Sheath currents and power losses
Considering the cable type NA2XS2Y, as mentioned in
subclause 2.4.1, the following sheath currents IS can be
calculated according to the configuration depending on
the symmetrical line current IL.
Triangular:
Single plane:

IS = 0.051 IL
IS = 0.139 IL

In the case of a single plane configuration the sheath


current of the center line will be reduced, according to
the strong coupling of the two outer lines. Due to the
current IS and the resistance of the sheath, the power
losses of the sheaths can be calculated depending on the
configuration and the maximum line current.
Triangular:

Inductive voltage transfer


Related to a current of I = 1000 A, the sheath voltage to
earth can be calculated in dependence on the length
according to the above mentioned types of installations
and the current:

cable length 500 m/2000 m

single plane:

PlS = 740 W/km


PlS = 5300 W/km

2.5 Selection of surge arresters


In this subclause the voltages were considered caused by
three phase short-circuit currents in resonant earthed
networks. In principle single phase short-circuit currents
will lead to higher values, but the current depends on the
network earthing and may differ in a wide range, so that
actual calculations have to be performed.

The relevant temporary overvoltage UTOV, for the selection of the surge arresters, are calculated in chapter
2.4.2 and are summarized in table 2.1 depending on the
cable length of 0.5 km and 2 km, which are typical for
the installation in m.v.-networks. The maximum three
phase short-circuit current can be assumed to either

earth U0max (figure 2.2) is considered to 80 kV, which


should be the protective level of the installed surge
arrester.

I k" = 10 kA or I k" = 20 kA in distribution networks,


whereas the load current of the cable is I l = 350 A .

Today usually single-conductor VPE-cables are used in


all networks up to the system voltage of 123 kV. The
basis of these cables is a braided shield of copper wires.
This shield is covered by a transverse copper spiral.
With this construction the electromagnetic behavior of
the cable sheath is clearly defined, different from a
metal enclosure /2/.

l /m

UTOV/V

I k"
500
2000

= 10 kA

I k"

631
2522

= 20 kA

I l = 350 A

1261
5044

22
88

Table 2.1: Maximum cable sheath voltages UTOV

Ik" short-circuit current

I l load current

The listed voltages influence the continuos operating


voltages of the metal-oxide surge arresters depending on
the time-voltage curve. Due to the values of table 2.1 the
following time durations have to be considered:

Ik"

s.c. current

t = 3 sec

Il

load current

According to table 2.1 the continuos operating voltage


Uc of metal-oxide arresters can be selected under the
consideration of the curve T with respect to the temporary overvoltage UTOV versus the time duration t. Considering the two different time durations 3 s and infinite,
T is for the considered ABB surge arresters POLIM-C:

3 RESULTS OF MEASUREMENTS

In a cable section with length of 1027 m the sheath


currents IS in three phases were measured with the result
depending on the line current IL of a 20 kV cable system
(NA2XS(F)2Y):
- outer line

IS = 0,159IL center line

IS = 0,1 IL

Originally the cables are installed in a triangular configuration. But the asymmetrical values of the sheath
current measured demonstrate that after a longer service
time the single conductors are in a asymmetrical
configuration, caused by the earth pressure.
In this context the harmonic components in the sheath
current are relevant. Figure 3.1 shows the harmonic
content of the sheath current related to the power frequency current. The content of the 5th and 7th harmonic
is marked in this case.
25
%
20

T = 1.0 or 1.275

for

t or 3 s
15

Therefore the voltage UTOV, caused by the short-circuit


current, will lead to the highest values Uc. Due to these
data the voltages Uc are equal or higher than listed in
table 2.2.

500
2000

I k" = 20 kA

495
1980

990
3860

Table 2.2: Min. continuos operating voltage Uc


In addition to the Uc-selection the energy capability of
the surge arrester has to be controlled and the cable
sheath arrester has only to discharge the related cable
section /1/.
If the maximum voltage UTOV is assumed to UTOV = 0.75
U0max of the line-to-earth voltage (subclause 2.4.2), the
energy can be estimated for a cable length of l = 1 km
to Emax = 1.37 kJ/km, if the maximum voltage line-to-

37

35

33

31

29

27

25

23

21

19

17

15

13

11

I k" = 10 kA

Uc/V

l /m

10

Harmonics

Figure 3.1: Harmonic content of the cable sheath current IS


Figure 3.2 shows the power loss in the sheaths for a 24kV-VPE-cable type NA2XS(F)2Y 150 mm2 with a
copper sheath of 25 mm2 in dependent on the load current of the cable connection in a network. The power
losses were calculated using the measured sheath currents and the resistance of the sheath RS = 0,73 / km
with a service temperature of the cable at 20 C. The
deviation between the theoretically calculated values
(subclause 2.5.3) and the values of figure 3.2 deals with
the actual distance of the cable installations, which
obviously differs from the calculated ones, considering
mainly the triangle installation.

triangular

values in the three phases, corresponding to a single


plane underground installation, although the cables were
installed in a triangular formation. This must be
considered when evaluating of the power loss in the
cable sheaths.

single plane

5000
W /km
4000

3000

2000

1000

0
50

75

100

150

200

300

Figure 3.2: Power loss of the cable sheaths (25 mm


Cu) in depending on the line current
4 ECONOMIC ASPECTS
In the deregulated market the expense of erection and
maintenance of capital assets becomes more and more
interesting. This applies to the cost of loss of a m.v.
cable too, with a long service time of around 30 years.
The additional power loss in the cable sheaths is an
unnecessary part of the total costs for power loss. In the
deregulated market the power-system management aims
to increase the utilization of all components in the
network. Therefore it is worth to look into the power
loss of a cable section.
In this paragraph the present values of costs of the
power losses in the cable sheaths, according to figure
3.2, are calculated and compared with costs of the connection of the surge arresters with sheaths to prevent the
additional loss. The present values of costs of losses
(DM/ km) are calculated over a service time of 20 years
with the following parameters:
- power loss time in the network TPL = 3000 h/a
- rate for electrical energy KE = 0,09 DM/kWh
- interest rate p = 6 %
- factor for present value of costs r = 11,47
Nowadays German utilities evaluate the power loss of
network components with the help of these parameters.
The costs for provision of electrical power (DM/ kW)
are not considered. The present values of costs of the
power losses in the cable sheaths in dependency of the
load current of the cables are given in table 4.1 for
underground laying, both in a triangular installation and
in a single plane.
In German m.v.-distribution networks the utilization of
cable sections between the stations is usually around
30% of the rated power. This value corresponds to a
load current IL= 100 A for the cable type in figure 3.2.
The present values and the annual costs of the power
losses in the cable sheaths for this load is between 670
and 1370 DM/km. In many cases measurements of the
sheath voltage in a m.v.-network show asymmetrical

In reality the data given in table 4.1 would be higher, as


the rise of the capacity utilization during the service time
of the cables is neglected. The cost-benefit relation
between the arresters and the additional power losses of
the cables is the reason for choosing arresters, particular
for cable sections of more than 500 m. E.g. for cable
length of 1000 m the present value of the power losses is
two times higher than the arrester set, calculated for 30
% of the rated cable current.

IL/A
50
75
100
150
200
300

triangular
C
P
15
170
33
382
59
678
133
1.526
237
2.713
532
6.104

single plane
C
P
30
342
67
771
119
1.370
269
3.080
478
5.477
1.074
12.322

Table 4.1: Present values (P/DM/km) and annual costs


(C/DM/km a) of the power losses in the cable sheaths

5
APPLICATION
ARRESTERS

OF

CABLE

SHEATH

According to figure 5.1 the transient voltages UL and US


were calculated. The cable is connected to the overhead
line and a lightning stroke hits all three line conductors
in the vicinity of the cable conjunction ( l = 0.2 km).
The amplitude of the voltage surge is U0 = 3000 kV and
this value is possible, if a m.v. overhead line with
wooden towers is assumed. In this case the voltage
shape is only limited by the flashover to earth, so that
the highest voltage strength may occur. Therefore the
results of the calculations should be on the conservative
side.

Figure 5.1: Equivalent circuit for calculation of the


transient voltages
Due to figure 5.1 surge arresters at the cable conjunction
(A1) and at the isolated cable sheath (A2) are installed.

The Uc rating of the surge arresters is according to the


length of the length l = 2 km and short-circuit current
of I k" = 10 kA:
A1:
A2:

Uc = 24 kV
Uc = 2 kV

(ABB POLIM-D)
(ABB POLIM-C)

Figure 5.2 shows the voltages UL and US at the end of


the cable section. Furthermore the influence of the cable
sheath arrester is listed. Whereas the voltage UL is only
influenced by the additional arrester A2 from UL = 109
kV to ULA2 = 70 kV, the voltage US = 88 kV is reduced
significantly to USA2 = 6.3 kV. The energy consumption
of the arrester A2 is about E = 0.8 kJ. The protection
level of the sheath arresters is substantially lower than
the impulse voltage strength of the cable sheath with a
thickness of about 2 mm. This is valid for all types of
modern m.v.-cables (VPE).
120

40

kV

20

U SA2

-40

US

-80

4.8

4.5

4.3

4.0

3.8

3.5

3.3

3.0

2.8

2.5

2.3

2.0

1.8

1.5

1.3

1.0

0.8

0.5

0.3

-100
0.0

resonant
earthed

earthed via
impedance

Us, Uc

"
I k3

"
I k3

"
"
"
I k2E
; I k2
< I k3

"
I k1
=0;

"
I k1
(eq. 2.4)

"
I k1
=0

"
"
I k2E
= I k2

U E; U T

Ic

IE

"
I k1

"
I kmin

"
I k2

"
I k2

"
I k2
(Z0 < Z1)

"
"
I k2E
< I k3

"
"
"
I k1
, I k2
, I k3

-60

isolated

"
I k1
(Z0 > Z1)

"
)
and the protection ( I kmin
earth fault current (capacitive)
Ic
IE
earthing current /3/

U LA2

60

-20

value

Table 5.1: Values for the selection of the cable sheath


surge arresters (Us, Uc), earth electrode potential (UE),

UL

100
80

values for the earth fault current in the 24 kV networks


with isolated neutral is Ic = 35 A and for resonant
earthed systems is IE = 60 A. With these currents usually
the limiting values for UE und UT are kept in the
networks.

Figure 5.2: Transient voltages at the end of the cable


section
UL, ULA2
voltage line-to-sheath without/with arrester A2
US, USA2
voltage
sheath-to-earth
without/with
arrester A2
The special requirements of the network should be
considered in the selection of surge arresters (table 5.1).
The maximum fault current in the network is the main
design value for the arresters Uc. The maximum fault
currents of the network with different methods of neutral
point connections are listed in table 5.1, first line. The
continuos operating voltage of these arresters should be
higher than the induced voltage between sheath and
earth at the maximum fault current. The sheath arresters
influence the earth-electrode potential UE in the station
at the same side of the cable. The earth fault current IE is
the design value for the voltage UE, and for the
corresponding touch voltage UT. The data for IE are
listed in the second line.
If one side of the sheath is isolated, the screening factor
of the cable will be rK = 1 instead of rK = 0.1 0.2. This
modification is not important because normally the
reducing influence of the cable sheaths does not have to
be considered for the design of the voltages UE and UT
in isolated or resonant earthed systems. The permissible

short-circuit current

Only in impedance earthed systems the screening factor


of the cables rK = 1 has an important influence for the
earth-electrode potential UE and for touch voltage UT in
the station. In this case there is no connection of the
"
to the grounding systems of neighfault current I k1
boring stations in the network. If the voltage UE and UT
will extend the permissible values, the solution should
be, that only two sheaths of the system are earthed via a
surge arrester, whereas the third one is solidly connected
to ground.

The cable sheaths of a single phase connect in parallel


all the grounding resistances of the stations and in this
way a reduction of the effective grounding resistance is
given. The thermal short-circuit current carrying
capacity of cable sheath in a single line for VPE-cables
is (the values for paper insulated cables are lower):
16 mm2 copper
Ith = 3.2 kA (t=1s)
25 mm2 copper
Ith = 5.0 kA (t=1s)

and

Ith = 2.1 kA (t= 3s)

and

Ith = 3.1 kA (t= 3s)

Generally these values of the thermal short-circuit current carrying capacity are sufficient for a impedance
"
earthed network with I k1
= 2000 A. It must be considered that in addition the grounding resistance of the
low voltage systems reduces the effective ground resistance of a station.

6 CONCLUSION

To summarized it can be said that cable-sheath arresters


can be installed at one terminal of a cable section
between two ring main units or switchgears in all kinds
of m.v.-networks. The cost benefit relation between
arresters and the additional power losses of the cables is
a reason for choosing arresters, particular for cable
sections of more than 500 m and load currents of more
than 30 % of the rated current. Only in the case of
impedance earthing systems special requirements must
be considered to keep the limiting values for the earthelectrode potential UE and the touch voltage UT. In all
cases the possibility is, that at two cable sheaths ar-

resters are installed, whereas the third sheath is solidly


grounded.
Reference:
/1/ ABB-Report: Selection of Surge Arresters for Cable
Sheaths. Baden/Mannheim
/2/ Braun, A.: Schirmspannungen und Schirmverluste
bei Mittelspannungs-VPE-Kabeln, E-Wirtschaft, Jg.
88(1989), H. 26, S. 1898-1906
/3/ EN 50179: Erection of electrical power installations
in systems with nominal voltages above 1 kV AC