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QUANTIFYING THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF DISTURBANCES ON POWER SYSTEM PROTECTION

F Wang

M H J Bollen

Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

The performance of power system protection plays a


vital role in system security and reliability. The
presence of disturbances may affect the operation of
protective relays, and thus endanger security and
reliability of the supply. The effect of disturbances on
protection operation increases when faster and more
sensitive algorithms are used. In this paper, two
methods are presented to quantify the potential impact
of measured disturbances on relay operation. Both
methods are applied to a number of disturbances.
INTRODUCTION

Protection mal-trips due to voltage and current


disturbances form a potential threat to the reliability of
the power supply. If such a disturbance is due to a fault,
it will lead to the loss of the faulted as well as the nonfaulted component. For other disturbances, several
relays may react in the same way. The loss of multiple
components in a transmission system may trigger a
large-scale blackout. The risk of a mal-trip due to a
disturbance is minimized during the design process of a
relay (mainly through the use of filters) and by a
conservative choice of threshold and time delay settings.
All this typically leads to an increase of the faultclearing time and greater risk of fail-to-trip. To make an
accurate trade-off between fail-to-trip, fault-clearing
time and mal-trip, a detailed knowledge is needed of
voltage and current disturbances at the relay terminals.
Normally, protective relays are tested using a set of
synthetic disturbances. But the use of measured
disturbances will form an important and necessary
complement to this. It is practically impossible to test
each relay for all possible disturbances. Some first
pruning is needed, based on the potential impact of a
disturbance on a certain relay type. It is difficult to
intuitively tell the potential risk caused by disturbances
on relays. However the quantifkation technique adopted
in this paper demonstrates the nuance by means of a
disturbance factor. While the voltage and current
waveforms of different voltage disturbances are quite
similar, the disturbance factors may be completely
different.

tripping range, potentially leading to a mal-trip. This


effect will be referred to as setting-based
quantification. Disturbances will affect the relay
operation in another way as well. A relay, especially a
digital relay, can be seen as a (digital) filter that extracts
the desired component from the measured voltages
and/or currents. The presence of disturbance will give
an error in extracting the desired component. This will
be referred to as design-based quantification. It will
be assumed that the desired component is the
fundamental component; unwanted components being
harmonics, interharmonics, dc, transients, etc.
Setting-based Quantification

In practical installation, the main concerns are whether


the disturbances may trigger the relay protection by
falsely entering the protection tripping region. A
disturbance studied in this project means signal with a
short-term transient, or a long-term distortion, or both.
The practically measured disturbance signals have
limited duration, from several cycles to more than ten
cycles. The status at both the beginning and the end of
the measurement window are considered stable; the
variation in the signal in between determines the impact
on relay operation. The severity of the disturbance is
given relative to a steady state value. Either the predisturbance or the post-disturbance value is used,
whichever one is more severe. Two examples are given
in Figs. 1 and 2 (2).
In Fig. 1, the impact region starts from the postdisturbance value. In Fig.2, the impact region is counted
from the predisturbance point because it is closer to the
setting region compared with the post-disturbancepoint.

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DISTURBANCE QUANTIFICATION IN TWO


WAYS

The impact of disturbances on relay operation will be


addressed in two ways in this paper. A disturbance may
cause a measured parameter to falsely enter the relay

262

Figure 1. Impact region for overcurrent relay


To quantify the severity of an impact, a disturbance
factor D is introduced. Let s e t 0 = max (set-Os, seLOe),
or set-(set-Os, set-Oe), depending on the type of
protection, then

Developments in Power System Protection, Conference Publication No.479 0 IEE 2001.

D = I (set-h-set-O)/set-h

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Figure 3. Outputs of filtered signal by different filters

The window determines the iiquency response of the


filter. Table 2 shows the capability of different filters in
removing various unwanted components.

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Table 2 Capabilityof filter in removine. disturbances

Figure 2. Impact region for impedance relay

0
0
0

I t

X
J
X

X
X
J

X
J
X
J

X
X
J
J potential impact

Z-L
X
X
X
J

J
J

3-cycle
J
J
J

From table 2, it is clear that normally a longer sampling


window gives a more accurate output. However, more
cycles for sampling also means more time for decisionmaking. So this is a trade-off between time and
accuracy. A compromise of these factors makes 1-cycle
filter most commonly adopted in practice. By
comparing the filter outputs at different window sizes,
an approximate evaluation of the possible unwanted
components can be made. Let the case of 1-cycle filter
be the reference, the relative shift of relay setting
characteristics fkom the reference is checked for each
other filter, as an example shown in Fig. 4. The 'delay
time' in the diagram is the relay decision-making time,
i.e. the time for relay to c o d m the over-threshold
event after the setting limit is exceeded. The setting
value at the knee point is the maximum setting limit
under a certain time delay. Such a relay setting
characteristic diagram can easily be obtained f?om the
output of relay filter (4).

Table 1. Disturbances and corresDonding imDact


J

2-cycle
J
J
J
J

Whenever there is a transient, no filter can work


hundred percent correctly. Depending on the window
size, a filter will not yield correct output in less than 1
sampling window time, which means there is no way for
a filter to extract the exact fundamental component.

Collecting all the quantified impact informationtogether


gives an overall estimation of the disturbance effect on
the infringement of relay setting region. Examples are
shown below.

1/2 interharm.

Overvoltage ( v t )
Undervoltage ( V 3. )
Overcurrent ( I T )
Impedance(Z.1)

v t v3.

1-cycle

Dc

Table 1 lists the possible disturbances and their impacts


on various relay protections.

0.5-cycle
J '

Odd harm.
Even harm.

Overvoltage, undervoltage, overload, overcurrent and


impedance relays are the main force in feederfline
protections. Whenever a disturbance occurs, it is
necessary to know its potential impact on various
protections. For an overall evaluation of the disturbance,
the impact region of the following relays are studied

Disturbance type
Voltage transient
Current transient
Voltage swell
Voltage sae
Voltage fluctuation
Short-time overload
X minor or no impact

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Design-based Quantification

An important part of the design of digital relays


involves the extraction of the fundamental component
by a digital filter. The window size and shape
significantly affect the filter output. This is shown in
Fig. 3 where the amplitude of the fundamental
component is plotted for cosinelsine windows of
different size, together with the (time-domain)
disturbance factor.

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1st

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02

03

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Figure 4. Shift of relay setting characteristics

263

Case 2 Voltage fluctuation (interhamonics)

The same approach can be adopted to evaluate the


disturbance severity. The same formula as in eqn.1 can
be used to calculate the disturbance factor, for a certain
filter at a certain time delay.
CASESTUDIES

The disturbance in this case study occurred in an 11 kV


industrial system in Europe. The voltage shows obvious
fluctuation while the current is relatively stable.

10'

2d773ado (Sampling Rate 12800 H r )

In the following case studies, some measured


disturbances are applied to an ordinary digital relay to
demonstrate the disturbance impact severity. All the
relays in the study use a sampling frequency of 800 Hz.
Setting-based Disturbance Evaluation

Case 1 Voltage sag

2dmado (SamplingRate 6400 Hz)


1o00,

The disturbance in this case study occurred in a 400 V


residential system in Europe. This is a 4-cycle voltage
sag, as shown in Fig. 5.
I
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100
150
T h e (mr)

st=mlngar990819(Sampling Rate 6400 Hz)


I

60

I
200

I
250

Figure 7. Voltage fluctuation (interharmonics)

Em
0
'i,

The impact diagram of this case is shown in Fig.8. From


the diagram, it is clear that the impact is on all the relays
except the overcurrent relay. The duration of the impact
is short (less than half cycle).

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100

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100

150

200

250

300

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Figure 5. Voltage sag


By applying the approach described in the previous
section, the impact of this disturbance on the setting
regions of various types of relay is illustrated in Fig. 6.

Figure 8. Impact on relay protection zone (case 2)


Compared with the diagram in Fig.6, this diagram
shows less and shorter disturbance impact. Generally
speaking, the disturbance in this case is less hazardous
to the relay setting regions than in case 1.

Fig. 6 tells that there is much impact on overcurrent and


impedance relays, less impact on undervoltage relay and
almost no impact on overvoltage relay. The impact
duration is quite long (more than 20 ms). The heights of
the bars show the relative disturbance variation towards
the relay setting region. The higher the bar, the greater
the potential risk of relay maloperation.

Design-based Disturbance Evaluation


Case 3 Harmonics and interharmonics in current
Fig. 9 shows a disturbance in the current taken by a
computer in our laboratory. From the waveform it can
observed that there exist interharmonic component.

- 2

Ea o
-2

50

100

150

MO

250

300

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Figure 9. Harmonics and interharmonics in current

Figure 6. Impact on relay protection zone (case 1)

264

Figure 10. Impact on relay performance (case 3)

Figure 12 Impact on relay performance (case 4)

The disturbance impact evaluation diagram is shown in


Fig. 10. The bars in the row of l-cycle filter are always
of a value of 1.0, as described in the previous section.
The heights of the bars in other rows are the ratio of
s e 0 over set-0, as illustrated in Fig. 4. For any given
output waveform, the bar height at Oms means the ratio
of maximum point of this waveform over that of the 1cycle output. From Fig. 10, it h clear that the existence
of interharmonics has made the setting limit of output
waveforms shifted, either increased or decreased,
depending on the window size of relay filter. The
difference is greater when the time delay is shorter. At
longer time delay, all the output setting limits except
RMS output are closer to each other, which implies that
there might be some fluctuation on the output
waveforms.

Compared with the diagram in Fig.10, it can be


concluded that the impact on relay performance is less
thanincase3.
CONCLUSIONS

The quantification of the disturbance impact on


protective relays can be made in two different ways.
The setting-based quantification demonstrates the
severity of potential risk that the relay protection zones
could be falsely reached due to the disturbance. The
design-based quantification illustrates the severity of
impact on relay output performance due to the unwanted
components in the disturbance signal.

To interpret the diagram in Fig. 10 in a more intuitive


way, the smoothness of the plane formed by the bars
can be a criterion. The smoother the plane, the less the
disturbance impact on relay performance.

The quantification diagrams also provide some intuitive


information on the details of the disturbance. By
developing criteria on the impact diagrams, the
disturbances can be classified according to their impact
severity and duration, based on which databases can be
set up for relay testing.

Case 4 Transient and harmonics in current

REFERENCES

Another example is shown in Fig. 11. This is a


disturbance signal measured on industrial site, at 400 V
system. A transient occurs at a certain moment and later
diminishes. Besides, there is also harmonics in the
current waveform.

Saha M. M., Rosolowslci E. et al., 1998,


Simulation of a series compesated line for
evaluation of relaying algorithms, Eurouean
EMTP-ATP Users Grouu News, Februarv-May vol.
4, -1-2,93-105

The disturbance impact in this case is illustrated in Fig.


12. Compared with Fig.10, this diagram shows a
smoother surface among the bars of different filters.
When the time delay is 20 ms for the filters, the setting
limits of the outputs are almost the same for different
filters, which implies that the transient impact can be
neglected by the filters if the decision-making time is as
long as 20 ms.

Wang F., Bollen M. H. J., 2000, Qisturbance


database setup for protective relay testing,
Proceedings of 9* ~ntternational Conference on
Harmonics and Oualitv of Power, U, 1059-1064.

1
0

60

David S. Baker et al., 1997, Application


considerations of static overcurrent relays: a
working group report, IEEE Trans. Industry
apdication, vol. 33. no. 6,1493-1500
Wang F., Bollen M. H. J., 2000, Evaluating the
effect of measured power disturbances on
protective relay operation, Proceedinp of
Intemational Conference on Electric Utility
Deregulation and Restructurin~. and Power
Technolorries 2000,232-237

1 0 0 1 M ) 2 0 0 2 5 0

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Figure 11. Transient in current

265