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Paralleling generator

cover story
systems 10 ❮❮
When designing generator
Tying a microgrid systems, electrical engineers
to the smart grid must ensure that generators
and the building electrical
Building owners frequently integrate the utility’s
systems that they support are
smart grid into their buildings to reduce electricity appropriate for the specific
use and increase energy efficiency. Microgrids application. Engineers must
can lower costs and raise reliability. make decisions regarding
generator sizing, load types,
PUBLICATION SERVICES whether generators should
1111 W. 22nd Street, Suite 250, Oak Brook, IL 60523 be paralleled, fuel storage,
Phone: 630-571-4070 Fax: 630-214-4504 switching scenarios, and many
Jim Langhenry Patrick Lynch other criteria.
Co-Founder and Publisher, CFE Media Director of Content Marketing Solutions
Previewing NEC
Steve Rourke
Co-Founder, CFE Media
Paul Brouch
Director of Operations
2017 changes
15 ❮❮
Trudy Kelly The current version of NFPA 70:
Assistant to the Publisher Rick Ellis National Electrical Code (NEC) Audience Management Director is the 2014 edition. Though this
Kristen Nimmo
Marketing Manager Michael Rotz
version has not been adopted Print Production Manager in all jurisdictions, this article
Elena Moeller-Younger reviews a project that is being
Marketing Manager designed to meet the 2014
code. A few key updates to the
NEC in 2017 and their potential
CONTENT SPECIALISTS/EDITORIAL impacts to future designs are
Amara Rozgus Emily Guenther also highlighted.
Editor-in-Chief/Content Manager Associate Content Manager

Jack Smith Michael Smith

Managing Editor Creative Director

Amanda Pelliccione
Director of Research

Midwest Northeast
Matt Waddell Richard A. Groth Jr.
312-961-6840 774-277-7266
Fax: 630-214-4504 Fax: 508-590-0432

West, TX, OK International

Tom Corcoran Stuart Smith
215-275-6420 SSM Global Media Ltd.
Fax: 484-631-0598 +44 208 464 5577 Fax: +44 208 464 5588
U.S., Canada ON THE COVER:
Brian Gross Poland/Russia/Czech Republic
630-571-4070 x2217 Michael Majchrzak A microgrid is capable of islanding
Fax: 630-214-4504 +48 22 852 44 15 itself as needed from the larger utility Fax: +48 22 899 29 48 grid, for example, during extreme
weather events or at times when
Pure Power is published quarterly by CFE Media and is mailed as a supplement with
self-generation is more cost-effective.
Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Plant Engineering magazines. Copyright 2016 by CFE Media A smart interface allows power to be
LLC. All rights reserved. Editorial offices are located at 1111 W. 22nd Street, Suite 250, supplied to and/or received from the
Oak Brook, IL 60523. Phone: 630-571-4070. grid. Courtesy: Affiliated Engineers Inc.
2 Cover Story

By Kevin Krause, PE, LEED AP, Affiliated Engineers Inc., Madison, Wis.

Tying a microgrid
to the smart grid
Building owners frequently integrate the utility’s smart grid into their buildings to reduce electricity
use and increase energy efficiency. Microgrids can further lower costs and raise reliability for owners
and the surrounding communities.

he need to transform the nation’s erate and store power from various DERs
aging electrical grid to enhance LEARNING OBJECTIVES including renewable electrical generation
reliability and sustainability is  Learn about smart grids, mi- sources, such as wind and solar, provid-
increasingly imperative as the crogrids, and related concepts. ing the ability for end users to function
existing grid becomes outdated and unable  Identify key considerations for in isolation from the grid. Balancing
to support or withstand current needs and integrating smart grids and supply-and-demand resources—including
microgrids into nonresidential
risks. The fundamental concepts behind buildings. thermal and electrical loads—within its
microgrids do not vary much from typical defi ned boundaries, a microgrid sys-
 Recognize key considerations
campus-scale power-production models for facility owners, engineers, tem provides resiliency (see Figure 1).
that proliferated throughout the mid-20th and contractors looking to A microgrid can operate as an “island”
century, which include paralleled local and integrate smart grids and or independently from the larger utility
utility generation with the ability for local microgrids into nonresidential grid as required, for example, during
generation to sustain a portion of a cam- building projects. extreme weather events or at times when
pus. However, the drivers for their self-generation is more cost-effective (see
application and the smart technologies available to sup- Figure 2). With the design of distributed generation on
port them continue to evolve. many campuses dating back decades, microgrids have
existed before the term was coined. However, what has
SMART GRID AND MICROGRID DEFINED changed is that now there is a smarter interface that
The terms “smart grid” and “microgrid” often become makes the supply and draw of power to and from the
interchanged, inviting a variety of different understand- grid more efficient, resilient, flexible, and sustainable.
ings. Defining these systems by scale and function will The purpose of electrical transmissions systems in
help navigate their interrelation and set a basis for how to the U.S. traditionally has been to distribute electric-
apply them. ity from large utility-scale generation plants to loads,
A smart grid is an intelligent and integrated system of i.e., consumers. Comparing it to the transportation
interregionally connected electric utilities, consumers, network of vehicular traffic, the transmission system
and distributed-energy resources (DERs). This evolving is the interstate system while local distribution con-
form of electrical transmission uses advanced metering, sists of roads and streets. The safety systems are traffic
monitoring, management, automation, and communica- controls. The variability of economic market forces, an
tion technologies to provide reliable two-way delivery and increase in climate change, and natural and human-
consumption of electric power. Real-time flow of essential made disasters demand the grid to support large-scale
information among grid components assures effective, ef- and local generation and distribution. Effectively, every
ficient operation for generators, distribution system opera- lane of the grid superhighway now must go in both
tors, and end users. A smart grid optimizes two-way traffic directions, subject to instant reassignment and change.
on the grid. A smarter electrical transmission system supports the
A “microgrid” is a localized electrical network that technical, fi nancial, and regulatory requirements for
allows campuses and other similar-sized districts to gen- microgrid development.
Cover Story 3 ❮❮


Figure 1: A microgrid is a
localized electrical network
that allows campuses and
other similar-sized districts
to generate and store power
from various distributed energy
resources (DERs) including
renewables, such as wind and
solar. Balancing captive supply-
and-demand resources—in-
cluding thermal and electrical
loads—within its defined
boundaries, this type of energy
system provides resiliency. All
graphics courtesy: Affiliated
Engineers Inc.

Experience with microgrid projects has shown the areas have greater control throughout, is a driving requirement
essential to successful analysis, planning, and implementa- for microgrid implementation. Mission critical functions
tion to include: likely to be supported by a microgrid include health care,
research, financial operations, data centers, or providing
 Identifying needs and drivers refuge. A robust and flexible electrical generation and dis-
tribution network must allow for these operations to con-
 Developing functional requirements tinue functioning 24/7 throughout the year to maintain life
or prevent loss of critical data. The system equipment and
 Developing system topology and operation design must be self-healing and support recovery efforts to
get facilities and campuses back up and running following
 Considering technical, regulatory, and financial such tragedies.
outlooks Many cities and regions see microgrids as a possibility to
create economic growth or better maintain financial stabil-
 Proper commissioning, start-up, and operation. ity. As part of a microgrid analysis, it is important to evalu-
ate the mix of varying energy strategies, generation sources,
IDENTIFYING MICROGRID NEEDS, DRIVERS, and fuel types and to develop concepts that will provide
AND FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS clean, efficient, economic, highly reliable, and
Campuses, municipalities, and other similarly sized re- locally controlled power and thermal energy. With this type
gional areas choose to develop a microgrid for a variety of infrastructure in place, cities and regions can increase
of reasons, including resiliency, economics, flexibility, the recruitment and development of high-technology busi-
sustainability, and reputation. At the beginning of each nesses, research and development centers, data centers,
project, it is important to discuss and determine the and similar enterprises key to job creation and economic
drivers that influence implementing a microgrid in a growth. The recent advantageous price of natural gas as
specific region. well as advances in renewable energy integration and con-
With the increasing occurrence of natural disasters, trols are making microgrids more economically feasible to
such as Hurricanes Sandy and Ike, as well as the potential construct and operate, thus increasing their rate of imple-
threat of human-made disasters and impact from popula- mentation. Microgrid planning must include investigation
tion growth in susceptible areas, institutional leaders and of potential power purchase agreements and credits that
private enterprises are seeking ways to make the electrical can generate additional revenue or provide more options for
grid capable of withstanding these types of events. Resil- campuses and municipalities to buy power, so they can bal-
iency to maintain operations during such crises, and to ance a power portfolio and allow a microgrid to maximize
4 Cover Story

its use and timing of resources for greatest efficiency and research, as well as other ongoing research and development
economy. of new microgrid technologies, informs design professionals
Advances in renewable energy integration allow broader of the capabilities of microgrid advances and the planning
deployment of renewable energy sources and storage tech- and development necessary for their success.
nologies as part of a microgrid strategy. Proper analysis and While developing microgrids, initial feasibility analysis
inclusion of these in microgrid planning efforts allow cam- of the potential energy sources and distribution systems
puses and municipalities to meet stated carbon reduction or that may meet the specific needs of a given project should
neutrality goals as well as to reduce greenhouse gases result- be completed. Basic steps include identification of equip-
ing from traditional energy-generation processes. ment types, equipment sizes, technical challenges, and
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is at the forefront basic system approach. Analysis typically includes a simple
of energy-integration research. At the National Renewable financial analysis of initial installation costs, potential
Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., the Energy Systems operational costs savings, and payback durations on invest-
Integration Facility (ESIF) uses a megawatt-scale research ment. The purpose of the initial analysis, often spread-
electrical distribution bus and smart hardware-in-the-loop sheet-based or using specialized software—such as the
prototyping to validate technologies and techniques that Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model
advance the interconnection of distributed energy systems (DER-CAM) as developed by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley Na-
and the seamless integration of renewable energy technolo- tional Laboratory—is to rule out nonviable options and set
gies into the grid. the stage for solutions that will be technically and finan-
Affiliated Engineers Inc. planned, designed, and en- cially viable to support the intended performance goals for
gineered ESIF’s primary research areas and laboratory the microgrid.
systems, focusing on the research electrical distribution bus
interconnecting plug-and-play testing components, hydro- DEVELOPING MICROGRID SYSTEM
gen research exploring simpler and more scalable energy TOPOLOGY AND OPERATION
storage, and fuel cell and cell component development. A As the development of a microgrid concept advances, it is
safety- and data-integrity-driven supervisory control and critical to identify various possible operational modes of the
data acquisition system deploys hardware-independent soft- given system. With the complexity of the system being ana-
ware to govern the array of function-specific control systems lyzed implicit, the number of possible system configurations
and disseminate real-time data to principal investigators is substantial. To fully understand the intricacies of each
collaborating worldwide. The knowledge gained from this configuration or mode and the transition between modes,

Figure 2: A microgrid is capable of islanding

itself as needed from the larger utility grid,
for example, during extreme weather events
or at times when self-generation is more cost-
effective. A smart interface allows power to be
supplied to and/or received from the grid.
Cover Story 5 ❮❮


a matrix of generation and load configurations should be  Storage dispatch—local energy-storage devices are
developed. State diagrams provide a clear snapshot of each placed in energy-collection, generation, or idle mode
operating mode (see Figure 3). Using transitional analysis based on whether there is an excess or shortage of
and fault-clearing analysis, the design engineer can identify local or utility generation.
the required safeties, communications, and sequences of
operation required for smart microgrid operation. A number of events can affect the operating mode of
Potential modes or configurations of microgrid operation the microgrid. Anomalies that must be investigated and
include: planned for include:

 Grid mode—local generation is connected to the util-  Utility loss

ity grid and operates in parallel  Generation asset loss
 Transformer loss
 Intentional island mode—local generation is delib-  Feeder loss
erately disconnected from the utility grid and can  Switching-node loss
operate independently. Generation is typically sized to  Momentary utility-voltage sag/brownout
support the total load of the microgrid.  Utility underfrequency event
 Momentary utility loss
 Emergency island mode—local generation is discon-  Sustained utility loss
nected from the utility grid following a grid outage  Fuel interruption
and can operate independently. Generation may or  Resynchronization to the utility.
may not be sized to support the total load of the mi-
crogrid. Load shed may be required. Distributed generation (DG) that uses a microgrid al-
lows any combination of local fuel-based or renewable
 Load-shed mode—turning off load/demand response energy sources, such as natural gas generators, micro-
to prevent failure of a system when demand exceeds turbines, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic (PV), distributed
available generation wind, and combined heat and power (CHP) cogenera-
tion systems, to serve the loads of a facility, campus,
 Power-purchase-only mode—all city, or another defi ned district.
loads are being supplied com- Often implementing renewable
pletely by power purchased from Utility interconnection energy sources or energy-produc-
the utility. No local generation is tion technologies with less envi-
operating. constraints are stipulated by ronmental impact than the power
produced by a traditional central
 Power purchase and self-gen-
eration mode—loads are being
the IEEE 1547 standard. power plant, DG is more efficient in
transmission to its nearby served
supplied by a mix of power loads.
purchased from the utility and local generation A typical foundation of many microgrid systems is
a CHP source comprised of a natural gas combustion
 Power-export mode—loads are being supplied com- turbine generator. This form of cogeneration generates
pletely by local generation, and there is excess power electricity with the combustion turbine and captures
from local generation being sent back to the utility wasted heat using a heat-recovery steam generator
grid (see “Putting combined heat and power to work” on
page xx). The steam can be used for heating buildings,
 Micro-renewable generation—microgrid installations operating chillers, supplying other process loads, or
comprised of less than 50-kW electrical or less than additional
45-kW thermal resources power generation by the use of a steam turbine genera-
tor. CHP can save facilities considerable money on their
 Multiple versus single utility feed—system is consid- energy bills due to its high efficiency and provide a
ered single or redundant utility feeds for resiliency hedge against electricity cost increases. Depending on
the technologies implemented, CHP systems can typi-
 Varying self-generation dispatch—local generation is cally achieve total system efficiencies of 60% to 80%
turned on or off, or power output is adjusted based on for producing electricity and useful thermal energy.
a number of factors that may include load matching, This is a great improvement over the average efficiency
optimized source selection, economics, or redundancy of fossil-fueled power plants in the U.S., which is 33%.
6 Cover Story

Fuel cells provide another CHP source to consider, abled to reschedule certain power usage to off-peak hours,
because of their smaller carbon footprint as compared improving the overall efficiency of a microgrid. These
with traditional CHP, with operating efficiencies that intelligent buildings also can monitor and adjust building
can achieve rates greater than 95%. Affi liated Engi- performance to reduce load and bolster cost savings.
neers Inc. has evaluated a number of fuel cell applica-
tions, including their consideration in the distributed TYING A MICROGRID TO
power-generation analysis for a microgrid in North THE SMART GRID
Carolina, which, in addition to fuel cells, also To respond fully and most effectively to the need
included exploring rotary motor/generator for more sophisticated demand-and-supply mon-
units, flywheels, and batteries for uninterrupt- itoring and control, electrical energy manage-
ible power. Fuel cells are not in widespread ment must be addressed. Increased monitoring
use primarily due to their fi rst cost, but as and reporting of actual demands and behaviors
production of these systems increases or as of the end user, as well as further educat-
alternative funding/buy-back arrangements ing the end user on the amount and pattern
are developed, their installations may of their electrical usage, is essential.
become more economically viable. There are elements of personal privacy
The extent of renewable ener- that must be considered and a certain
gies, such as PV or wind turbines, level of user-maintained control over
connected to the grid is increasing. the collection, use, reuse, and sharing
Production from these renewable of personal information that must be
protected. Without this knowledge be-
Figure 3: A state diagram provides a clear snapshot of each ing collected, however, electrical energy
operating mode. Using transitional analysis and fault-clear-
suppliers delivering to the grid are
ing analysis, the design engineer can identify the required
safeties, communications, and sequences of operation required challenged to meet demand or adjust to greater
for smart microgrid operation. fluctuations in demand due to optimized facility
operations or the variable nature of many of the
technologies is subject to weather conditions. distributed renewable energy sources being inter-
For those times when the renewable source is connected. With a more sophisticated smart grid,
not producing energy, the utility, local concurrent data across users and genera-
fuel-based generation assets, or stored tors will allow for additional demand
energy must be available to carry the control, adjustment, or curtailment,
load. As more DG sources connect to with the goal of changing behaviors
the grid and supply power, multiple of consumers. If a user is better in-
forms of storage will be necessary formed of the impact and cost of using
to ensure that loads can be served energy during peak times, they could be
reliably at any time. Evolving storage more inclined to adjust the time when they
options include flow batteries, which offer virtu- run a given appliance or charge such devices as
ally unlimited longevity by pumping externally portable electronics or electrical vehicles.
stored liquid (electrolytes) to create electrical A number of groups have been working on
current, and hydrogen electrolyzers, which developing standards to integrate control and
convert electricity to hydrogen for storage. In communication technologies into the grid. These
turn, hydrogen can supply fuel cells and offers include ASHRAE and the National Electrical Manu-
advantages over batteries, which must be electri- facturers Association—who jointly sponsored devel-
cally recharged. As smart buildings and even smart opment of Standard 201P: Facility Smart Grid Information
vehicles interconnect with the grid, over time, they too Model—as well as The Smart Grid Interoperability Panel
may be able to store and return power by virtue of their (SGIP), a public-private partnership originally established
batteries. For example, their onboard controls’ ability by the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
to automatically control when a vehicle is charging or who saw the standard through to release and approval in
using the batteries may power the grid based on predic- May 2016. The model facilitates integration of objects and
tions of occupant behavior. actions within the electrical infrastructure, such as onsite
Smart buildings can improve the operation of a mi- generation, demand response, load control, load shedding,
crogrid by which they are served. As load centers in a submetering, load prediction, and energy storage. Standard
given locality, buildings that are technologically enabled to 201P promotes the effectiveness of smart facilities, support-
monitor their own energy consumption can be further en- ing the optimum functionality of a national smart grid.
Cover Story 7 ❮❮


Figure 4: The new hot-water
distribution system at the Uni-
versity of Texas Medical Branch
in Galveston connects the two
plants to buildings throughout
the campus with more than
5 miles of piping, directly
buried wherever possible. To
counter Galveston Island’s high
saltwater table, acidic soil, and
flood-prone location, Affiliated
Engineers Inc. selected a highly
corrosion-resistant, factory-
insulated, thin-walled steel pip-
ing system with a high-density
polyethylene outer jacket.

Advanced power electronics and communication

Putting combined heat and power to work
technologies increasingly enable large numbers of DG
sources to link to the grid through highly controllable
power processors, allowing efficient and reliable dis- Implementation of 15 MW of onsite combined heat and power (CHP) to supple-
tributed power delivery during regular grid operation ment outside electrical utilities was a central component of Affiliated Engineers Inc.’s
and powering specific islands in case of faults and approach to strengthening utility systems at the University of Texas Medical Branch
contingencies, such as the natural disasters men- (UTMB), Galveston, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The hurricane flooded more
tioned previously. SGIP also has been instrumental in
than 1 million sq ft of campus buildings to depths of 6 ft, interrupting and damaging
developing IEEE P2030.7: Standard for the Specifica-
electrical infrastructure, emergency generators, and natural gas service, as well as
tion of Microgrid Controllers (requires membership to
read), which speaks to the technical issues and chal- chilled water, municipal water, and sewer distribution.
lenges associated with the operation of a microgrid Rather than replacing in kind, Affiliated Engineers Inc. and UTMB established an
and presents control and testing approaches for safe approach that would protect utility sources by elevating boilers and chillers or protect-
system operation. ing them with floodwalls, supplement outside electrical utilities with 15 MW of onsite
Power electronics facilitate the efficient and seam-
microgrid CHP, and replace much of the existing steam system with a more resilient
less conversion of dc to ac power and vice versa. An
and efficient district hot-water system (see Figure 4). CHP islanding capability will re-
example of the scale of such power electronics is the
multiple-megawatt solar inverters required for utility- duce the threat of hurricane disruption to UTMB operations. With 50% more efficiency
scale PV power stations installed in places like South- than conventional systems, UTMB’s two new CHP plants also will save approximately
ern California. These inverters have been developed $3 million annually, with a 5-year simple payback. The 7.5-MW east plant is elevated
to maximize allowable dc string voltage and tested 18 ft above ground level (30 ft mean sea level), and includes two 3,550-ton electric
to meet requirements of NFPA 70: National Electrical
centrifugal chillers, a 5.5-MW gas combustion turbine, a 2-MW condensing-extraction
Code (NEC) Articles 690.11 and 690.12 for dc arc fault
steam turbine, a 75,000 lb/hour heat-recovery steam boiler, one 1-MW diesel engine-
protection and rapid shutdown, as well as IEEE 1547:
Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Resources driven, black-start generator, and 2 million gallons of chilled-water thermal storage.
with Electric Power Systems (requires membership to Hardening of the existing west plant included a 5.5-MW gas combustion turbine,
read) standards for voltage and frequency response two 1-MW diesel generators, a 75,000 lb/hour heat-recovery steam generator, and a
and UL 1741: Standard for Inverters, Converters, 2-million-gal thermal storage tank (see Figure 5). The entire existing plant, CHP, and
Controllers, and Interconnection System Equipment
thermal storage will be protected by a 14-ft (20-ft sea level) floodwall.
for Use With Distributed Energy Resources (requires
purchase to read).
Utility interconnection constraints are stipulated by lated by individual state jurisdictional bodies referred
the IEEE 1547 standard. The limitations outlined therein to as public utility boards, public service commissions,
relate to power quality and the impact of microgrids on a and consumer utility boards. The IEEE 1547.4-2011 util-
commercial power utility and, subsequently, its custom- ity interconnection standards were specifically updated
ers. Utility interconnection rules are defi ned and regu- to accommodate microgrids and their unique frequency
8 Cover Story

Figure 5: Elevated 18 ft above ground level

(30 ft sea level), the new 7.5-MW east plant
at the University of Texas Medical Branch
includes two 3,550-ton electric centrifugal
chillers, a 5.5-MW gas combustion turbine,
a 2-MW condensing extraction steam tur-
bine, a 75,000 lb/hour heat-recovery steam
boiler, one 1-MW diesel engine-driven,
black-start generator, and 2 million gal of
chilled-water thermal storage.

stability issues along with synchronization requirements. structures, future cost of fuel, environmental permitting,
With the number of distributed-generation sources, technical limitations of available distributed-generation
storage, and loads connected in a microgrid, the system technologies, and sheer complexity of the systems being
frequency becomes a bit more challenging to control in evaluated must be weighed simultaneously and reconciled.
situations such as the transition from grid mode to island
mode. High-speed microgrid switches have been devel- REGULATORY AND FINANCIAL OUTLOOK
oped by many manufacturers to handle these transitions Policymakers, regulators, and grid operators are at the
and protect critical loads connected to a microgrid from beginning of new rules that will govern the next phase of
power-quality anomalies by quickly isolating from the microgrid development and operation. Many states and lo-
utility grid. It is critical that the calities have yet to cross the bridge
specific utility-interconnection of what a microgrid might mean to
requirements in effect at a specific In addition to regulatory and their regions. Existing utility regu-
project site are understood and lations originally were intended to
analyzed for their impact on the
possible microgrid solutions.
financial factors, still-evolving protect the consumer and the sup-
plier, but the relationship between
As any project is being evalu-
ated for a microgrid, redundancy
technologies pose challenges utility operators and microgrids is
largely undefi ned. These anachro-
of local distribution systems and
the optimal location of generation to microgrid development. nisms can make the reality of a mi-
crogrid very difficult in some areas.
sources and utility interconnections The northeast portion of the U.S. is
must be investigated to be optimally configured in support leading reform efforts to increase resiliency to natural di-
of microgrid goals. Techniques that can be applied include sasters. Ongoing policy discussions play a critical role in
loop distribution in place of radial, primary selective the siting, interconnection/demarcation, utility franchise
distribution, redundant feeders, and strategic placement rules, fi nancing, and regulatory approvals necessary for
of fuel-based generation and storage infrastructure. These any microgrid development. Facility owners, engineers,
concepts and technologies are building blocks of successful and contractors must be prepared to work through these
microgrid and smart-grid design. potential hurdles to arrive at systems that can ultimately
be constructed and operated.
FUNDAMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS IN A Microgrid development can be expensive, depending
MICROGRID-DEVELOPMENT PROCESS on existing utility grid infrastructure and rates in a given
Several aspects of planning are universal to the develop- region. The investment payoff is directly related to the op-
ment of a microgrid, regardless of location. Utility and eration of the assets. Microgrids have a high rate of fi nan-
other regulatory statutes, initial capital investment, rate cial success in areas with high electricity prices. Onsite
10 Paralleling Generators

By Leslie Fernandez, PE, LEED AP, JBA Consulting Engineers, Las Vegas

generator systems
When designing generator systems, electrical engineers must ensure that generators and the building
electrical systems that they support are appropriate for the specific application. Whether providing standby
power for health care facilities or prime power for processing plants, engineers must make decisions
regarding generator sizing, load types, whether generators should be paralleled, fuel storage, switching
scenarios, and many other criteria.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of the extent of this This article examines standby systems
topic, this article is divided into three parts: LEARNING OBJECTIVES in which generators serve as backup to
 Learn best practices for paral- the main utility source, such as those
PART 1: Covers the need for backup leling generators, touching on commonly installed in airports, data
power, code requirements, why dependability, cost savings, centers, hospitality complexes, water-
diesel is preferred, generator rat- efficiency, synchronization, and treatment facilities, and in most life safety
other aspects.
ings, and the benefit of parallel- institutional applications.
ing generator systems.  Know the requirements for
emergency, standby, and
backup power loads. THE NEED FOR BACKUP POWER
PART 2: Covers paralleling switchgear, Interruptions of electrical power, even for a
 Explain the benefits of parallel
their components, and common power-generation systems. short duration, can introduce the potential
paralleling modes. for situations that could imperil public
health and safety. Extreme weather-related
PART 3: Covers installation considerations, intercon- disasters often disrupt power to hundreds or thousands of
nection with the utility, and generator sizing. people and businesses, potentially for days. When these
Also, two existing parallel generator systems situations occur, they call attention to the vulnerability of
will be presented and their paralleling elements the nation’s electrical grid and the importance of alterna-
highlighted. tives. Hospitals, airports, data centers, water and sewage

facilities, fueling stations, communication, and transporta-
xpertise in generator power design for emergency, tion systems require alternate-power sources to limit the
legally required standby, and business critical impact and ultimately save lives during times of crisis. The
loads is an essential skill for an electrical engineer loss of electrical power due to storms, natural disasters, or
to master. When designing generator systems, elec- high-power-demand issues are increasingly common. The
trical engineers must ensure that the generators and the loss of business and the associated economic impact from
building electrical systems can support the critical loads power outages are significant. Emergency generators are
reliably and effectively. Building codes will dictate the necessary to provide the reliable power required to main-
prescriptive requirements for these systems (see Table). tain operations during primary supply system failures.
For business critical loads, the owner or client must be
consulted to identify the nonemergency loads that require WHY DIESEL-POWERED GENERATORS ARE USED
backup power. When the business needs outlined by the Diesel-powered generators are considered among the
client require increased reliability, a paralleled diesel- most reliable approaches to providing backup power.
generating system and electrical paralleling switchgear When compared with alternative fuels and technologies,
(PSG) typically are employed (see Figure 1). diesel-powered generators provide a steady supply of
Paralleling Generators 11 ❮❮


Type of Equipment Max. Time to Min. IBC Section IFC Section
Energize Duration
Emergency Power Systems-Note 1
Exit signs 10 seconds 2 hours 1011.6.3 604.2.14 604.2.15, 1011.6.3,
Exit illumination 10 seconds 2 hours 1006.3 1006.3, 604.2.14, 604.2.15

Any emergency voice/alarm communication including area of 10 seconds 4 hours for 402.7.3, 402.7.4, 604.2.13, 604.2.14, 604.2.15,
refuge communication systems (barrier-free and horizontal generator 907.5.2.2, 403.4.9 907.2.1.1
exits) 907.2.1 NFPA 72

Fire detection and fire alarms 60 seconds 2 hours 403.4.9, 405.9, 604.2.14 604.2.15, 907.2.11
909.20.6.2, 907

Smoke control systems in high-rise buildings, underground 60 seconds 2 hours 403.4, 404.7, 405.9, 909.11
buildings and covered mall buildings including energy 909.11
management systems if used for smoke control or smoke

Fire pumps in high-rise buildings and underground buildings 10 seconds 8 hours (NFPA 403.4.9, 405.9 604.2.14 NFPA 20, 604.2.15,
20) 913.2
Smokeproof enclosures and elevator shaft pressurization 60 seconds 4 hours 403.4.8, 909,
pressurization 909.20.6.2,

Any shaft exhaust fans required to run continuously in lieu of 60 seconds 4 hours 717.5.3

Fire service or occupant evacuation elevator car operation in 60 seconds 4 hours 3003, 3007, and 3008 604.2.14,
high-rise and underground buildings (including control system, 604.2.15
motor controller, operation control, signal equipment, machine
room cooling/heating, etc.)
Elevator car lighting and communications in high-rise and 10 seconds 4 hours 3003, 3007, and 3008 604.2.14, 604.2.15
underground buildings 604.2.18
Lights, heating, and cooling for building fire command center 60 seconds 24 hours 604.2.14
and mechanical equipment rooms serving the fire command

Power (other than lights, heating and cooling) for building fire 60 seconds 4 hours
command center

Mechanical and electrical systems required by IFC 27 60 seconds 4 hours Chapter 27

(hazardous materials including UPS rooms)

Legally Required Standby- Note 1

Exhaust fans for any loading dock located interior to a building 60 seconds 4 hours
Transformer vault ventilation equipment 60 seconds 4 hours
Heat tape for sprinkler lines and heating in sprinkler riser rooms 60 seconds 24 hours

Fuel pump system for any legally required system 60 seconds 4 hours

Note 1: The fuel pump and associated systems for the emergency or standby systems shall be provided with power from the generator to maintain fuel supply.

Table1: Emergency and legally required standby power requirements, JBA Consulting Engineers
IBC Emergency and Legally Required Standby Power Requirement Table
high-quality power and superior performance for tran- NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC), Article 517.30,
sient or fluctuating power demands due to the high-torque as well as the California Electrical Code require hospitals
characteristics of diesel engines (see Figure 2). Many and critical care facilities to have standby power systems
international building codes and standards effectively that start automatically and run at full capacity within 10
require diesel generators for code compliance because of seconds of power failure. Natural gas-powered generators
the need for rapid response time, load-carrying capacity, generally are not acceptable as a source of power for gen-
fuel supply and availability, and reliability. One of the erators due to fuel-source reliability. During disasters, such
most important and unique features of diesel-powered as an earthquake, gas lines are immediately turned off to
generators, as compared with other technologies, is quick avoid the risk of fire and explosion in case of a rupture.
response time and block-loading capability within sec- Lastly, diesel generators are available in a range of sizes to
onds of normal source-power failure. meet facility power needs.
12 Paralleling Generators

GENERATOR RATINGS  Power factor: The standard power factor for a 3-phase
When evaluating generator sets for parallel operation, generator is usually 0.8.
ratings are important because the rating directly affects
the efficiency and effectiveness of the selected generator  Standby power rating: The generator set is capable of
set based on the application (see Figure 3). It is especially providing emergency power at times when no other
important to understand the specific application, as this source is available. ISO-8528-1 limits the 24-hour
will help in selecting the proper rating. Specifically, the average load factor to 70% of the emergency name-
following factors should be taken into consideration: plate rating. No overload capacity is available for the
standby or continuous-power-rated generators. The
 Average load factor ISO standard gives no limit to run time in the event
of a utility power outage; however, manufacturers
 Maximum required load have limits on their generator run time typically in the
range of 200 to 500 hours for an entire year. Standby
 Typical load variation generators typically operate around 50 hours/year
with maximum expected usage of 200 hours/year.
 Annual run time per genset.
 Prime power rating: Generator sets rated for prime
ISO 8528-5-2013: Reciprocating internal combus- power are designed for supplying electric power in
tion engine driven alternating current generating lieu of commercially purchased power from a utility.
sets, Part 5: Generating sets defi nes generator ratings. These include applications like rental generator sets
These rating defi nitions were created for gaseous and supplying power for temporary use as well as applica-
diesel generator sets and were developed to provide tions that are typically remote from a utility grid, such
consistency across manufacturers. ISO 8528 should be as wilderness outposts, remote mining, and petroleum
considered a minimum standard for all generator set exploration operations. ISO limits the 24-hour average
ratings. If the manufacturer determines that a product load factor to 70% of the prime rating nameplate.
is capable of higher performance than that of the ISO Prime-rated power is capable of providing the power
defi nition, the manufacturer’s rating should be used. for an unlimited time period to a varying load. Over-
Defi nitions relevant to this discussion are power factor, load is also allowed but only at 10% of the rated value,
standby power rating, prime power rating, and continu- which is permitted to only once in 12 hours.
ous power rating.
 Continuous power rating: With a continuous power
rating, the generator can again provide a power supply
for an unlimited period—but only to a non-varying
load. But the average output power comes out to be
between 70% to 100% of the rated power output. The
load should be “relatively steady,” which means that
there should be no significant variations in it; other-
wise, the prime power rating could be a better option
to consider. A continuous-rated generator usually does
not have any overload capability.


For generators rated 2,000 kW or less, it is common to
install 480 V 3-phase generators and step up voltage trans-
formers. The cost of medium-voltage generators is signifi-
cantly higher—in the order of an additional $80,000 to
$150,000 per unit. Additionally, medium-voltage generators
generally do not have the UL listing necessary to support
emergency power loads.
For medium-voltage standby generation systems that un-
Figure 1: The photo shows a paralleled diesel-generating system and dertake closed-transition transfer operations, the medium-
electrical paralleling switchgear (PSG) for a large Las Vegas casino. All voltage side of the step up transformers must match the
graphics courtesy: JBA Consulting Engineers utility’s distribution system voltage.
Paralleling Generators 13 ❮❮


Paralleling is the operation in which multiple power sources,
usually two or more generators, are synchronized and then
connected to a common bus. Also, with closed transition
back to the utility, PSG will parallel the generators and
synchronize the generator output with the utility source for
a short duration before transitioning back to utility power.
When connecting the generators in parallel or synchroniz-
ing with the utility, the following criteria must be met:

 Matched/proper frequency

 Matched/correct phase rotation

 Phase voltages in phase and within specified Figure 2: Diesel-powered generators, such as the unit in this photo,
voltage range. provide a steady supply of high-quality power and superior performance for
transient or fluctuating power demands due to the high-torque characteris-
Typical parameters that determine synchronization tics of diesel engines.
include a voltage difference of less than 5%, a frequency
difference of less than 0.2 Hz, and a maximum phase angle
of 5 electrical degrees between the sources.
Closed transition is used when it is desirable to transfer
loads with zero interruption of power when conditions
permit. It is used when the generator system transfers back
to the utility and when load testing the generators with
building loads. Closed transition can be either a soft load
transfer or a make-before-break transfer. The PSG soft-
load transfer synchronizes and operates the generators in
parallel with the utility and transfers loads in increments
between the two sources, thereby minimizing voltage or
frequency transients on the generator plant and utility
distribution system.
The typical soft-load-transfer overlap time is around 2
seconds. The make-before-break transfer will parallel the Figure 3: This photo shows an exterior generator yard with two paralleled
generators and perform a transfer of load from the genera- generators with weatherproof exterior enclosures, subbase tanks, and a
tor to the utility. This can be the transfer of one large step up transformer for medium-voltage distribution. In addition, these
block load or the transfer of multiple block loads having enclosures are equipped with a load center wired to block heaters, battery
time delays between the block loads. Time-delay transfer chargers, lights, and convenient outlets.
can either be programmed through the PSG or the down-
stream automatic transfer switches (ATS). Typical ATS efficiency, expandability, and ease of maintenance and
make-before-break transition overlap time is usually less serviceability.
than 100 milliseconds. Redundancy: The redundancy inherent in the parallel
operation of multiple generators provides greater reli-
BENEFITS OF PARALLEL ability than a single generator unit for critical loads. If
POWER-GENERATION SYSTEMS one unit fails, the backup loads are redistributed among
Paralleling multiple sources provides increased reliability, other generators in the system on a priority basis. In
flexibility in load management, and maintenance capabili- many environments, the emergency loads that need the
ties with little to no disruption. Multiple generators paral- highest degree of reliable backup power usually account
leled to a common bus can better serve emergency and for only a fraction of the overall power generated by
business critical loads, particularly for system response the system. In a parallel system, this means that most
time and dynamic load response once in operation. How- emergency elements will have the redundancy necessary
ever, more complex, parallel generator standby systems to maintain power even if one of the units goes out. If
have significant advantages with respect to reliability an N+1 confi guration is adopted, one generator can be
and redundancy. These advantages include redundancy, offl ine for maintenance while serving the required loads.
14 Paralleling Generators

Figure 4: In addition to multiple breaker configurations, this photo shows Figure 5: Provisions have been made for a third unit to the right of the two
redundant dual 125 V dc battery systems, each sized to operate the paral- paralleled generators shown in this photo in case the client requires the
leling system for at least 3 hours. capacity in the future.

Furthermore, providing a running spare, an N+1 gen- Expandability: When sizing generators to match
erator confi guration will increase the reliability of the system load requirements, it is often difficult to accu-
generator system from 98% to 99.96% reliability. rately project increases in load and adequately plan for
One of the primary purposes of redundancy is to elimi- unanticipated additional requirements. If load projec-
nate single points of failure. The objective is to remove tions are aggressive, the initial investment in a generator
the single points of failure, and caution must be exercised may be higher than necessary. On the other hand, if load
to ensure they are not simply moved to another part of projections are inadequate, reliable standby power may
the system. The controls enabling redundancy must also be compromised or expensive post-installation system
be analyzed to avoid failure modes that compromise reli- upgrades may be required. Parallel systems offer a level
ability. For example, paralleled generator sets that rely of scalability and modularity that allows for variations
on a single master control for signals to start and close to in load over time and optimum operation of the installed
a paralleled bus actually replace one failure point with units. If physical space planning is executed appropri-
two, as the master control and the communication link ately, generators can be added for additional power supply
between the master and the generator sets each represent when required (see Figure 5).
single points of failure. A well-engineered paralleling sys- Ease of maintenance and serviceability: In an N+1
tem will have dual hot-backup control systems, redundant paralleled generator system, if a generator in the system
communication pathways, redundant best battery select fails or requires maintenance, individual units can be
dc power supplies, multiple breakers, multiple power dismantled and serviced without disrupting the function
pathways, and a well-documented procedure for system of the remaining units. Furthermore, the redundancy
recovery whenever a component fails (see Figure 4). inherent in a parallel system provides multiple layers of
Efficiency: A more efficient system provides more sta- protection and ensures an uninterrupted supply of power
bility and reduces cost and losses. Loads do not remain at for critical circuits.
a constant level in most installations. Variations in power It is important to match all of the new paralleled system
demand can cause a single larger generator to run at loads generators with the same manufacturer, ratings, and type.
of less than 30% of capacity, which could cause wet stack- When modifying an existing system, matching the existing
ing. The optimum operational point for prime movers is generator manufacturer, type, pitch, and ratings is highly
between 75% and 80% of its rated value. At this point, preferred. This matching will avoid load sharing issues
the generator will be at its maximum efficiency. Fuel and between the generators. Moreover, standardizing on one
maintenance costs will also be reduced. The paralleling model type will also enhance maintenance and simplify
control system can be equipped with a generator load operations of the generator system.
control that can add and remove generators in response
to the actual load/demand of the system. This functional- ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ity is enabled by a generator removal time delay, which Leslie Fernandez is senior project engineer, electrical at
can initiate generators being removed from the bus as a JBA Consulting Engineers. He has more than 30 years of
function of the acceptable generator percentage loading engineering, design, and field experience including medium-
selected by the operator. If the load changes and demand voltage distribution systems for military, mining, tunneling,
reach 90% of running capacity, for example, an additional food manufacturing, power production facilities, high-rise
generator can be started, synchronized, and paralleled to facilities, and casino-resort complexes.
the bus with no time delay.
National Electrical Code 15 ❮❮


By Brian Martin, PE, CH2M, Portland, Ore.

NEC 2017 changes
The current version of NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC) is the 2014 edition. Though this
version has not been adopted in all jurisdictions, this article reviews a project that is being designed
to meet the 2014 code. A few key updates to the NEC in 2017 and their potential impacts to future
designs are also highlighted.

esigning industrial facilities requires diligence,  Liquid-filled outdoor trans-
 Understand NFPA 70: National
long hours, close adherence to the National formers are preferred Electrical Code (NEC) and when
Electrical Code (NEC), and often, coordination over larger (1-MVA and to apply it.
with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). larger) transformers.  Discover how to work with the
For industrial facility electrical designs to be safe and authority having jurisdiction to
economical, the engineer plays a critical role in de-  Provide 2 MVA of service apply the NEC in specific cases.
signing a properly sized system that avoids waste and capacity for future expansion  Learn how to size a service to an
oversizing. industrial facility using alternate
An approach CH2M is taking on a recent industrial  The location of the site has methods allowed by the NEC.
project includes steps to gather necessary client data, not been confirmed, but  Recognize upcoming changes to
size the service in coordination with the AHJ, and based on the probable loca- the 2017 NEC.
ensure that the 2014 NEC is properly applied. A few key tion, the design must
updates to the NEC in 2017 and their potential impacts follow the 2014 NEC.
to future designs are also highlighted.
GATHER FACILITY When the design boundary conditions have been deter-
DESIGN BASIS INFO mined, the next critical step is to determine the service
The fi rst step in the process is to gather the fundamental size. The NEC has prescriptive rules for calculating the
design information from the client so that a functional size of new services. In practice, it is rare to calculate the
and code-compliant design could be achieved. After service size for an industrial facility using the standard
several client meetings and extensive data gathering, the methods shown in the NEC. These would more typically
client provided the following major design criteria: be used for commercial applications. For most industrial
processes, sizing the overall service for anything close to
 The design is for a greenfield facility that closely the connected load would result in a system that is much
resembles an existing plant. larger than required, costly, and wasteful. Chapter 2 of
IEEE 141: IEEE Recommended Practice for Electric Power
 Outages can be tolerated once a year, with the Distribution for Industrial Plants discusses this topic in
objective of limiting complete outages to one event more detail and is an excellent reference.
in 5 years. This must be counterbalanced with the There are several sections of the NEC that can be used
expense of construction. to justify a smaller service size. The most important sec-
tion is Article 90.4, which states, “By special permission,
 Energized work is to be avoided; where possible, the AHJ may waive specific requirements in this code
provide the ability to reduce the incident energy to or permit alternative methods where it is assured that
less than 1.2 cal/cm2. the equivalent objectives can be achieved by establish-
16 National Electrical Code

ing and maintaining effective safety.” If this section is At this point, it should be obvious that the connected
used, it is incumbent upon the engineer to provide con- load has nearly tripled, yet all of our demand numbers
crete evidence that the system he or she has designed have increased; i.e., we do not appear to be taking credit
is safe and the size can be justified. In the case of our for additional load diversity. After closely examining the
plant, we are fortunate that there is an existing plant loads in the new facility, we determined that the major-
that runs a nearly identical process. Using 12 months ity of the equipment would operate coincidently and
of utility data, existing client metering, and collected would not result in an increase in diversity. Based on the
field data, we’ve determined the loading on the existing collected data and allowing for the additional 2 MVA for
facility to be: future load growth, our service is sized for 12 MVA.
Most AHJs will allow industrial services to be sized
 Connected load: 5.0 MVA under engineering judgment using similar methods, as
described above. In the event that you do not have an
 Maximum demand: 3.0 MVA AHJ that is willing to approve an approach similar to
this, there are several code sections that may allow you to
 Average demand: 2.5 MVA. reduce the size of both services and feeders.
NEC Article 220.60 allows you to use the largest load of
However, there are several key differences existing two or more noncoincident loads for both feeder and ser-
between the two sites that prevent us from using the vice calculations. In addition, NEC Article 430.26 allows
existing facility information without modification: “ … [for] motors operating on duty cycle, intermittently,
or from all motors not operating at one time, the authority
 The new site has different climactic conditions that having jurisdiction may grant permission for feeder con-
increase the cooling load due to increased use of ductors to have an ampacity less than specified in 430.24
chillers. Our helpful mechanical engineer was able … ” Lastly, for existing services, the engineer can use the
to estimate the increase in mechanical loading as a provisions of Article 220.87 and calculate the service load
20% increase in peak mechanical loading over the by multiplying the maximum measured demand over the
design basis and an approximately 10% increase last year by 125% and then adding the new load.
over the average.
 Due to process-control changes, there will be a Based on the client’s desire for reliability, reduced
higher use of process equipment. As a result, the maintenance intervals, and arc fl ash reduction, sev-
ratio of the anticipated
average demand over the
maximum demand is great-
er for the new facility. In
practice, this makes little
difference to the design
internal to the plant, but it
is important information to
provide to the utility.

 The new plant will be

larger, and additional lines
of similar equipment will
be installed.

The projected load data for the

new facility is expected to be:

 Connected load: 14 MVA

 Maximum demand: 10 MVA

 Average demand: 9 MVA. Figure 1: The diagram shows the initial power system design. Note that medium-voltage breakers and
downstream transformers have been removed for clarity. All graphics courtesy: CH2M
National Electrical Code 17 ❮❮


The 2017 NEC includes
significant changes, new
articles, and editorial changes.
Several changes have been
incorporated that will impact
the design of new facilities.
eral initial design decisions were made.
These decisions (in bold), along with the
key reasoning behind them, are briefly
explained below:

 Medium-voltage switchgear configured Figure 2: The diagram shows the initial emergency power system design.
in a main-tie-main configuration allows
for loss of a utility service, utility maintenance, and  Adding infrared (IR) windows to electrical equipment
maintenance of medium-voltage breakers and bus allows for IR scanning of breakers and terminations
(see Figure 1). without opening equipment doors.

 Outdoor liquid-filled 12.47-kV to 480 V ac transformers  Zone-selective interlocking (ZSI) at the switchgear
reduce building cooling loads and the building foot- level allows the trip devices to communicate so that
print. However, this created two issues to address: the nearest upstream device to the fault operates with-
out intentional delay. This can significantly reduce arc
1. Long taps—the taps from the transformer to the flash incident energies.
switchgear were approximately 110 ft (see Fig-
ure 1). The provisions of NEC Article 240.21(C)  High-resistance grounding (HRG) allows continuous
(4), Outside Secondary Conductors, were used plant operation during a single line-to-ground fault
to allow for the long secondary taps, which and reduces the probability of an arc flash event. The
included installing the conductors under at least transformers shown in Figure 1 were specified with a
2 in. of concrete when under the building until 5-amp HRG system. For more discussion on this topic,
the conductors were terminated on the main refer to “Choosing between grounded and ungrounded
breaker. electrical system designs” (Pure Power, Fall 2013,
p.20) and “Well-grounded facilities.” Refer to NEC
2. Incident energy levels—the arc flash incident Articles 250.36 and 408.3(F)(3) for HRG system code
energy levels were extremely high, so differen- requirements (referred to as high-impedance ground
tial protection was added. The differential zone in the NEC).
was designed to include the medium-voltage
cable, the 12.47-kV to 480 V ac transformers,  NEC Article 240.87 requires arc energy reduction for
and the secondary of the transformers. The breakers that can be rated or adjusted to 1,200 amps
differential function is shown as ANSI device or higher via one of five methods:
number 87 in Figure 1.
1. ZSI
 Due to the 30-cycle rating, low-voltage switchgear al-
lows the engineer to disable instantaneous trips on the 2. Differential relaying
main breaker. This results in greater selective coor-
dination with downstream feeder breakers, but does 3. Energy-reducing maintenance switching with
increase the arc flash incident energy. local status indicator
18 National Electrical Code

As what sometimes happens for these projects, the
initial estimate came back with a higher cost than the
client could support. To align the project budget with the
client’s business case, several critical modifications were

 Modify medium-voltage main-tie-main to a simple

radial system, as shown in Figure 3. This reduced
complexity, removed two 1,200-amp breakers, and
reduced the building footprint. While a simpler sys-
tem, this came at the expense of system redundancy
and maintainability. Removal of the additional utility
feed and the redundant main breaker will require
that the plant take an outage for routine maintenance
or in the event of loss of utility.

 Simplify the 480 V ac system to a radial system,

Figure 3: The diagram shows the revised power system design. Note that which involved removing one 5,000-amp breaker per
additional downstream transformers have been removed for clarity. switchgear, transfer controllers in the switchgear,
and the associated tie bus. Simplifying to a radial
4. Energy-reducing active arc flash mitigation system allows for full use of the 12.47-kV to 480 V ac
system transformers because spare capacity does not need
to be maintained to allow for supporting loads from
5. An approved equivalent means. both sets of switchgear on one transformer.

Differential relaying and ZSI have already been applied  Remove the emergency switchgear section.
as previously discussed. In addition to those methods, the Because the NEC Article 700 switchgear section
electronic trip units specified also include energy-reducing only supported emergency lighting loads, a listed
maintenance switching. The application of energy-reducing lighting inverter was used instead to support the
maintenance switching may impact selective coordina- emergency lighting requirements. Placing the
tion as required in Articles 700, 701, and 517. Use of other emergency lights on a lighting inverter allowed
methods, such as ZSI, may be more appropriate on those for removal of the emergency switchgear section,
systems. At the time of specification, breakers and trip emergency automatic transfer switch, and associ-
unit manufacturers were not known, so the actual incident ated cabling. Refer to Figure 2 to view the original
energy value that can be achieved is also unknown. The confi guration and Figure 4 for the revised standby
energy-reducing maintenance switching can be used to power confi guration.
further reduce incident energy if the ZSI and differential
protection do not achieve a sufficiently low value. LOOKING AHEAD TO THE 2017 NEC
In addition to the typical process loads connected to The 2017 NEC is scheduled to be shipped on Nov. 19, 2016,
the system in Figure 1, the new facility also contains and is available for viewing on the NFPA website now. It
emergency (NEC Article 700), legally required standby includes significant changes, new articles, and editorial
(NEC Article 701), and optional standby (NEC Article 702) changes. Several changes have been incorporated that will
loads. Article 700.10(B)(5)(a) requires that wiring from an impact the design of new facilities.
emergency source to supply emergency and other loads is
in, “Separate vertical switchgear sections or separate verti- ARC FLASH HAZARD WARNING, NEC ARTICLE
cal switchboard sections, with or without a common bus, 110.16(B): SERVICE EQUIPMENT
or individual disconnects mounted in separate enclosures “In other than dwelling units, in addition to the require-
shall be used to separate emergency loads from all other ments in (A), a permanent label shall be field- or factory-
loads.” This segregation is shown in Figure 2. The 2014 applied to service equipment rated 1,200 amps or more.
NEC introduced Article 700.8, which requires surge-pro- The label shall meet the requirements of 110.21(B) and
tective devices on or in all emergency system switchgear, contain the following information:
switchboards, and panelboards, so these were incorporated
into the emergency system.  Nominal system voltage
National Electrical Code 19 ❮❮


 Available fault current at the service overcurrent 1. ZSI
protective devices
2. Differential relaying
 The clearing time of service overcurrent protective
devices based on the available fault current at the 3. Energy-reducing maintenance switching with local
service equipment status indicator

 The date the label was applied. 4. Energy-reducing active arc flash mitigation system
5. An instantaneous trip setting that is less than the
Exception: Service equipment labeling shall not be available arcing current
required if an arc flash label is applied in accordance with
acceptable industry practice.” 6. An instantaneous override that is less than the
available arcing current
Analysis: This is a modification to the previous
requirements for arc flash hazard labeling to require ad- 7. An approved equivalent means.”
ditional information for services. This information will
make additional information available to field personnel Analysis: The language of this section is clarified, and
for determination of short-circuit and arc flash personal items 5 and 6 have been added as methods for achieving
protective equipment requirements. arc flash energy reduction. Setting an instantaneous trip
or overriding a setting that is below the arcing current
CARTRIDGE FUSES AND FUSE HOLDERS, NEC will open the breaker with no delay, thus providing rapid
ARTICLE 240.67: ARC ENERGY REDUCTION breaker opening and minimizing arc flash energy.
“Where the ampere rating of the fusible switch is 1,200
amps or higher, Articles 240.67(A) and (B) shall apply. This SIZE OF EQUIPMENT GROUNDING CONDUCTORS,
requirement shall become effective Jan. 1, 2020. NEC ARTICLE 250.122 (F): CONDUCTORS IN
(A) Documentation shall be available to those autho- “(F) For circuits of parallel conductors as permitted in
rized to design, install, operate, or inspect the in- 310.10(H), the equipment-grounding conductor shall be
stallation as to the location of the fusible switch(es). installed in accordance with (1) or (2).

(B) Method to reduce clearing time. One of the follow-

ing shall be provided:

1. Differential relaying

2. Energy-reducing maintenance switching with local

status indicator

3. Energy-reducing active arc flash mitigation system

4. A fuse that would open the circuit in 0.07 seconds or

less, at or below the available arcing current

5. An approved equivalent means.”

Analysis: This is a new section added to the NEC in

2017, designed to provide similar methods for arc flash
reduction as was already provided for circuit breakers in
the 2014 NEC. Note that this change does not become ef-
fective until 2020 to allow for manufacturers to design and
produce practical solutions.
Circuit breakers, NEC Article 240.87: arc energy reduc-
tion “(B) Method to reduce clearing time. One of the follow-
ing or approved equivalent means shall be provided: Figure 4: The diagram shows the revised emergency power system design.
20 National Electrical Code

(2) Multiconductor cables ment-grounding conductor in each multicon-

ductor cable shall be sized in accordance with
(a) If multiconductor cables are installed in parallel, 250.122 based on the overcurrent protective
the equipment-grounding conductor(s) in each device for the feeder or branch circuit.”
cable shall be connected in parallel.
Analysis: The requirements for parallel equipment-
(b) If multiconductor cables are installed in par- grounding conductors in raceways and multiconductor
allel in the same raceway, auxiliary gutter, cables have been separated into two subsections, and the
or cable tray, a single equipment-grounding sizing requirements for multiconductor cable equipment-
conductor that is sized in accordance with grounding conductors have been reduced when installed
250.122 shall be permitted in combination with in the same raceway tray or gutter—with an equipment-
the equipment-grounding conductors provided grounding conductor sized using Article 250.122. In
within the multiconductor cables and shall all previous versions of the NEC, the equipment-grounding
be connected together. conductor for each parallel multiconductor cable would
be sized per 250.122. This cable was an expensive cus-
(c) Equipment-grounding conductors installed in tom order with long lead times.
cable trays shall meet the minimum require-
ments of 392.10(B)(1) (c). Cable trays complying ABOUT THE AUTHOR
with 392.60(B), metal raceways in accordance Brian Martin is the manager of the electrical department
with 250.118, or auxiliary gutters shall be per- in the Portland, Ore., office of CH2M. He is a member of the
mitted as the equipment-grounding conductor. Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advisory board.

(d) Except as provided in 250.122(F)(2)(b) for

raceway or cable tray installations, the equip-

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Transfer Switch Solutions
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We customize, manufacture and service

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Introducing the all-new line of KOHLER KD Series generators. With sizes

® TM

ranging from 800 kW to 4 mW, there’s nothing they can’t power. And best
of all, the entire power system is designed and built by Kohler—including
the engine. We call it total system integration, but you call it peace of mind.

Make yourself more powerful—spec the larger lineup of

KOHLER power systems at

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