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A talk on Black Start Restoration

Black start is the process of restoring an electric power station or a part of an electric
grid to operation without depending on the external transmission network.

In an integrated power grid, major/minor disturbances can occur under various


situations. Such disturbances can result in collapse of part of the grid or sometimes
entire grid system, requiring restoration of the affected system in the minimum possible
time. In order to achieve the same, it is necessary to have a planned restoration
procedure under various conditions of partial black out / total black out of the system.

Normally, the electric power used within the plant is provided from the station's own
generators. If all of the plant's main generators are shut down, station service power is
provided by drawing power from the grid through the plant's transmission line. However,
during a wide-area outage/tripping, power from the grid is not available. In the absence
of grid power, a so called black start needs to be performed to bootstrap/bring back the
power grid into operation.

To provide a black start, some power stations have small diesel generators, which can
be used to start the main power station generators. Generating plants using steam
turbines require station service power of up to 10% of their capacity for boiler feed water
pumps, ID/FD/PA fans, Mills, pumps etc. It is uneconomical to provide such a large
standby capacity at each thermal power station, so black-start power must be provided
over designated tie lines from another station. Often hydroelectric power plants are
designated as the black-start sources to restore network interconnections due to low
auxiliary power requirements.

A hydroelectric station needs very little initial power to start (just enough to open the
intake gates and provide excitation current to the generator field coils), and can put a
large block of power on line very quickly to allow start-up of thermal (/fossil-fuel) or
nuclear stations.

One method of black start might be as follows:


1. A battery starts a small diesel generator installed in a hydroelectric generating station.
2. The power from the diesel generator is used to bring the hydroelectric generating
station into operation.
3. Key transmission lines between the station and other areas are energized.
4. The power from the station is used to start one of the nuclear/thermal/fossil-fuel-fired
base load plants.
5. The power from the base load plant is used to restart all of the other power plants in
the system.
Restoration at Thermal power plant:
Survival/Auxiliary power requirement:
Survival power can be defined as the minimum power required for avoiding the damage
to the plant in case of supply failure and keep the equipment fit for reuse immediately.
Under black start failure the survival / auxiliary power would consist of the following:
 Turbine emergency oil pump
 Jacking oil pumps
 Barring gear of the turbine
 Lubricating oil pumps
 Compressors for breaker operation
 Emergency lighting
 Battery chargers, communication & telemetry system.

Each Generating Station should draw its own detailed procedure for the action to be
taken in their stations during restoration. The Restoration Procedure and sequence as
given in documents gives the general guidelines for restoring the system. However, as
the exact conditions in case of each disturbance may be different and vary, the officer
building up the system may take the action best suited for speedy Restoration of the
system in real time.

In the event of a black out, the initial moments are extremely precious and it requires
the right decision to be taken at first instance for speedy restoration of the system. Any
lapse or delay in taking the right initial decision may prove to be very costly. Hence, it is
of paramount importance that all the operating personnel of Load Despatch Centres and
the officials involved in grid operation should be thoroughly conversant with the
restoration procedure so as to minimise the time taken in restoration of the system after
partial / total black out. Further during the Restoration process the system operators,
Power station and Substation personnel must act in consonance to normalize the grid.

Each state has been divided in to Subsystems on the basis of the natural separation
taking place during disturbances. IEGC (Indian Electricity Grid Code) has laid suitable
guidelines and standards in this regard. Source for providing start up powers has been
identified for each Subsystem by SRLDC both from within the Subsystem and also from
outside the Subsystem for early Restoration of the power system.

In the coming sessions, you will gain the knowledge of the black start restoration
procedures, methodology of adopting the procedures etc. from the experts of SRLDC.
Get acquainted with the concepts and procedures and strive for the benefit of our
organization,APGENCO and nation as well.