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Four Phase AC Connections: An Alternative

Posibility for the Expansion of Transmission Grids


Goivanni Mazzanti, Member, IEEE, and Stefano Quaia
Abstract This paper investigates the economical feasibilit of four!phase "#$% overhead
transmission lines, considered as a possible alternative to the traditional three!phase "&$%
connections' The paper performs an economical comparison bet(een innovative #$
transmission lines and traditional &$ lines, (ith the goal of evaluating the contests (here a #$
connection could become convenient, accounting for different reliabilit, land occupation,
visual impact, energ losses and investment costs'
Inde) Terms *our!phase A+ transmission, po(er transmission, transmission ,ines'
E,E+T-I+A, po(er transmission is becoming a ver critical issue in man developed
countries, due to the increase in the demand of electrical po(er and to the raising concerns
about the environmental impact of high voltage lines'
This is particularl true in Europe, (here several countries are facing the opportunities and the
problems involved (ith the liberalization of the electricit mar.et, and (here e)pansion and
reinforcement of e)isting transmission sstems are increasingl re/uired, regarding both
national po(er sstems and interconnection lin.s bet(een neighboring countries'
E)pansion of national transmission grids is strongl opposed b people concerned (ith
environmental impact problems li.e the e)posure to electromagnetic fields and the visual
impact' This translates into big authorization problems and, in the last decades the e)pansion
and reinforcement of transmission sstems in man countries has been slo(er than re/uired'
The need for ne( interconnection lin.s comes from the emerging progressive unbalance in
generation capabilities of different European countries "e'g', *rance, the number!one e)porting
countr, and Ital, the number!one importing countr%' E)pansion of European interconnection
(ould also improve the sstem securit, reducing the probabilit of large instabilit phenomena
li.e the blac.outs in Ital "September 011&% and in Mid!Europe "2ovember 0113%'
In this frame(or., transmission privatization could be a chance for the e)pansion of the
transmission grid' This concept has been officiall introduced in Europe b the directive 43540,
(here the term 6merchant lines7 "or 6direct lines7% is used to indicate non!institutional
interconnections, complementar to the interconnected grid, that can be built and o(ned b
privates or po(er sstem operators' According to the subse/uent European regulation 800951&,
the merchant lines can be partl 6reserved7 or, in other (ords, their o(ners can be attractive for
large industrial customers, that can avoid the pa!tolls due to public transmission grids b
directl connecting private!o(ned production plants to their load centres'
Ital, importing nearl 01: of the electrical energ consumed, is ver interested in the
development of interconnections (ith the neighbouring countries, as tens of pro;ects for ne(
merchant connections clearl demonstrate <8=' The first European merchant connection
"bet(een Ital and S(itzerland% has been concluded in >ctober 0119, and a second merchant
connection bet(een Ital and S(itzerland is at present under construction'
In this scenario an technical solution for the developments of transmission sstems should be
carefull investigated and compared (ith the traditional &$ solutions'
#$ transmission is one of the possible alternative solutions' The proposal of high phase!order
transmission is not novel' ?igh phase!order transmission can provide some advantages (ith
respect to the traditional &$ "higher transmission capacit, lo(er phase!to!phase voltage,
compact phase conductor arrangements%, but it has also different dra(bac.s "more comple)
to(er structure, more difficult phase!transposition, higher number of fault conditions% <0=' In
the past, especiall 3$ and 80$ sstems have been investigated because of their eas integration
in the e)isting &$ nets through proper connections of standard &$ po(er transformers'
More recentl, also #$ transmission has been carefull investigated <8=, <&= <@=' Aespite # is
not multiple of &, technical integration (ith &$ sstems is not difficult' $hase!conversion from
three to four "and vice!versa% can be arranged using proper (ell!.no(n transformer
connections, used in the rail(a industr for man ears, li.e the Scott and ,e Blanc
connections <9=' Both the double Scott and double ,e Blanc arrangement (ith a common
neutral point allo(s to reach the goal "see *ig'8%' >f course, these connections are reversible
and thus suitable to transform from &$ to #$ and vice!versa' -ecentl, simpler solutions (ith
onl one special four!legs transformer have been proposed allo(ing direct coupling of &$ and
#$ transmissions <3=' Then, integration of a #$ line in a &$ po(er sstem is simpler than
integration of a A+ line'
A significant advantage of #$ over &$ transmission concerns reliabilit' In case of single!
phase!to<ground faults "S$G*% b far the most fre/uent faults in transmission sstems!,
single!phase trip in &$,s is seldom adopted because the operation (ith onl t(o phases heavil
unbalances the sstem' >n the contrar, #$,s can be vie(ed as made up of t(o independent
and phase!opposite 0$ sstems, each (ith a 41
1
angle bet(een the t(o voltages, so that one of
the t(o sstems can be tripped at the t(o line ends (hile the other stas connected' This
operation causes onl a ver lo( voltage unbalance at both &$ sides' The possibilit to operate
#$,s (ith a reduced number of phases ma.es the reliabilit of a #$, closer to that of a 0 C &$,
than &$,' Such improved transmission reliabilit increases transient stabilit and reduce the
ris. of a full sstem blac.out "statistics tell that often large sstem blac.outs started from a
S$G*%'
A technical comparison bet(een a &$ and a #$ transmission line is not trivial' The result
depends on (hich parameters "voltages, current, geometr, etc'% are assumed e/ual in the t(o
cases' A first interesting comparison concerns t(o smmetrical lin.s, as depicted in *ig'&, (ith
same surge impedance, voltage gradient bet(een ad;acent phases and (ires per phase' The last
assumption is ;ustified b the limited number of standard sections used and b the limited
difference e)isting bet(een the line currents in the t(o cases "for same po(er transmitted%, as
sho(n belo('
The surge impedance is given b
1
8
' 'ln
0
r jwl l D
g j c c
Z


+
= =
+
"8%
?aving the same (ires, the t(o lines have the same e/uivalent geometric radius of each phase,
, but for the &$,
&
& ,
P
D r = (hereas for the #$,
#
0 ,
P
D r =
as can be demonstrated through
calculation of the reactive parameters' The condition for e/ual surge impedance is then
# &
&
'
0
P P
r r = "0%
To .eep the same insulation level bet(een ad;acent phases, the follo(ing relation must then
holdD
&
#
'
0
P
P
V
V =
"&%
Since
# # & &
0 &
P P P P
V E andV = = "*ig' 0%, it follo(sD
# &
&
'
0
P P
E E = "#%
*rom "#% it follo(s that for the same po(er transmitted the current I
#$
is a bit smaller than
& # &
" & 5 0%
P P P
I I I = and the t(o lines have e/ual Surge Impedance ,oading, SI,
0
1
" 5 %,
n
SIL nE Z = and e/ual po(er losses
# &
" %,
P P
p p =
since the disadvantage of one more (ire
in the #$, is balanced b the reduced current' Also, a &$, and a #$, (ith same phase
reactance
d
X
have the same po(er!angle relation
0
" " 5 %sin %
d
P n E X = and, thus, same
stead!state stabilit limit
M
P
'
In summar, the #$, has smaller (idth and vertical section "i'e', is more pac.ed%, lo(er
voltages "thus lo(er cost for s(itchgears, maneuver and measurement devices, insulators and
relevant accessories, etc'% and transfers the same po(er (ith e/ual po(er losses and reduced
current "so that the #$, has about 8E: higher load capabilit at thermal rating,
Th
A
%' Also, the
t(o lines have e/ual SI, and stabilit limit
M
P
'
Another interesting comparison concerns t(o smmetrical lines (ith same line!to!ground
voltage "e'g', 001 .F, a tpical value in the European G+TE transmission grid% and (ires per
phase' In this case the t(o lines have same tpe of insulators, conductors and relevant
accessories' This ma.es the comparison more feasible and consistent, also because these
components are of (idespread use in European transmission sstems' An analsis similar to
that performed for the first comparison leads to the follo(ing resultsD the #$, has lo(er phase!
to!phase voltage and transfers the same po(er (ith considerabl lo(er po(er losses and current
"so that the #$, has about &&: higher load capabilit at thermal rating%' The t(o lines have
ver similar surge impedance, their phase!(ires sta on e/ual circles
# &
" %
P P
r r =
and the #$,
has almost &1: higher SI, and &&: higher stead!state stabilit limit
M
P
' The t(o considered
comparisons "among the several possible% bet(een &$, and #$, are summarized in Table I'
Some authors stated that #$ transmission can be attractive for high!capacit, long and high!
reliabilit lin.s, not onl for G?F applications but also for voltage levels close to the tpical
&91 .F used in Europe <E=' This paper performs an economical comparison bet(een #$ and &$
transmission lines, (ith the aim to chec. the previous statement and single out the main
conditions under (hich the #$ solution could become convenient'
An economical comparison bet(een innovative #$ and traditional &$ transmission lines should
consider the follo(ing itemsD investment costsH energ losses I operation and maintenance
">JM% costs, actualized to current mone valueH costs associated (ith different reliabilit
levels, land occupation and visual impact'
The paper compares &$ and #$ overhead sstems characterized b 001 .F rms line!to!ground
voltage and same conductor, a standard triple!core bundle A+S- conductor of & C E9E mm
0
cross section' As alread pointed out, this is onl one among different possible choices to
compare &$ and #$ sstems' The considered lines areD
1) a &$,, &91 .F5001 .F "line!to!line5line!to!ground%H
2) a #$,, &81 .F5001 .FH
3) a 0 C &$,, &91 .F5001 .FH
4) a 0 C #$,, &81 .F5001 .F'
>f course, these lines are different under man respects' In particular, the feature transport
capacities in the ratios 8D8, &&D0D0'33 and po(er transmission reliabilit increases (hen passing
from sstem 8% to sstem #%' Aouble circuit sstems &% and #% can then be regarded as
alternatives to the relevant single circuit counterparts for realizing highl!reliable high!
capabilit transmission lines' Thus, the comparison (ill be carried out separatel for single
circuit and double circuit linesD &$, versus #$, "(ith same po(er transported% and 0 C &$,
versus 0 C #$, "(ith same po(er transported, doubled (ith respect to the single circuits, as it
(ill be better e)plained in the follo(ing%'
2o( let us analze the various cost items for the four considered sstems'
Investment Costs I!"#
>n the basis of a private communication from TE-2A, the transmission sstem operator "TS>%
in Ital, the p'u'l' "per unit length% investment cost can be assumed, on the average,
K
1'0#
M 5.m for a #11 .F
K
1'#1 M 5.m for a #11 .F 0 C &$, "these mean values include all
cost itemsD components, installation, right!of!(a, damage, notarial and various technical
e)penses%'
The corresponding p'u'l' investment cost far a #$, has been evaluated around 1'&1 M 5.m
<8=, thereb ielding the follo(ing cost ratiosD #$, 5&$, L 8'0E, #$,50 C &$, L 1'@E'
*or the 0 C #$,, considering that the number of conductors is doubled and the to(er height is
not (ith respect to the #$,, a similar reasoning can be done to that relating the &$, to the 0 C
&$,' Therefore, the p'u'l' investment cost for the 0 C #$, is here assumed about 1'E M 5.m'
>f cours, the insertion of a #$ lin. in a &$ transmission sstem re/uires also a significant e)tra
investment cost for special &$5#$ transformation apparatus "&$5#$ TA%' This cost is not eas to
assess, since ti depends both on the special transformers re/uired at the t(o ends of the #$,
"transformer of this .ind are not currentl being manufactured, at least for such high po(er
ratings% and on the lin. tpe "for e)ample, the #$, can connect t(o e)isting nodes of the
transmission net(or., or one node (ith a ne( po(er plant%' *rom a discussion (ith a technical
team of TE-2A engineers, a conservative estimate of
K
0# M for an overall transformed
po(er of 8111 MFA came out "consisting in more detail of
K
& M for a 0E1 MFA &$5#$
transformer (ith relevant accessories, measuring units, s(itching devices and so on%' ?o(ever,
in the follo(ing a rather prudential, high cost of &$5#$ TA of &1 M for an overall transformed
po(er of 8111 MFA (ill be assumed'
Ener$y %osses Costs E!%#
Energ losses costs can be ver important in the economical evaluation of the global costs
associated (ith the service life of a transmission line' The depend on both the average cost o
lost everg and the operation diagram of the line' +oncerning lost energ, a cost close to 811

5MMh can be considered in Ital, (here the official mean (eighted price of the electric energ
purchased on the free mar.et in the ear 0119 is 9#'4E

5MMh <4=' A lo(er cost could be


assumed in other European +ountries "for e)ample German, *rance, Spain%, (here the mean
production cost is lo(er' It must be pointed out that, obviousl, the
ENS
C
must not be confused
(ith the price is currentl about 8@1

5MMh "and lo(er in man other +ountries%, (hereas for


large high voltage users it is about 801

5MMh'
As alread mentioned, in case of S$G* #$,s can be operated (ith a reduced number of phases
"similarl to 0 C &$,s%, guaranteeing a significant advantage over &$,s in terms of reliabilit
and transient stabilit' ?o(ever, concerning this, there are some differences bet(een #$,s and
0 C &$,s' The 0 C &$,s can be vie(ed as composed b t(o independent &$ circuits, one of
can be permanentl opened' Instead, the operation of a #$, (ith t(o phases onl causes a zero!
se/uence current (ith the same magnitude order of normal operation line currents in the
ground circuit of the electrical stations at the t(o ends of the line and on the shield!(ire
connecting the line to(ers is provided' Secondl, for 0 C &$,s the po(er transmissible (ith
three phases can be the (hole pre!fault po(er or at least a high percentage of it, depending on
the pre!fault load of the line, the conductor thermal limit, the allo(ed temporar overload and
the duration to the operation (ith reduced phases' *or #$,s, even if the conductor thermal limit
is high enough to allo( temporar transmission of the (hole pre!fault po(er, the more limited
overload capabilit of &$5#$ transformers can ma.e #$,s less reliable than 0 C &$,s'
Such costs result from the loss of value of the land crossed b a po(er line, o(ing to the
prohibition of building for permanent uses "houses, schools, offices, and so on% (ithin its right!
of!(a' According to <8&=, the loss of value + in the right!of!(a of a po(er line can be
evaluated in the range of 1 #

5m
0
' *or a given area, defined as 6building coefficient7 the
ratio bet(een the houses volume and the land area, high + values correspond to high values of
the mean building coefficient along the po(er line laout' *or e)ample, a + close to #1

5m
0
can refer to a line crossing a rural area (ith scattered houses, (here the building coefficient is
around 1'8 m
&
5m
0
'
According to these figures, and said W "in m% the (idth of the right!of!(a, ,>+ in

5.m can
be computed as follo(sD
The parameter W is determined differentl for the various countries, but commonl it is derived
on the basis of the ma)imum permissible value for magnetic induction field in residential areas,
that must not be overcome at the boundar of the right!of!(a for a reference value of line
currents'
According to the Italian la(, (hich is rather conservative, such value is particularl lo(,
namel &
T
%, (hile most other countries refer at present to much higher limits or directl to
the I+2I-$ limit of 811
T
<8#=' ?o(ever, it can be argued that in the future, due to the ever
gro(ing concerns b the population about electromagnetic fields, also some 6less conservative7
countries (ill be led to more restrictive limitations and that, on the (hole, limits (ill be either
the same as or lo(er than no('
Conclusion
This paper investigated from the economic point of vie( the feasibilit of four!phase "#$%
overhead transmission lines that, o(ing to some interesting technical feature, ma be regarded
as an alternative to the traditional three!phase "&$% solutions for the construction of ne(
transmission lines'
An overall economic comparison bet(een #$,s and &$,s involves (idel change form case to
case' 2evertheless, the analsis performed highlights that, as general results, the #$, solution
could reall be convenient in case of sufficientl long and heavil loaded lines "sufficient line
length and load are necessar to recover the investment and operative costs concerned (ith
&$5#$ transformation%, (hen a high reliabilit of po(er transmission is a primar tas.'
$ractical e)amples are long lin.s bet(een po(er plants and the transmission grid, so as long
interconnection lin.s bet(een neighbouring countries'
-egarding double circuit lines, on the contrar, the possible convenience of 0 C #$,s appears
e)tremel limited'
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8' S' *ontanot and S' Quaia , 62e( perspectives for po(er transmission in the European open
electricit mar.et7, Electrotech. e!." vol' @&, no' 8, pp' 3# @1, 0113'
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