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Fast Detector of Symmetrical Fault during

Power Swing for Distance Relay
B. Su, X.Z. Dong, Z.Q. Bo, Y.Z. Sun, B.R.J. Caunce, D. Tholomier, A. Apostolov

faults that occur at the power swing centre and when the power
Abstract-- Distance relay should be blocked during power angle is close to 180°. Some other detectors are more sensible,
swing to ensure the reliability, but still should trip as soon as but need long time delay. For instance, the detector based on
possible after an internal fault occurs during power swing. It was the power swing centre voltage (PSCV) need at least 150ms to
very difficult to detect the symmetrical fault reliably and fast unblock the distance relay [3]. To speed up the symmetrical
during power swing with complex power swing conditions and
fault detection during power swing, the fault detectors based
fault conditions considered. This paper presents a new fast
detector of symmetrical fault during power swing. Based on the
on the discontinuity of PSCV have been proposed [5], [6].
sudden reduction of absolute value of the change rate of power These detectors can not detect the fault that occurs while
swing centre voltage (PSCV), the presented detector can detect power angle is close to 180°, for such fault can not cause
the symmetrical fault reliably and sensitively in two cycles. This enough discontinuity of PSCV. Another fault detector based
detector is easy to set and immune to the swing period, fault arc, on the small value of the change rate of PSCV was proposed to
fault location and power angle. EMTP simulations and Real-Time detect the symmetrical fault that occurs while power angle is
Digital Simulator system (RTDS) tests prove the presented close to 180° [4], [6]. This detector needs a threshold setting
detector is fast, sensible and reliable.
for the change rate of PSCV, however, which is very difficult
to choose while fault arc and different swing periods are
Index Terms-- power swing blocking, symmetrical fault,
power swing centre voltage, distance relay considered.
This paper presents a new fast symmetrical fault detector
I. INTRODUCTION for distance relay. This detector is based on the detection of
the sudden reduction of the absolute value of change rate of
Power swings are oscillations in power flow, which might
PSCV. This detector is easy to set and immune to the swing
be caused by sudden removal of faults, loss of synchronism or
period, fault arc, fault location and power angle. The
changes in direction of power flow as a result of switching. A
symmetrical faults can be detected reliably and sensitively in 2
power swing may cause the appearance impedance measured
by a distance relay to move away from the normal load area cycles, including the symmetrical arc fault that occurs at the
and into one or more of its tripping characteristics, thus causes power swing centre and when the power angle is close to 180°,
unwanted trip [1]. To ensure the stability of distance relay, which is difficult to the existing fault detectors. EMTP
power swing blocking function is integrated in most of the simulations and Real-Time Digital Simulator system (RTDS)
modern distance relays to block the operation during pure tests to a 400km 500kV transmission system are fulfilled
power swing [2], [3]. considering different swing conditions and fault conditions,
On the other hand, after a fault occurs during the power and the results prove that the presented detector is fast,
swing, the distance relay should be able to detect the fault and sensible and reliable.
trip the internal fault as soon as possible. It is easy to detect the
unsymmetrical fault and unblock the distance relay during II. POWER SWING CENTRE VOLTAGE
power swing with the negative and zero sequence components,
During power swing, the voltages and currents in the whole
which do not exist during stable power swing [3]. For
system are changing remarkably and periodically. The point
symmetrical fault, however, it is much more difficult to
where the voltage is the lowest in the system is power swing
distinguish it from stable power swing. Some symmetrical fault
centre, and the voltage of there is power swing centre voltage
detectors are based on the superimposed components or the
(PSCV). Assuming that all the components in the whole
change rate of measured impedance [4]. These detectors are
system have uniform impedance angle, the power swing centre
fast, but can not operate sensitively for those faults that cause
is fixed. Fig.1 shows a power swing transmission system.
very small superimposed components, for example, those
There are two equivalent power sources (source M and source
N) and two relays at both terminals of transmission line MN.
This work was financed by NSFC (the National Natural Science The relay at terminal M is mainly analyzed and simulated in
Foundation of China) under Grant numbers 50077011 and 50377019 and this paper.
AREVA T&D Automation & Information Systems
B. Su and X.Z. Dong, and Y.Z. Sun are with the Department of Electrical
Fig.2 (a) shows the phasor Figure during stable power
Engineering, Tsinghua University, China swing, assuming that the amplitudes of the system potentials of
Z.Q. Bo, B.R.J. Caunce, D. Tholomier, and A. Apostolov are with the
AREVA T&D – Automation & Information Systems

both systems are equal, and EM leads EN by angle δ . Fig.2 (b) shows the phasor figure after a symmetrical fault
Apparently the phasor of the PSCV is: occurs at point F during power swing. VM is composed of the
voltage drop on the transmission line and the arc voltage at
δ δ fault point, VArc . It can be seen from this figure that the PSCV
VPSC = EM cos ⋅ 1∠ − (1)
2 2 calculated with (2) is always smaller than or equal to the arc
voltage. Investigations have shown that the arc voltage is
Because the system potential and power angle is unknown to normally less than 5% of rated voltage VN [1]. Consequently
the relay, the PSCV is normally evaluated with the voltage and the PSCV is also less than 5%VN after symmetrical fault
current measured by the relay by: occurs. Taking the calculation error during the transient
process into consideration, the PSCV after fault inception can
be considered between the range [-3%, 8%]VN. Note that
VPSC = VM cos arg + 90° − ϕ (2) because of the fault arc, the calculated PSCV is not constant,
IM but swinging with the same period as the power swing. One
reason is that the arc voltage is changeable according to fault
Where VM and I M are the positive sequence voltage and current [7], and the other reason is that the angle between the
fault current (as well as fault arc voltage) and the measured
current measured by relay M, and ϕ is the general
current I M is also changeable according to the power angle.
impedance angle of the whole system, which is approximately
equal to and normally replaced by that of transmission line
ϕ Line . Obviously the PSCV changes between rated voltage
(VN) and negative rated voltage (–VN) continuously in one A. Features of PSCV and the Principle
power swing period. Fig.3 shows the PSCV curves (VPSC) after symmetrical fault
occurs at different power angles during power swing. The fault
occurs at time instant tF.

Fig.1 Power swing system

(a) Power angle is 120


(a) Pure power swing without fault

ϕ Line
(b) Power angle is 180

ϕ Fig.3 PSCV after symmetrical fault during power swing

Several features of PSCV can be seen from Fig.3:

(b) After symmetrical fault occurs
1) The PSCV stays in the range [-3%, 8%]VN until the
fault is cleared. This feature has been utilized widely by
Fig.2 Phasor Figure during power swing with or without symmetrical fault measuring the time duration when PSCV is in the range [-3%,
8%]VN. As has mentioned before, during pure power swing,

the PSCV changes continuously and passes through the range where T is the power frequency period.
in a finite time directly proportional to the power swing period. Based on the above principle, the criterion of the
If the duration is longer than a fixed time threshold, there must symmetrical fault detector is
be symmetrical fault and the relay should be unblocked. The
time threshold is normally set as 150 milliseconds, considering S PSC ( t ) < k ⋅ S PSC ( t − T ) (4)
the longest power swing period in practice (normally 3
seconds) plus reasonable margin. It’s a quite long delay for
extra-high-voltage line and the slow trip of distance relay will For the convenience, define the superimposed PSCV as:
further deteriorate the system stability and might cause serious
losses. ∆VPSC ( t ) = VPSC ( t ) − VPSC ( t − T ) (5)
2) There is a discontinuity of PSCV after symmetrical
fault occurs only while the power angle is far away from 180°, Then criterion (4) can be simplified as
as shown in Fig.3(a). This feature can be utilized to
discriminate the symmetrical fault from power swing by ∆VPSC ( t )
detecting the rapid change of PSCV directly [5] or the high <k (6)
value of second derivative of PSCV [6]. This feature, however, ∆VPSC ( t − T )
does not exist if the fault occurs while the power angle is close
to 180°, as shown in Fig.3(b). Thus the detectors based on it Plenty of simulation results have proven that the setting k is
can not operate. very easy to choose from 0.1 to 0.5. The setting of k has no
3) The PSCV is close to zero after fault occurs, but influence on the reliability or sensitivity of the fault detector,
variable with power angle when fault arc exists. This feature is and only influences the operation speed slightly. The k is set to
utilized by detecting the small value of the change rate (time 0.3 in this paper.
derivative), especially to detect the symmetrical fault that When the power angle is passing through zero, the PSCV
occurs while the power angle is close to 180° [6]. Because the has a sudden change from VN to –VN or contrarily in one
PSCV is variable, however, the change rate of PSCV after a cycle, thus the above criterion might be satisfied in the cycle
symmetrical fault in fast swing (the normally considered after this sudden change and the distance relay might be
shortest swing period is 100ms) could be similar or even larger unblocked. If the power swing period is very short, such an
than that during stable slow swing. This fact is proved by mal-operation of this detector might cause an unwanted trip.
EMTP simulation as given in section IV. Thus it is difficult to To cope with this, the above criterion should be used only
choose a constant threshold to ensure both the reliability while the PSCV is small. Thus a complementary criterion is
during slow swing and the sensitivity after fault during fast introduced:
4) The change rate of PSCV reduces remarkably soon VPSC ( t ) ∈ [ −0.03, 0.08]VN (7)
after the fault occurs. For the fault that occurs while power
angle is far from 180°, as Fig.3(a) shows, the PSCV moves IV. EMTP AND RTDS TEST RESULTS
into the range in a short time less than the data window of the
filter (the Full-cycle Fourier Filter is used in this paper) after A. Simulated System Model
the fault, causing a big change rate of PSCV (SPSC1), then the To demonstrate the performance of presented fault detector,
PSCV stays in the range and swing slightly with the power a series of tests to a 400km 500kV transmission system have
angle, thus the change rate of PSCV (SPSC2) is much smaller been fulfilled with EMTP. The structure of the simulated
than SPSC1. For the fault that occurs while power angle is close system is shown in Fig.1. The short circuit capacities of system
to 180°, as Fig.3(b) shows, the PSCV moves into the range M and N are 1200MVA and 6000MVA respectively. The
before the fault occurs, and the change rate of PSCV is SPSC3, faults locate at different points, including the power swing
then soon after the fault, the change rate of PSCV becomes centre. Different power swing periods and power angles are
SPSC4, which is much smaller than SPSC3 as well. also considered.
Apparently, by monitoring the reduction of the change rate The fault arc is modeled with [8]:
of PSCV, the symmetrical fault can be detected sensibly
whatever the power swing angle is. Because both the SPSC3and
dg p 1
the SPSC4 are inversely proportional to the power swing period,
the difficulty of setting in 3) is overcome. This is the principle dt
Gp − g p ) (8)

of the new symmetrical fault detector. where g p is the time varying arc conductance;
B. Criteria Tp is the time constant;
The change rate of PSCV can be calculated with
G p is the primary arc conductance. This conductance can be
d (VPSC ( t ) ) VPSC ( t ) − VPSC ( t − T ) evaluated by [7]:
S PSC ( t ) = = (3) i
dt T Gp = (9)
Vpl p

where i is the fault arc current. located at the power swing centre. Fig.5 (a) shows the voltage
l p is the length of the arc, which is 12.3m in this paper; and current of phase A measured by the relay of M side. Fig.5
(b) shows the PSCV. It can be seen that after the fault occurs,
V p is the arc voltage drop per unit length. It is about 15V/cm the PSCV moves into the range in one cycle and then stays
for the fault current from 1.4kA to 24kA. there. Fig.5 (c) shows the superimposed PSCV. It can be seen
The time constant Tp can be calculated with: that at t=1.271, there is:

∆VPSC (1.271) 45.4kV

αIp = = 0.25 < 0.3 (11)
Tp = (10) ∆VPSC (1.251) 182kV
where the coefficient α is about 2.85 × 10−5 . Thus the symmetrical fault during power swing can be
I p is the arc peak current. detected in 31ms. It can also be easily calculated that the
detector can operate 2ms earlier if the threshold k is set as 0.5,
B. EMTP Simulations or 3ms later if the k is set as 0.1. Obviously the set of k is easy
The PSCV and the superimposed PSCV under different and only slightly influences the operation time.
power swing periods are shown in Fig.4. The solid lines show Fig.6 shows the simulation results of the fault that occurs at
the results when a symmetrical fault occurs during a fast power time instant t=1.44s, while the power angle is 180°. Note that
swing (slip frequency Fs=10Hz), while the dotted lines show the phase current before the fault is not zero, but the charging
the results during a non-fault slow power swing (Fs=0.33Hz). current. The fault is also located at power swing centre. Fig.6
As Fig.4 (a) shows, after the fault occurs, the PSCV swing (b) shows that before the fault occurs, the PSCV has been in
in the range [-3%, 8%]VN because of the fault arc, and the the range, after the fault occurs, the PSCV moves out of the
swing period of PSCV is the same as that before the fault. range because of the transient process, and then after 12ms
Consequently, the superimposed PSCV under such condition moves into and stays in the range again. Fig.6 (c) shows that at
can reach 20kV, as shown in Fig.4 (b). During the non-fault t=1.456, there is:
slow swing, however, the superimposed PSCV is only about
7kV when the PSCV is in the range. Apparently, these ∆VPSC (1.456 ) 20kV
= = 0.26 < 0.3 (11)
simulation results prove that it is impossible to choose a ∆VPSC (1.436 ) 75.8kV
suitable threshold to detect the fault by monitoring the small
change rate of PSCV.
Thus the detector can detect this symmetrical fault in 16ms.

(a) Power swing centre voltage

(a) Voltage and current of phase A

(b) Power swing centre voltage

(b) The superimposed PSCV

Fig.4 The simulation results of the PSCV and the superimposed PSCV under
different power swing periods

The EMTP simulation results show that the presented fault

detector can detect the symmetrical fault in 2 cycles for under
different the fault locations, power swing periods and power
Fig.5 shows the simulation results of the fault that occurs at (c) The superimposed PSCV
time instant t=1.24s, while the power angle is 60°. The fault is

Fig.5 The simulation result of the fault that occurs while power angle is 60° 0.1 23 ms 25 ms 24 ms 25 ms

A new symmetrical fault detector is presented to unblock
the distance relay and ensure the fast clearance of the
symmetrical fault during power swing. By detecting the sudden
reduction of the absolute value of the change rate of PSCV,
this detector possesses several outstanding advantages as have
been proved with plenty of EMTP simulations and RTDS test
(a) Voltage and current of phase A results.
1) High speed. This detector can operate in two cycles after a
symmetrical fault occurs during power swing.
2) Reliable and sensible. It is free of mal-operation during
pure power swing or mis-operation after a symmetrical
fault occurs during power swing and immune to the fault
location, fault arc, power angle and swing period.
3) Easy setting. Its single setting can be easily chosen in a
(b) Power swing centre voltage wide range and only slightly influences the operation

[1] Xu Zhengya. “New distance relay for transmission line”. China water
and hydroelectricity press, 2002
[2] AREVA, “MiCOMho P443 fast multifunction distance protection”,
AREVA T&D Automation & Information Systems.
[3] NARI-Relays electric limited company. “RCS-901A/B EHV
(c) The superimposed PSCV transmission line distance protection”.
[4] Zhu Shengshi. “Theories and techniques of the protection in high
Fig.6 The simulation result of the fault that occurs while power angle is 180° voltage power system”. China electrical power press, 1995
[5] Zhao Zhihua, Zhang Hongyue, Yi Yonghui. “A way of quickly enabling
distance protection in fault during swing blocking”. Relay, Vol.25,
C. RTDS Test No.1,1997, pp:18-21
[6] G. Benmouyal, D.Q. Hou, and D. Tziouvaras. “Zero-setting power
The presented fault detector has been implemented into the swing blocking protection”. The 31st annual western protective relay
AREVA MiCOM P443 fast multifunction distance relay, and conference. Washington, 2004
tested with RTDS. Fore fault locations including the power [7] A.T. Johns, R.K. Aggarwal and Y.H. Song. “Improved techniques for
modeling fault arcs on faulted EHV transmission systems”. IEE
swing centre (127km to busbar M), and six power swing Procedure on Generation, Transmission and Distribution, Vol.141,
periods are tested. For every fault location and swing period, No.2, 1994, pp148-154
ten faults at different power angle are tested and the average [8] M. Kizilcay and T. Pniok. “Digital simulation of fault arcs in power
system”. ETEP, Vol.1, No.1, 1991, pp.55-60
operation times are shown in Table I. The test results show
that the new fault detector is sensible and can detect all the
symmetrical faults in 2 cycles, which ensures the fast trip of
the P443 relay. No mal-operation happens in the whole test,
which shows that the presented fault detector is very reliable. Bin Su received his BSc in 1998 and MSc in 2001 from Department of
Electrical Engineering, Tianjin University, China. At present, he is pursuing
Table I the Ph.D degree with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua
AVERAGE OPERATION TIME OF THE NEW SYMMETRICAL FAULT DETECTOR IN University, China. His main research interest is power system protection.
Xinzhou Dong received his BSc in 1983, MSc in 1991 and PhD in 1996 in
Fault location 127 the Department of Electrical Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China,
respectively. He furthered his research work in the postdoctoral station of
(km) 0 (swing 200 400 Tianjing University, China from 1997 to 1998. Presently, he is employed as
Swing period (s) centre) the Associated Professor in Tsinghua University, China. His research interests
are Protective Relaying, Fault Location and Application of Wavelet
3 30 ms 32 ms 28 ms 30 ms Transform in Power System.
2 27 ms 30 ms 28 ms 28 ms
Zhiqian Bo received his BSc degree from the Northeastern University, China
1 28 ms 30 ms 26 ms 29 ms in 1982 and PhD degree from The Queen' s University of Belfast, UK in 1988
respectively. From 1989 to 1997, he worked at the Power Systems Group at
0.5 27 ms 27 ms 25 ms 26 ms the University of Bath. Presently, he is with AREVA T&D – Automation &
Information Systems and responsible for new technology developments. His
0.2 25 ms 29 ms 24 ms 25 ms main research interests are power system protection and control.
Yuanzhang Sun is a Professor of Tsinghua University, China. His main Engineer for medium and high voltage applications. In 1997 Damien moved
interest research area is power system Control. He is author or co-author of as Marketing Manager, High Voltage Protection Business Unit with Alstom
more than 100 journals. T&D Protection & Control in Lattes, France where he was engaged in the
development of distance relays for sub- and extra high voltage power
Ben Caunce completed a student apprenticeship with the English Electric transmission as well as in the development of the numerical busbar protection
Company in 1973, graduating with a Stafford University degree. He was (universal topology and CT saturation detection algorithms). From 1999-
employed as a relay development engineer by GEC Measurements (now 2001 he was appointed to the position of Sales & Service Director for
AREVA T&D – Automation & Information) before being appointed as a Mediterranean Countries and Africa. From 2002, he is presently Marketing
Project Leader in 1981. He was engaged in the development of one of the first Products Director for AREVA T&D – Automation & Information. His main
microprocessor based distance relays for extra high voltage power research interests are Protective Relays, Fault Location and Serial
transmission lines, and later on, other distance relays for sub-transmission and Communication to Non Conventional Instrument Transformers.
distribution lines. He was appointed to the position of Assistant Chief
Engineer, Development in 1994. In 2000 he held the position as R&D Alexander Apostolov received his MS degree in Electrical Engineering, MS
Manager, Medium Voltage Development, for 2 years, giving him in Applied Mathematics and PhD from the Technical University in Sofia,
responsibility for all aspects of hardware and software design and validation Bulgaria. He is presently Principal Engineer for AREVA T&D EAI in Los
testing of protection and control relays for medium voltage applications. In Angeles, CA. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and member of the Power
2002 he was appointed as Certification Director - Protection Products. Systems Relaying Committee and Substations C0 Subcommittee. He is Vice-
Chairman of the Relay Communications Subcommittee, and serves on many
Damien Tholomier received a BEng in Electrical and Automation IEEE PES Working Groups.He is a member of IEC TC57 (leader of a Task
Engineering in 1992 from the University of Marseilles, France (Ecole Force on Power Quality Object Models in IEC 61850_ and CIGRE. He is
Polytechnique Universitaire de Marseille). Damien joined GEC ALSTHOM Chairman of the Technical Publications Subcommittee of the UCA
T&D GmbH (now AREVA T&D) in Stuttgart, Germany where he worked for International Users Group. He holds three patents and has authored and
5 years in the Protection & Control department as Power System Application presented more than 150 technical papers.