Impact of series compensation on the perfomance of distance protection on Eskom transmission grid.
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Modern transmission systems are becoming heavily loaded. In addressing this issue Eskom has been installing series capacitors in their power transmission grids for the purposes of ensuring improved system stability, increased transmittable power, reduced transmission losses, enhanced voltage control and more flexible power flow control. Environmental concerns are also addressed at a fraction of the cost when compared to the alternative. However, with the utilization of series capacitors and their over-voltage protection devices typically the Metal Oxide Varistors and Spark Gaps when installed on transmission lines, several problems are created for the distance protection relays. This is because series capacitors when used on transmission lines can have serious effects on the performance of distance relay protection. This is because of the change of impedance seen by the distance relay since the electrical impedance measured by the relay is no longer a unique correspondence of the physical distance from the relay location to the point of fault when the protection of the series capacitors comes into play. The research results will show that, because of subsynchronous oscillations and voltage inversion phenomena as a result of series compensation, can cause distance protection’s zone 1 directional elements to operate incorrectly, more specific to internal faults which may appear as external faults and external faults which may appear as internal faults. The research will be investigating some of the challenges that are encountered by the distance protection relays when protecting a transmission line incorporating series capacitors. In answering the research question: “What are the issues associated with the utilization of series capacitors on the Eskom Transmission grid to the performance of distance protection?” the Digsilent PowerFactory software simulator package will be utilized to achieve the desired objectives. Other research projects have looked into the research question at hand utilizing the physical REL 531 relays and a real time model of the Eskom Hydra South Network, a system that supplies power to the Western Cape. In this research the author will be looking at the ability of Digsilent and its REL 531 Models to repeat and confirm the same conclusions, before considering possible alternative solutions. The Muldersvlei-Bacchus and Bacchus-Droerivier lines forming part of the Eskom Hydra South Network were selected as the area of focus. The decision to select these two particular mentioned lines as the area of focus was because the studies will be able to cover impact of external series capacitors to both the performance of the relays on lines that are series compensated and those that are not. The performance of the relays will involve analyzing the impact of series capacitors on the relays for faults before and after series capacitors. The research will also be investigating the possibility of utilizing the current supervised zone 1 configuration, which has recently been introduced on some Eskom distance protection relays as a solution, to overcome the impact of series capacitors on the performance of the distance protection relays.