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Shenxing. Shi*, Bo. Jiang*, Xinzhou. Dong *, Zhiqian. Bo

*State Key Lab of Control and Simulation of Power System and Generation Equipments, Tsinghua Univ.,P.R.China

Areva T&D, Stafford, UK.

Keywords: microgrid, traveling waves, voltage, current

The paper analyses the existed protection of microgrid. And
in order to meet the requirements of microgrid protection, a
novel protection is presented in this paper. The protection
based on local information without the need of
communication, uses current traveling waves to identify
faulted feeder, and the bus bar voltages to determine a event
caused by fault or switch operation. In the protection scheme,
current traveling waves are measured by current transducers
in N line and phase lines, and wavelet multi-resolution
analysis is used to decompose traveling wave signals. The
initial traveling waves are compared in magnitude and
polarity with each other to determine the faulted feeder. The
protection is independent of microgrid operation connected
with the main power grid or in island.

1 Introduction
Since the late 1970s intensive efforts have been made to
utilize renewable energy sources, such as wind, hydro, tidal,
etc., to generate electric power. However, application of
individual distributed generators can cause as many problems
as it may solve. A better way to realize the emerging potential
of distributed generation is to take a system approach which
views generation and associated loads as a subsystem or a
"microgrid". Microgrids comprise low voltage distribution
systems with distributed energy sources, storage devices and
controllable loads, operated connected to the main power
network or islanded, in a controlled, coordinated way. The
sources can operate in parallel to the grid or can operate in
island, providing UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)
services. The system will disconnect from the utility during
large events (i.e. faults, voltage collapses), but may also
intentionally disconnect when the quality of power from the
grid falls below certain standards. The operation of
Microgrids offers distinct advantages to customers and
utilities, i.e. improved energy efficiency, minimisation of
overall energy consumption, reduced environmental impact,
improvement of reliability and resilience, network operational
benefits and more cost efficient electricity infrastructure
The protective relay design for MicroGrids must be different
from what has historically been used for grid distribution
systems because MicroGrids add a significant number of

electrical sources to a customers system, which has

historically contained only loads. Some of the differences
resulting from this change are obvious; for example, once
sources are added, energy can flow in either direction through
protection system sensing devices. There are no twodirectional flows on most radial systems. A more subtle
difference between MicroGrids and traditional grids is that
MicroGrids will experience a significant change in short
circuit capability when they switch from grid-connected to
island operation. This change in short circuit capability will
have a profound impact on the vast majority of protection
schemes used in todays systems, which are based on shortcircuit current sensing[1-4]. The paper analyses the existed
protection of microgrid. And a novel protection of microgrids
based on travelling waves is presented.

2 Existed microgrid protection

In general, a microgrid can operate in both the grid-connected
mode and the islanded mode where the microgrid is
interfaced to the main power system by a fast semiconductor
switch called static switch. It is essential to protect a
microgrid in both the grid-connected and the islanded modes
of operation against all types of faults. The philosophy of
protection is to disconnect the static switch for all classes of
Most conventional distribution protection is based on shortcircuit current sensing. Conventional rotating generating
plants provide considerable fault currents in the event of a
short circuit. The major fault current contributor in gridconnected operation is obviously the main distribution
network while the micro-sources provide only a small fraction
of the total fault current. In such case, the main distribution
system would contribute to the short-circuit current and the
use of traditional protection relays should not pose a problem.
Power-electronic based micro-sources cannot normally
provide the high levels of fault current required to operate
traditional over-current sensing devices. Successful operation
of an islanded microgrid system will require sufficient faultcurrent sources within the microgrid that all overcurrent
protective devices will have a ratio of available fault current
to maximum load current of not less than 3-5. A typical
converter may only be capable of supplying twice the load
current or less to a fault. Fault currents in islanded inverter
based microgrids may not have adequate magnitudes to use
traditional over-current protection techniques. With the static

switch open, faults within the microgrid need to be cleared

with techniques that do not rely on high fault currents.
It was initially thought that a microgrid can be protected, at
least for single-phase-to-ground faults, based on differential
components of phase currents. However, studies showed that
each relay, which corresponds to a microgrid protection zone,
can only detect single-phase-to-ground faults that occur in the
up-stream zone of the relay[5,6]. The relays do not detect an
single-phase-to-ground fault in a down-stream zone. In
addition to inability for protecting against down-stream
single-phase-to-ground faults, the relays do not detect a
differential current component for phase-to-phase faults in
any of the microgrid protection zones.
An alternative solution is to protect a microgrid against
single-phase-to-ground faults and phase-to-phase faults based
on symmetrical current components. A broad range of studies
have been conducted that single-phase-to-ground faults in
down-stream zones of relays and all phase-to-phase faults can
be detected based on symmetrical current components[7,8].
The single-phase-to-ground and phase-to-phase faults are
detected from the zero-sequence component and the negativesequence components of currents, respectively. However,
zero- and negative-sequence components of current are also
non-zero under normal operating conditions of a microgrid.
This is due to the fact that a microgrid may, in general,
include single-phase loads or three-phase unbalanced loads.
To enhance reliability, a peer-to-peer and plug-and-play
model is used for each component of the microgrid. The peerto-peer concept insures that there are no components, such as
a master controller or central storage unit that is critical for
operation of the microgrid. This implies that the microgrid
can continue operating with loss of any component or
generator. With one additional source, (N+1), we can insure
complete functionality with the loss of any source. Plug-andplay implies that a unit can be placed at any point on the
electrical system without reengineering the controls thereby
reducing the chance for engineering errors. The plug-and-play
model facilitates placing generators near the heat loads
thereby allowing more effective use of waste heat without
complex heat distribution systems such as steam and chilled
water pipes.
Peer-to-peer and plug-and-play concepts also impact the
protection design. The peer-to-peer concept insures that there
are no protection components, such as a master coordinator or
communication system critical to the protection of the
microgrid. Plug-and-play implies that a unit can be placed at
any point on the electrical system without re-engineering the
protection thereby reducing the chance for engineering errors.
This implies that microgrid protection is part of each source.
Therefore, microgrid protection should be independent on
high fault current, power flow direction, unbalanced load and
plug-and-play generator. Nevertheless, fault generated
traveling waves meet the above requirements. The paper

presents fault generated traveling waves based microgrid


3 Basic Principle
When a fault occurs in one feeder in microgrid, fault
generated traveling waves will propagate from fault point
along the feeder to the microgrid. Arriving at the point where
wave impedance changes, for example bus bar, the traveling
wave will be reflected and refracted. At the instant arriving at
the point, current traveling waves satisfy Kirchhoff's current

k 1


Where n is the number of branches connected to the point,

and ik is the current through number K branch.
That is, the current inflow to the point is equal to the current
outflow. As far as the bus bar is concerned, the current value
in faulted feeder is equal to the sum of current in sound
feeders connected to the bus bar. Suppose the current
reference direction is defined as from the bus bar to the feeder,
the currents in all sound feeders have the same direction.
Therefore fault generated current traveling wave of faulted
feeder is reverse to, and much higher than the wave of any
sound feeder measured in microgrid, which is the basic
principle to identify the fault.

4 Proposed scheme
For current traveling waves generated during normal events
such as feeder energizing as well as distributed generator
switching will cause protection mal-operation, the bus bar
voltages are introduced in the scheme to determine a
disturbance as a fault or not. So the proposed scheme uses the
bus bar voltages to determine whether a fault occurs and
current traveling waves to identify which feeder is faulted.
When a fault occurs in one feeder, the power frequency
voltages in the bus bar connected with the faulted feeder will
change according to fault types. When a switch operates such
as feeder energizing, the power frequency voltage in the bus
bar is close to zero after very short transient process. In the
paper, the bus bar voltages are detected, fault types are
determined according to voltages, and adaptive voltage
threshold is set. Therefore, whether a fault occurs and where
the fault is are determined, then protection issues a trip signal
to corresponding circuit breaker. The above scheme can be
implemented using the algorithm as shown in Figure.1.


Votage Detection

Disturbance Detection
Current Data Sampling

Fault Determine
Wavelet transform
Fault type Determine

Maxima Extaction

Fault Zone Identification

Figure 1: Flowchart of the proposed scheme
When a disturbance in the microgrid is detected, current
traveling wave signals of all feeders are sampled at a
sampling frequency of 1MHz and recorded [9,10]. A fixed data
window containing 128 samples is used. For each data
window the wavelet transform decomposes the measured
signals of each feeder. In the proposed algorithm, a derivative
of the cubic B-spline function is selected as the mother
wavelets and four levels wavelet transform are processed.
Then the local modulus maxima of the level 4 wavelet
transform signals are extracted. The first local modulus
maxima of all feeders are compared with each other.
The power frequency voltages in the microgrid are real time
monitored. When a fault occurs, the voltages will change
according to fault types and will last. Voltages measured are
used to determine the fault type. And according to different
fault types, different traveling waves are used to determine
the fault zone, for example, for single-phase-to-ground fault,
current traveling waves measured in the N current transducers
are chosen. Then after the fault zone is identified, the
protection will issue a trip to corresponding circuit breaker.

Relay 1 is responsible for any fault in zone 1. And Relay 2 is

responsible for any fault in zone 2. The current inputs of
Relay 1 are from current transducers CT0~CT3. The voltage
inputs of Relay 1 are from voltage transducer PT1. And the
outputs of Relay 1 are to switches K0~K3. Similarly to Relay
1, the current inputs of Relay 2 are from current transducers
CT20~CT22. The voltage inputs of Relay 2 are from voltage
transducer PT11. And the outputs of Relay 2 are to switches
When a single-phase-to-ground fault occurs, the protection
using three phases voltages will detect the fault and determine
the fault type. Then the protection uses current traveling
waves measured in N line current transducers to determine
the fault zone. If the fault is in feeder L1, the protection issues
a signal to trip switch K1 without delay. If the fault is in
feeder L2, the protection will delay to determine whether the
fault is in zone 2. If the fault is in L3 or Bus 1, the protection
will trip instantly. If a phase-to-phase fault occurs, the
protection based on three phases voltages detect the fault and
determine the fault type firstly. Then the current traveling
waves measured in faulted phases current transducers are
used to identify the fault zone. According to different position,
the protection will trip the fault instantly or delayed to
coordinate with downstream protection lastly. If the fault is in
zone 2, wherever the position is, the protection Relay 2 will
trip instantly.
Power grid




Relay 1








5 Field Application
A microgird is described in Figure.2, in which there are four
distributed micro sources DG1~DG4 and four loads Lo1~Lo4.
Power grid is a typical 10kV distribution system, while the
microgrid studied is 0.4kV system, in which three-phase four
lines connection are used. In the microgrid, seven main
feeders and two buses connect loads with power sources. For
each feeder, four current transducers including N line
transducer are installed. And three phase voltages in Bus 1
and Bus 11 are measured by voltage transducers.





Relay 2





In order to protect the microgrid, Two protection relays with

the novel protection scheme and seven switches are used.




Figure 2: The microgrid studied



5 Conclusion
The paper presents a novel scheme of microgrid protection
based on current traveling waves and power frequency
voltages. The scheme uses voltages to determine a
disturbance as a fault or switch operation, and uses current
traveling waves to identify the fault zone. Thus the protection
will issue a corresponding switch to isolate the fault without
affecting normal loads and micro sources. The proposed
scheme is immune to power flow, fault current, unbalanced
load and plug-and-play generators. Now simulation tests of
the scheme are underway and the results will be reported in
future papers.

This work is supported by Key Program of National Natural Science
Foundation of China (No. 50937003) and AREVA T&D Ltd.

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