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IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. PAS-102, No.

6, June 1983


Working Group on Power Plant Response *

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide assistance to electric utilities in enhancing the capability of fossil fueled power plants, especially new power plants, to successfully withstand partial load rejections. For a power plant, a partial load rejection is a large sudden decrease in load during which the main generator breaker remains closed and the generator remains connected to the remaining reduced load. Partial load rejections are relatively rare events large interconnected power systems and usually occur as the result of a major system disturbance that leaves a generation rich island. However, any power plant with both a local connected load and a single tie to the rest of the interconnection is more likely to incur a partial load rejection. in


Overall Plant Control

Because the plant remains connected to the remaining load, there is no identifiable plant logic event (e.g. - opening of generator main breaker) that can be used to control a partial load rejection. Therefore, the normal plant controls, with some augmentation, must be able to handle a partial load rejection. This emphasizes the need for an overall plant control that is properly designed, analyzed, tuned, and maintained. Because a partial load rejection is a severe transient, inadequacies in any of these aspects of the control will endanger successful withstanding of this severe transient. The key function of the overall plant control is to match power output to power input. For a fossil fuel power plant with a constant fuel/air ratio, the power input is proportional to fuel flow. Thus, as used in this paper, power input is basically fuel flow. During a partial load rejection, the electric output power drops suddenly and significantly. Thus, without a turbine steam bypass system, the overall plant control must immediately decrease power input. Since there will always be a lag in this decrease, the power input must temporarily undershoot the power In addition, an input power undershoot is output. usually necessary to account for the decrease in energy storage between the original and the reduced output power level. (This is more fully discussed in the next Section.)
An output power signal is an essential input to the overall plant control. During a partial load rejection, the initial drop in electric output power will be sudden, almost instantaneous. Therefore, a decrease in output power that exceeds a threshold increment could be useful in augmenting the normal overall plant control to cope with a partial load

These guidelines emphasize the need for overall plant control and provide guidance on the important control factors to be considered. However, there is no intent to specify any particular type of control; the intent is to identify the functions that the plant controls must perform.

Although rare, partial load rejections have generated much interest in the electric utility industry. These guidelines, developed by the IEEE Working Group on Power Plant Response, are intended to respond to this interest. Information from the References has been used in preparing these guidelines.


prepared with input from the T.b. Younkins following Working Group members: R.D. F.H. F.P. (Chairman); deMello; Dunlop; Fenton, Jr.; J.M. Intrabartola; P. Kundur; B. Littman; T.D. Russell. O.W. Durrant, J.G. Mounts, W.P. Gorzegno, and P.A. Rusche also provided input.


82 JPGC 605-4 A paper recommended and approved by the IEEE Power Generation Committee of the IEEE Power Engineering Society for presentation at the 1982 IEEE/ASME/ASCE Joint Power Generation Conference, October 17-21, 1982, Hilton Hotel, Denver, Colorado. Manuscript submitted June 1, 1982; made available for printing August 30, 1982.

Frequency (speed) will increase during a partial load rejection. If the affected plant is one of several in an island, the initial rate of frequency increase will be an inertia weighted average for the entire island. This increase in frequency will cause rapid output power reductions via governor action on those units in the island that are participating in frequency regulation. For large frequency changes, turbine overspeed control action may occur even for those non-regulating units in the island. (See C Section for a discussion of individual turbine-generator frequency After variations.) several seconds, when island output power has been reduced to match island load, island frequency will stabilize at a higher than normal value. The plant output power at this point reflects the partial load rejection that must be handled by the overall plant control. The amount of load rejected is proportional to the product of the frequency change and the frequency regulation constant for the unit.
1983 IEEE



Ultimately, frequency must be reduced in order to reclose with the rest of the interconnection. However, this is a secondary problem compared with the Once need to stabilize each affected power plant. this is accomplished, the frequency can be returned to interconnection in a controlled, that of the deliberate manner.
In summary, to withstand partial load rejections, the overall plant control must: temporarily and decrease, promptly 1. undershoot, the input power (fuel flow) to correspond with the reduced power output. utilize an actual power output signal to 2. determine the input power reduction. To perform these functions may mean: temporarily ignoring the frequency regulation 1. power change signals. remain to (speed) frequency allowing 2. temporarily high.

As mentioned in the previous section, the input power (fuel flow) must be temporarily reduced below that corresponding to the reduced output power because In addition, of lags in reducing the fuel flow. boiler energy storage must be reduced between the original and the reduced power output level. For a typical drum type boiler at rated conditions, "'70% of the energy storage is in the metal and "\30% is in the fluid, mostly in the boiling section, or evaporator. For a once through boiler, these numbers are "'80% to 85% and '20% to 15%, respectively. As load is reduced over the normal load range, the stored energy will be reduced by 1'5% for a constant pressure/constant temperature boiler, and by "'10% for a sliding pressure/constant temperature boiler with a minimum pressure 40% of rated. Most of this energy change occurs in the evaporator (metal and fluid) as the saturation temperature and pressure decrease with load. This also emphasizes the need for adequate water level control in a drum type boiler and adequate feedwater control in a once through boiler.


Boiler Control

The major burden of withstanding a partial load rejection falls on the boiler and its control. Without a turbine bypass system, a partial load rejection appears to a boiler as essentially a step decrease in steam flow. Prompt reduction of the fuel flow is essential for success.
For a once through boiler, prompt reduction of the feedwater flow, which is tightly coupled to the fuel flow, is also required. However, all once through superheater/turbine bypass limited have boilers systems to protect the furnace tubes and to assist in pressure control. These bypass systems can be used to ease the rate of reduction in fuel and feedwater flow.

For a drum type boiler, immediate reduction of the feedwater flow is not desired, since the immediate reaction of the drum water level is to decrease with steam flow and the resulting rise in drum pressure. (A transient increase in water level may occur if the load reduction is large and the boiler relief valves In addition, in a drum type open temporarily.) boiler, the water inventory will typically be larger at a lower steam flow, and overfeeding is required to obtain the proper drum water level at the lower power level.
For a drum type boiler, adequate water level control is especially important for large changes in steam flow. To enhance the ability of the water level control during a partial load rejection, consideration should be given either to temporarily increasing the range between high and low water level trip limits, or temporarily delaying the trip if the feedwater flow is larger than the steam flow.

For a significant reduction in load during a the for valves the rejection, load partial Intermediate Pressure (IP) section of the turbine will typically close very rapidly to limit overspeed, and then reopen. While these IP valves are closed, there is no exit steam flowpath from the reheater, until the reheater safety valve pressure setpoint is reached. The control valves for the High Pressure (HP) turbine section may also close temporarily during a partial load rejection. With both the HP control valves and IP valves closed, there is no steam flow through the To avoid reheater without turbine steam bypasses. overheating the reheater tubes, boiler firing must be tripped off if the no steam flow condition persists in However, since the closure of the the reheater. turbine valves is temporary, tripping the boiler firing can be, and has been, avoided by properly coordinating the boiler protection and fuel control with the turbine controls.

With many plant designs, closure of the IP turbine valves will interrupt steam flow to the auxiliary turbine driving the feedpump. To maintain adequate control of feedwater flow, automatic switching to a motor driven feedpump or to an alternate steam source for the turbine driven feedpump may be necessary. An pressure a be source might steam alternate reducing/desuperheating station fed from the hot reheat line, which would help maintain steam flow through the reheater. Another alternate steam source might be a pressure reducing/desuperheating station Such switching is fed from the main steam line. unnecessary if the feedpump turbine is driven with steam from the high pressure header.

For any boiler, achieving a large but prompt and controlled reduction in fuel flow is not an Because of the fuel flow insignificant problem. problem is the involved, inertias and delays progressively more severe for gas, oil, and coal fuel For coal fired boilers sequential rapid types. shutdown of coal pulverizers may be required to achieve a prompt reduction in fuel input. A delay in the reduction in air flow is generally desirable since the cooling effect of the excess air flow will tend to compensate for the inherent lags in the fuel flow However, the air flow to the operating response. burners must be controlled relative to the fuel flow to maintain stable combustion.

Superheater and reheater exit steam temperatures are controlled to be constant over the normal load Because these heaters normally operate at range. constant exit temperature and because of the large metal energy storage in the tubes of these heaters, control of the exit steam temperatures during partial load rejections is manageable with normal controls.

In summary, to survive partial load rejections, the boiler control must: 1. promptly reduce the fuel flow, as noted in the previous section, and delay reducing the air flow to help reduce excess energy input to the boiler. 2. reduce feedwater flow to match fuel flow on a once through boiler; delay feedwater flow reduction to control water level on a drum type boiler. coordinate boiler protection with turbine 3. control to avoid unnecessary trips when the IP and HP turbine valves temporarily close. The effect of partial load rejections on other auxiliaries (e.g. - steam driven feed pumps; coal pulverizers) has been discussed in the previous sections.


Steam Turbine Bypasses

To perform these functions may mean: coal of shutdown rapid 1. sequential pulverizers. 2. temporarily increasing the range between drum water level high and low trip limits or temporarily delaying the trip if feedwater flow is larger than steam flow. providing an alternate steam source for steam 3. turbine driven feedpumps, or switching to motor driven feedpumps

As previously mentioned, the main problem in withstanding a partial load reject.on is to properly reduce plant input power to correspond to the level of the suddenly reduced output power. The use of a steam turbine bypass system permits the boiler power to be reduced in a well controlled manner if the bypass controls are correctly coordinated with the turbine controls, and if the capacity of the bypass is significant and approaches the amount of boiler steam load rejected. Since feedwater spray is usually used to reduce the energy content of the bypassed steam, the feedwater system must have sufficient additional capacity for this purpose. Also, additional condenser heat removal capability may be required for large load reductions. Nuclear steam power plants normally include a steam turbine bypass system; however, in the United States only fossil fuel steam power plants with once turbine (and have boilers normally through superheater) bypass systems, and these are primarily installed for startup/shutdown duty. There appears to be only limited experience with turbine bypass systems A correctly in drum type boiler power plants. designed steam turbine bypass system should enhance substantially the capability of a steam power plant to withstand partial load rejections.


Turbine-Generator Control

a for in the last section, As mentioned significant reduction in load during a partial load rejection, the temporary closure of the IP valves and, possibly, the HP control valves to limit overspeed must be coordinated with the protection of the reheater to avoid unnecessary tripping of the boiler fire. If fast closure of the HP control valves can be avoided, for the less severe partial load rejections the initial transient on the boiler is less acute. The turbine overspeed control should meet the Reference (11) requirement of being able to take a full load rejection without tripping out. This will prevent overspeed trips during a partial load rejection, since the overspeed during a partial load rejection will be less than the overspeed during a full load rejection. As previously mentioned, if the affected plant is one of several in an island, the initial rate of frequency increase will be an inertia weighted average for the entire island. Each affected generator will swing about this increasing frequency, producing local speed deviations and possibly causing additional This should be turbine overspeed control action. considered in the evaluation of the turbine overspeed control action to avoid plant trips.* D.

1. P. Kundur, "A Survey of Utility Experiences with Partial Load During Response Plant Power Rejection an System Disturbances," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-100, No. 5, May, 1981, pp. 2471-2475. T.D. Younkins and L.H. Johnson, "Steam Turbine Overspeed Control and Behavior During System Disturbances," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-100, No. 5, May, 1981, pp. 2504-2511.



M.S. Baldwin and D.P. McFadden, "Power Systems Performance as Affected by Turbine-Generator Controls Response During Frequency Disturbances," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-100, No. 5, May 1981, pp.



Power Plant Auxiliaries

G.P. Schatzmann, "Turbine Overspeed Behavior," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-100, No. 7, July, 1981, pp.


During a partial load rejection, the station bus of each affected power plant will incur voltage variations in addition to the frequency variations previously mentioned. The effect of such voltage and frequency variations on power plant auxiliaries should be checked to ensure that vital auxiliaries will not trip out during a partial load rejection. Significant frequency variations can cause large variations in For example, the inertia of plant power demand. boiler fans is usually large. If the fans are driven by induction motors, rapid frequency changes will cause changes in slip will occur, producing large changes in motor power demand.
*A related example is described


H. Termuehlen and G. Gartner, "Sustained Fast Turbine Generator Load Response in Fossil-Fueled Power Plants," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-100, No. 5, May, 1981, pp. 2495-2503.


O.W. Durrant, "Boiler Response to Partial Load Rejections Resulting from System Upsets," IEEE Paper 81-JPGC-922-4, presented at 1981 Joint Power Generation Conference, St. Louis, MO, October 4-8, 1981.
W.P. Gorzegno and P.V. Guido, "Load Rejection Capability for Large Steam Generators," IEEE Paper 81-JPGC-921-6, presented at 1981 Joint St. Louis, MO, Power Generation Conference, October 4-8, 1981.


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A.H. Rawdon and F.A. Palacios, "Effects of Partial Load Rejection on Fossil Utility Steam Generators," IEEE Paper 81-JPGC-907-5, presented at 1981 Joint Power Generation Conference, St. Louis, MO, October 4-8, 1981.


F.H. Fenton, Jr., "Survey of Cyclic Load Capabilities of Fossil-Steam Generating Units," IEEE Paper F 79 823-6, presented at 1979 Joint Power Generation Conference, Charlotte, NC, October 7-11, 1979.
F. Laeubli and F.H. Fenton, Jr., Discussion of IEEE Paper 81 WM156-9, "Efficiencies of Thermal Plants During Transient Duty," by K.Q. Chang and F.P. deMello, presented at 1981 Winter PES Meeting, Atlanta, GA, February 1-6, 1981. IEEE Standard 122, "Recommended Specification for Speed-Governing of Steam Turbines Intended to Drive Electrical Generators Rated 500 kW and Larger," December, 1959.




R.D. Dunlop and M.I. Olken, "Discriminating Acceleration Limiting Devices for Turbine Generators," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-99, No. 4, July/August, 1980, pp. 1686-1690.
O.W. Durrant and A.J. Zadiraka, "Control of Pulverized Coal-Fired Utility Drum Boilers During Load Changes," Proceedings of the American Power Conference, Vol. 43, 1981, pp. 274-286.
R.H. Hillery and E.D. Holdup, "Load Rejection Testing of Large Thermal-Electric Generating Units," IEEE Trans., Vol. PAS-87, No. 6, June 1968, pp. i440-1453.