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Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805

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A comparative study of PC based software packages for power engineering education and research
Emad S. Ibrahim 1
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computers, Faculty of Engineering, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80204, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia

Abstract This paper describes the main features of 13 of the most widely used PC based interactive software packages in the eld of power engineering that are used for industrial applications, education and research. A comparative study for these software packages is presented with respect to their major modules, modeling, capabilities, software and hardware requirements, and their use in teaching, design, analysis, operation and research on power systems. q 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Software packages; Power engineering education; Power system

1. Introduction In the 1950s and 1960s, it was common for college power systems laboratories to have a `network analyzer' a static system model comprising signal generators and RLC components [1]. In the 1970s this was commonly replaced with mainframe computer assignments which eliminated the tediousness of the old network analyzers, but introduced all the usual main frame computer problems, e.g. accessibility problems, input/output requirements, the problem of learning the operating system, high cost of CPU time, and long turn around time [2]. At present, the rapid progress in computer technology (hardware and software technology) has made the computing power of a mainframe to be shattered by the simple PC. Techniques are already being developed in order to take the advantage of this technology, which will transform power system analysis into a more exciting activity where the user spends more time working on power system aspects rather than learning about advanced programming skills or the knowledge of operating systems [2]. Over the years, various large-scale simulation software packages [129] have played an important role in providing users with a better understanding of power engineering and power system operation. The availability of the power system analysis and design software packages has extended classroom capabilities and enhanced student interest in power engineering courses. The software package has
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allowed them to work on more difcult and realistic problems and make it an innovative tool in the learning process as well as research purposes [3]. Also, the power industry is currently a large user of personnel computer for power engineering control and operation as an important medium. Coupled with the immutable fact that a realistic power system network presents a highly nonlinear set of equations which can only be solved by iterative techniques, the medium of computer-aided analysis is almost as necessary as a theoretical treatise of most topics of power system studies [2]. The main objectives, modeling, hardware and software requirements, and facility of use for more common and efcient multi-objectives packages that may be used in teaching, design, analysis, operation and research of power systems will be reviewed in the following sections. 2. Criteria and structure of interactive software package Interactive software packages must have some essential criteria to be effective education/research tools. These criteria are [2]: 1. The tool should allow for learning network modeling through per unit representation on one-line diagram. 2. The tool should be able to provide the behavior of sample networks under steady-state and transient conditions. 3. The tool should allow for control of the network for economy/security conditions.

E-mail address: emadsedeek@hotmail.com (E.S. Ibrahim). The author is in sabbatical leave from Helwan University, Cairo, Egypt.

0142-0615/02/$ - see front matter q 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0142-061 5(02)00007-8

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E.S. Ibrahim / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Fig. 1. Overall structure of power engineering interactive software package.

4. The tool should have similarities with energy management systems, that are being used at the control centers. Fig. 1 shows the overall structure of power engineering interactive software package. There are three essential parts in these packages, which are [4]: (a) Graphics interface. This is the manmachine interface. In the graphics environment, the user can draw the one-line diagram using the pop-up windows. The database will be automatically created from user interaction. One of the distinct advantages of the graphical user interface is the capability of modifying network schematics. Other advantage is the visualization and control of inputs and results in a graphical form on a computer screen. Some software packages do not have the graphics interface and instead use a main menu. The user has to shift the cursor to select a certain module for application. (b) Database. It is the location to store all data that are necessary to perform the analysis. The results of analysis are stored in the database too. (c) Coordinator. All the actions of the software package are directed by the coordinator instructions. 3. Comparison of software packages The following 13 software packages will be investigated:
Table 1 AC load ow modules Modules

EDSA [5]. POWERWORLD [6,7]. Cyme [8]. DIgSILENT (currently named Power Factory) [9]. EMTP [10]. ETAP [11]. PC Based Interactive Software for Power System Operation Education [12]. Power Generation, Operation, and Control Package [13]. Power System Analysis and Design [3,14]. CDEGS [15]. EASYPOWER [16]. Reliability Evaluation of Interconnected Power Systems [17]. COPERITE [2].

The number in front of each software name will be used to identify it throughout the paper. The thirteen software packages are the most widely used and still there are other packages, which contain fewer modules or can do the same applications. The author has prepared one of these types using BASICS as a programming language [18]. 3.1. AC load ow modules The AC load ow analysis contains several modules as shown in Table 1. Software package number (2) has the following features: 1. Has the highest number of modules. 2. It is the only package that has the power transaction module, which means buy or sell power. So, this software is a suitable one for teaching and research work in the area of AC load ow. 3.2. Optimal power ow modules The optimal power ow modules optimize the power system operations to reduce system real and reactive power losses, increase efciencies, reduce operating costs,

Identication number of the software package 1 2 X X X X X X X 4 7 4 2 1 3 X X X X 4 X X 5 X 6 X X X X X 5 1 1 1 2 2 7 X 8 X 9 X 10 11 X X 12 13 X X

Basic load ow Automatic voltage control Active and reactive power losses Line and transf. loading Power transactions Area generation control (AGC and ACE) Multi-area load ow Total number

X X X X

E.S. Ibrahim / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805 Table 2 Optimal power ow modules Modules Identication number of the software package 1 Voltage control Min. active losses Min. reactive losses Min. shunt Mvar devices Min. series compens. Min. control movement Min. control reschedules Max. voltage security indexes Min. swing bus power Switching optimization for min. active losses Load balancing to minimize active losses Total number X 2 X 3 X 4 X X 5 6 X X X X X X X X X 7 8 9 10 11 12

801

13 X

X X 1 1 3 2

and improve overall system performance, reliability, and security. The adjustable power system controls are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Generator MW and Mvar control. Transformer LTC control. Transformer phase-shifter control. Shunt compensation control. Series compensation control. Switching capacitor control.

dual motors, generators, and utility grid connectors to the system. 2. Positive, negative, and zero sequence bus voltage and branch current calculations. 3. Bus and branch stress and withstand analysis. As shown in Table 3, most of the software packages contain the short circuit analysis modules. 3.4. Harmonic analysis modules The harmonic analysis modules provide frequency scan analysis to pinpoint resonance frequencies in the system. They calculate the magnitude and angle of the system impedance at a bus for the frequency range specied by the user. The user can apply lters to shift dangerous resonances to less harmful frequencies. The harmonic analysis modules can be applied to utility type grids, industrial power systems and distribution feeders of any conguration. Table 4 shows the different harmonic analysis modules, where software packages number (1) and (6) has the highest number of modules and they are most suitable ones for industrial applications, teaching and research. 3.5. Dynamic simulation modules The dynamic simulation modules investigate the stability limits of a power system before, during and after system

Table 2 shows the different optimal ow modules. Software package number (6) has highest number of modules. Software package number (3) has two unique modules, the rst module is feeder reconguration for minimal loss operations (switching optimization) and the second module is the best switching in order to balance loading on the feeders. This makes software package number (6) suitable for teaching and research work in the area of optimal power ow. 3.3. Short circuit analysis modules The short circuit analysis modules analyze the effect of symmetrical and unsymmetrical faults on electrical power systems. The output of the modules contains, but is not limited to, the following features: 1. Short circuit currents as well as contributions of indiviTable 3 Short circuit analysis modules Modules

Identication number of the software package 1 2 X X 2 3 X X 2 4 X X 2 5 X X 2 6 X X 2 7 8 9 X X 2 10 X X 2 11 X X 2 12 13 X X 2

3-Phase short circuit Unsymmetrical fault analysis Total number

X X 2

802 Table 4 Harmonic analysis modules Modules

E.S. Ibrahim / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805

Identication number of the software package 1 2 3 X X X X 4 4 X X X 3 5 6 X X X X X X 6 7 8 9 10 11 X X X X X 5 12 13

Frequency scan analysis Total harmonic distortion (THD) Optimum lter size and location FFT Harmonic load ow analysis Telephone inuence factor (TIF) Total number

X X X X X X 6

changes or disturbances, as well as electromagnetic transients. These modules are capable of modeling the dynamic characteristics of a power system, implementing user dened events and actions, and solving the system network equations and machine differential equations interactively to calculate system and machine responses in the time domain. From these responses, users can determine the system transient behavior, make stability assessments, nd protective device settings, and apply the necessary remedy or enhancement to improve system stability. Some software packages represent the generator as constant voltage (E) behind subtransient reactance while others have a detailed generator representation using Park's transformation. Table 5 shows the dynamic simulation modules where: 1. Package number (6) is the only one which contains: The critical fault clearing time calculations. Generator start-up analysis is needed in nuclear generation plants and other special conditions
Table 5 Dynamic simulation modules Modules

when connections to main grid are lost and recovery of power supply to some critical loads are to be mandatory. 2. Package number (7) is the only one that has the small signal stability (steady state stability) analysis module. This module is concerned with the dynamic performance of a power system under small disturbance conditions. 3. Package number (4) is the only one which has the following features: As a supplement to the time domain simulation, oscillatory stability is preferably analyzed by means of modal and eigenvalue analysis. Based on the calculated eigenvalues and eigenvectors, the normalized participation matrix for the system oscillation is computed and the oscillation vectors for all modes are displayed graphically. The modal network reduction technique (MRT) features the reduction of interconnected areas by an arbitrary number of interconnection lines. The

Identication number of the software package 1 2 3 X X X X X X X X X X 2 1 2 X X 9 3 5 2 1 2 2 X 4 5 X 6 X X X X X 7 X X 8 9 X 10 11 X X 12 13 X X

Small signal stability analysis Transient stability Critical fault clearing time Load shedding Generator outage/load rejection Generator start up analysis Wind turbine dynamics Electromagnetic transients (SSR, ferroresonance, overvoltages,) Modal and eigenvalue analysis Control system design Modal network reduction technique (MRT) System identication Voltage stability Total number

X X

E.S. Ibrahim / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805 Table 6 Grounding, lightning and electromagnetic interference modules Modules Identication number of the software package 1 Grounding system design Cathodic protection studies Electromagnetic induction problems Frequency domain for buried conductor net Line and cable constants and induction analysis Shielding effects cal. Calculations of electromagnetic elds generated by ground network Time domain analysis for lightning and switching surges FFT analysis for lightning and switching surges Right of way calculations Total number X 2 3 X 4 5 6 X 7 8 9 10 X X X X X X X X X X X X 2 1 1 1 10 11 12

803

13

network equivalent constructed for stability application purposes is performed according to the Weber's network reduction technique. System identication module provides an easy and accurate method to perform model parameter identication on the basis of system tests and eld measurements. Simulation of wind turbine dynamics under measured wind conditions. 4. Package number (4) is the only package, which has highest number of modules. This nominates it for research work in the eld of dynamic simulation. 3.6. Grounding, lightning and electromagnetic interference modules Table 6 shows that software package number (10) can analyze problems involving grounding, electromagnetic elds, electromagnetic interference and various aspects of cathodic protection. It solves problems ranging from simple grounding grid designs to the behavior of complex networks above the ground and buried conductors energized by lightning or other transients. It provides the user with a powerful drawing tool and allows the user to exchange graphical data with AutoCAD. This package has the highest number of modules that nominates it for research work in its area. 3.7. Industrial applications modules These modules represent the practical applications in power engineering. Table 7 shows these modules. The software package number (1) has highest number of modules, that nominates it for industrial application.

3.8. DC system modules DC auxiliary power systems play a critical role in power engineering stations control and for providing backup power in emergency situations. Due to its inherent reliability, battery supplied DC power is the last chance of the electrical source for powering essential services in the event of AC power failure. Table 8 shows that package numbers (1), (4) and (6) are the only packages that have DC system modules and are equal. 3.9. Other modules Table 9 shows other modules, which are very important in power system operation and control. It is shown in the table that: 1. Software package number (8) is the only package that contains the module of state estimation. 2. Software package number (1) is the only one that has motor torque simulation module. 3. Software package number (4) has highest number of other modules. 3.10. Software and hardware requirements Software package number (7) requires microcomputer SUN 4-60 workstations, while software package number (13) requires VAX 8800 microcomputer. The rest of the packages require PC with varying minimum requirements, such as 486-PC, VGA, Windows-95, 1 MB-HD, and 1MB Memory. The maximum requirements are 350 MHz-PII, VGA, Windows NT, 128 MB-RAM, and 8 GB-HD. Table 10 shows the hardware requirements for each

804 Table 7 Industrial applications modules Modules

E.S. Ibrahim / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805

Identication number of the software package 1 2 3 X 4 5 6 X X X X X X X 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Cable ampacity calculation Bare wire sizing Transformer sizing Generator sizing Cable pulling Raceways and cable tray analysis Power factor correction Robotic and resistant welders calculations Overhead line electrical constants Transmission line sag and tension Total number Table 8 DC System modules Modules

X X X X X X X X X X 10

Identication number of the software package 1 2 3 4 X X X 3 5 6 X X X 3 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Load ow Short circuit Battery sizing Total number

X X X 3

2. Software package number (6) has highest number of modules as shown in Table 10. 3. Some software packages have unique features as shown in Table 10 and explained in the previous subsections. Software package number (6) has highest number of unique features. 4. In Table 10 and corresponding to user friendly, two grades Fair (F) and Good (G) are denoted for the attractiveness and capability of interactive user interface.

package where symbol `P' denotes for the personnel computer and `M' denotes for microcomputer (VAX, SUN,) 3.11. Comments 1. There is no package that may have all the features and exibility that one wants for education, research work and industrial applications.
Table 9 Other modules Modules

4. Conclusions 1. As a result of rapid advances in computer hardware and software, computer-based power system educational tools have grown from very simple implementations, providing the user with little more than a stream of numerical outputs, to very detailed representations of

Identication number of the software package 1 2 X 3 4 X X X X X X X 1 3 X X X X X 9 1 X 5 6 X 7 X X 8 X X X X X 9 10 11 12 13 X

Load forecasting Economic dispatch Unit commitment SCADA interfacing State estimation Hydraulic system analysis Protective device coordination Reliability analysis Motor torque simul. Motor starting Motor parameter estimation Total number

X X

X X X X X 7

X X X X 5

X X X

E.S. Ibrahim / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 24 (2002) 799805 Table 10 Software packages comparison Modules Identication number of the software package 1 Total no. of modules Software and hardware requirements Unique features User friendly 37 P 4 G 2 8 P 1 G 3 20 P G 4 31 P 4 G 5 8 P F 6 40 P 9 G 7 6 M 2 F 8 6 P F 9 5 P F 10 12 P 8 G 11 15 P G 12 1 P F

805

13 8 M G

the power system with an extensive graphical user interface. 2. Various large-scale software packages for teaching design, analysis, and operation of power systems are in wide use. It was shown that every software package has its own advantages and shortcomings. A software package available to one user may not have all the features and exibility that another user needs. However, there is no one package that may have all the features and exibility that one wants for education, research work and industrial applications. 3. The availability of the power system analysis and design software packages has extended classroom capabilities and enhanced student interest in power engineering courses. The software package has allowed the students to work on more difcult and realistic problems and make it an innovative tool in the learning process. 4. The software packages become very attractive and user friendly if the majority of steps required to run the program are handled by the graphical user interface. The engineering and pedagogical process is greatly enhanced when the simulation results are displayed graphically rather than as data les. The interaction between the user and the software is an important aspect for power engineering design, teaching, and research. At any stage, the user should be able to decide interactively, on the next step in the simulation process based on the results obtained thus far. References
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