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IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No.

1; February 2011 221


1070-9878/11/$25.00 2011 IEEE
Occurrence Probability of Lightning Failure Rates
at Substations in Consideration
of Lightning Stroke Current Waveforms
Shigemitsu Okabe, and Jun Takami
Tokyo Electric Power Company
4-1, Egasaki-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 230-8510, Japan
ABSTRACT
To estimate lightning stroke overvoltages exactly, the occurrence probability of lightning
stroke current waveforms must be accurately evaluated. This paper firstly formulated the
occurrence probability distribution of lightning stroke current waveforms, taking into
account the correlation between the current amplitude and the front duration. Next,
lightning overvoltages were calculated, with the current amplitude and the front duration
of lightning current as statistical parameters for Gas Insulated Switchgears (GISs) and
transformers in UHV substations. While overvoltages caused by back-flashovers at GISs
are affected by the front duration of lightning current, overvoltages at transformers are
relatively less dependent on the front duration. Finally the failure rate was evaluated by
considering not only the current amplitude but also the front duration. These values were
smaller than those evaluated from the frequency of occurrence of current amplitude
alone. Further, the proposed front duration of 1.7 s was examined.
Index Terms = Lightning stroke current, current waveform, front duration,
overvoltage, failure rate, substation equipment, lightning impulse withstand voltage.
1 INTRODUCTION
ACCORDING to the latest evaluation studies [1, 2] of
assumed lightning stroke current waveforms based on actual
measurements - aimed at rationalizing the lightning protection
design of transmission line and substation equipment - an
appropriate front duration for each voltage class is proposed, with
the correlation between the current amplitude and front duration of
lightning stroke currents taken into account [2]. In addition, the
possibility of reducing the lightning impulse withstand voltage
(hereinafter referred to as LIWV) for UHV substation equipment is
suggested, by changing front duration to be longer, at least on a
trial calculation basis [3]. On the other hand, a decrease in the
reliability (or an increase in the failure rate) of equipment becomes
concern when the LIWV is reduced, and the accurate evaluation of
reliability, or of lightning failure rates, is an increasingly important
subject for the rationalization of insulation.
In order to appropriately evaluate failure rates and rationalize
the lightning protection design of substation equipment, it is
necessary to clarify the probability distribution of the
occurrence of lightning stroke overvoltages. To do this, the
probability of the occurrence of lightning stroke current
waveforms must be accurately estimated. For example, results
of a detailed analysis of how lightning stroke overvoltages occur
at substations, with the front duration of the assumed lightning
stroke current and the capacitance of transformers as parameters,
show that the relationship between each parameter and generated
overvoltages are not necessarily uncomplicated. The parameters
have complicated effects on the overvoltages [3]. However,
evaluation of the failure rates of power stations and substations
has until now only been based on the frequency of occurrence of
the assumed lightning stroke current amplitude; the influence of
the front duration was not taken into account [4-9].
This paper formulates the probability distribution of the
occurrence of lightning stroke current waveforms with a
correlation between the current amplitude and the front duration
of measured data taken into account. This is essential for the
statistical evaluation of lightning stroke overvoltages. Lightning
stroke overvoltages are then calculated a vast number of times,
with the current amplitude and the front duration of lightning
stroke current waveforms as statistical parameters for Gas
Insulated Switchgears (GISs) and transformers of UHV
substations. The statistical distributions of generated
overvoltages are obtained and the lightning failure rates are
evaluated, on a trial calculation basis. The authors have
proposed the front duration 1.7 s of the assumed lightning
current for the UHV system in Japan [2], whose duration was
derived in consideration of a correlation of the front duration
and current amplitude as a substitute of 1.0 s of the
conventional value. The newly assumed lightning stroke current
with the front durations of 1.7 s is also evaluated from the
perspective of reliability. Manuscript received on 25 March 2010, in final form 18 June 2010.
222 S. Okabe, and J. Takami: Occurrence Probability of Lightning Failure Rates at Substations in Consideration of Lightning Stroke
2 OCCURRENCE PROBABILITY OF
LIGHTNING STROKE CURRENT
WAVEFORMS
The occurrence probability of lightning stroke current
waveforms is derived from observed lightning stroke current
to transmission tower data [1], with the correlation between
the current amplitude and the front duration taken into account.
Here, lightning stroke current waveforms are simulated using
ramp waveforms.
First, the probability of the occurrence p
i
(i) of the lightning
stroke current amplitude i is conventionally expressed
according to the following equation, assuming the logarithmic
normal distribution [10-12] etc.


=
2
2
1
2
)) log( ) (log(
exp
2
1
) (
i i
i
m i
i p
o o t
(1)
where i : the lightning stroke current amplitude [kA], m
1
: the
mean value of lightning stroke current amplitude [kA], and

i
: the standard deviation of log (i).
Then, [2] showed that the front duration (log value) in the
fixed current amplitude section was normally distributed
centered on the average regression curve - the relationship
between the current amplitude and the front duration.
Accordingly, the probability of the occurrence p
fi
(t
f
) of the
front duration of lightning stroke current t
f
[s] with the
lightning stroke current amplitude i [kA] is expressed by the
following equation.


=
2
2
2
2
)) log( ) ( (
exp
2
1
) (
f f
fi
m t z
t p
f
f
o o t
(2)
where t
f
: the front duration of lightning stroke current [s],
z(t
f
): the difference in log value between the front duration of
lightning stroke current and the regression curve of the
distribution of the front duration,
f
: the standard deviation
of log z(t
f
), and log (m
2
) : the mean value of the difference of
the front duration from the average regression curve (the
difference in log value). z(t
f
) is obtained from the following
equation.
)
`

= )
230
exp( 31 . 1 log log ) (
i
t t z f f
(3)
The probability density of the occurrence P(i,t
f
) of the
lightning stroke current waveform with the current amplitude i
and the front duration t
f
is derived from equations (1) to (3),
and the following equation is derived.
) ( ) ( ) , ( f fi f t p i p t i P i =


=
2
2
1
2
)) log( ) (log(
exp
2
1
i f i
m i
o o to

)
`

2
2
2
2
) log( )
230
exp( 31 . 1 log log
f
f
m
i
t
o
(4)
The cumulative frequency of current waveforms can be
obtained by integrating the probability density of the
occurrence P(i,t
f
) with respect to log (i) and log (t
f
).
With regard to equation (4), the constants obtained from the
observed lightning stroke waveforms to transmission towers
(the number of data N: 120 [1]) are summarized in Table 1.
Figure 1 shows the frequency distribution of the occurrence of
lightning stroke current waveforms obtained from equation (4)
Table 1. Constants related to the probability of the occurrence of lightning stroke
current waveforms [2].
Parameter Unit
Statistical
value
m
1
: mean value of the lightning stroke
current amplitude
kA 29.3
o
i
: standard deviation of log i
I log value, kA 0.28
Log(m
2
): mean value of the difference
of the front duration from the
average regression curve
log value, s - 0.0127
o
f
: standard deviation of the
difference in log value between the
front duration of lightning stroke
current and the regression curve of
the distribution of the front
duration
log value, s 0.135
N: number of data event 120
0
30
60
90
120
150
180
0
1
2
3
4
5
0
0.001
0.002
0.003
0.004
0.005
0.006
0.007
0.008
Normalized
probability [%]
Current
amplitude [kA]
Front duration [s]
0.007-0.008
0.006-0.007
0.005-0.006
0.004-0.005
0.003-0.004
0.002-0.003
0.001-0.002
0-0.001
0 30 60 90 120 150 180
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
3.5
4.0
4.5
5.0
Current amplitude [kA]
Front
duration [s

Front duration of lightning current; y=0.717e


x/230
200kA,1.7s
Average regression curve; y=1.31e
x/230
(b) Two-dimensional display (relationship between the current amplitude and
the regression curve of the average front duration )
(a) Three-dimensional display
Figure 1. Occurrence probability of lightning stroke current waveforms as a
function of the amplitude and the front duration.
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No. 1; February 2011 223
and Table 1 both in three-dimensional and two-dimensional
displays.
3 CALCULATION METHOD FOR FAILURE
RATE OF SUBSTATION
To predict the failure rate with a high degree of accuracy,
the probability of the occurrence of overvoltages as well as the
probability of insulation breakdown of equipment (insulators)
due to overvoltages is to be obtained, and then the failure rate
calculated by combining these two probabilities. However,
since it is difficult to evaluate the probability of insulation
breakdown of equipment at present, this study defines the
failure rate as the frequency of occurrence of overvoltages
exceeding the LIWV.
In the preceding examinations, assumptions with less validity
had to be made when calculating overvoltages, such as
assuming the current amplitude and either the front duration or
the front steepness to be independent of each other, or the front
duration constant for the lightning stroke waveform - the basic
conditions. In the previous section, the frequency distribution of
lightning stroke current waveforms was obtained based on
measured data. So the lightning stroke overvoltage is now
calculated using the distribution of the lightning stroke current
waveform parameters such as current amplitude and front
duration, expressed by equation (4). While the frequency
distribution of overvoltages should be calculated by the analysis
of overvoltages using not only lightning stroke current
waveforms but also the combination with transmission towers
struck by lightning, the ac phases of phase conductors at the
time of lightning strokes and so on, as other types of parameter,
an overvoltage analysis in present study was made with only
lightning stroke current waveforms used as parameters because
present study aims to be a basic study focusing on the effects of
lightning stroke current waveforms.
The present study is carried out for UHV transmission and
substation equipment, and as criteria for estimating the failure
rate of substations, overvoltages generated at GIS terminals
and at transformers are evaluated by comparing them with the
LIWV.
3.1 CALCULATION FLOWCHART FOR LIGHTNING
FAILURE RATE
The calculation flow for the lightning failure rate is shown
in Figure 2. First, the conditions are established and an
overvoltage analysis of a substation made using the ATP-
EMTP [13] with the amplitude and the front duration of
lightning stroke current as parameters. Next, the maximum
voltages generated are extracted from the overvoltage analysis
results in order to obtain the overvoltage distribution. The
frequency of occurrence of overvoltages here corresponds to
the probability of the occurrence of lightning stroke current
waveforms conditions for the generation of overvoltages.
The lightning failure rate is then calculated using the
frequency of occurrence of overvoltages exceeding the
assumed LIWV.
Scripts are created to control the subsequent series
of numerous operations and finally estimate the failure rate,
including inputting lightning stroke current waveforms to the
EMTP data and instructing the execution of the EMTP
calculation, extracting the maximum overvoltages and
calculating the frequency of occurrence, creating a database of
overvoltages and their frequency, and calculating the
frequency of occurrence of overvoltages exceeding the LIWV.
3.2 ANALYSIS CONDITIONS FOR LIGHTNING
OVERVOLTAGES
The overvoltage analysis model for UHV transmission line
and substation equipment is the same as that in [3]. The
analysis conditions are listed in Table 2. The location of
lightning strokes and back-flashovers were determined on the
assumption that lightning strokes hit the first transmission
tower nearest the substation and flashover occurred at the
arcing horn of the same tower. As shown in Figure 3,
Configuration I was used as the circuit configuration of a
substation in the GIS overvoltage analysis, where a circuit
breaker at the service line entrance opens and imposes a high
surge voltage on the GIS. Configuration II was used for the
transformer overvoltage analysis. This allows only a small
surge current diversion in the substation to impose a high
surge voltage on transformer terminal. Transformers were
simulated by capacitance, and a shell-type transformer with
5800 pF and a core-type with 16600 pF were used. With
regard to the flashover model, a non-linear inductance leader
development model was used, where the pre-discharge
phenomenon was simulated by non-linear inductance [14, 15].
Refer to [3] for details of the analysis model.
The lightning stroke current waveform was simulated by a
ramp waveform. Equation (4) obtained in the previous section
was used for the probability of occurrence of the current
amplitude and the front duration in Figure 1. For the analysis,
the range of the current amplitude was divided into
100 cases, from 3 kA to the max. 300 kA with 3 kA increment,
- Setting lightning stroke conditions
- Setting the analysis circuit
- Setting observation nodes
- Overvoltage analysis
- Maximum overvoltage output
Probability of lightning strokes
to transmission lines taken
into account
- Absolute evaluation
- Relative evaluation
EMTP analysis
Evaluation of the
failure rate
- Inputting the current
waveform
- Instructing the execution of
EMTP
- Extracting the maximum
overvoltages
-Calculating the frequency of
occurrence
-Creating Database of
overvoltages/frequency
- Calculating the frequency
of occurrence of
overvoltages exceeding
LIWV.
Script control
Setting conditions
Figure 2. Calculation procedures for substations failure rates based on
probability of occurrence of lightning stroke current waveforms and EMTP
overvoltage analyses.
224 S. Okabe, and J. Takami: Occurrence Probability of Lightning Failure Rates at Substations in Consideration of Lightning Stroke
and the range of the length of the front duration was divided
into 50 cases, from 0.1 s to the max. 5.0 s with 0.1 s
increment. Since the stroke duration has only a small effect on
lightning surge overvoltages, it was constant for 70 s. This
has been conventionally used in lightning protection design in
Japan [9]. 5000 cases of patterns for lightning stroke current
waveform analysis were prepared. The analysis used ATP-
EMTP [13].
3.3 EVALUATION CONDITIONS FOR LIGHTNING
FAILURE RATE
3.3.1 PROBABILITY OF LIGHTNING STROKES TO
TRANSMISSION LINES
The probability of lightning strokes to transmission lines
(N
t
) could be worked out in detail using electrogeometric
modeling with the help of computers. However, the following
simplified method is used in this study because it has been
adopted by the conventional design guidelines for back-
flashovers [9]. Regarding the relationship between the
transmission tower height h and the frequency of lightning
strokes, the frequency of lightning strokes is proportional to h
if the tower is assumed to be a stand alone-structure. If,
however, in the case of horizontally long structures such as
transmission lines, this is proportional to, as in studies based
on electrogeometric models. This relationship holds good as
long as the height is up to about 100 m.
The probability of lightning strokes to transmission lines
(N
t
) is based on the information above and the actual
occurrence of 43 lightning strokes per 100 km of transmission
line when the height of transmission towers was 25 m, with an
IKL of 30 to 35 (which more or less corresponds to the
calculation results using the electrogeometric model.)
35 30 25
43

IKL h
Nt =
[times / 100 km / year] (5)
Here, the transmission tower height h is 110 m, the average
height of UHV transmission towers. As for IKL (Mesh
covering 15 minutes of latitude and longitude: about 25
km27 km), the lightning stroke density (1 km1 km) where
UHV designed transmission lines pass through was obtained
using a lightning positioning and tracking system (LPATS)
and converted into IKL. In consequence, IKL = 40 was used.
3.3.2 RANGE OF ASSUMED LIGHTNING STROKE
LOCATIONS
With regard to the location of lightning strokes, as referred
to in Section 3.2, only the top of the first transmission tower is
considered as a lightning stroke location for the overvoltage
analysis since the present study is a basic one focusing mainly
on the effects of lightning stroke waveforms. Severe lightning
stroke overvoltages are generally generated when back-
flashover conditions occur close to the substation, and
therefore the spans including one of the first towers are
assumed as the range of the location of lightning strokes for a
rigorous evaluation, taking the attenuation of surge due to
corona and other factors into account. Also since the surge
current is shunted two ways and back-flashovers will be less
likely in the case of lightning strokes in the middle part of the
span, it is appropriate to assume a range within about a quarter
of the span length on both sides of the transmission tower.
Consequently, the range of the location of assumed lightning
strokes was set to a total length of 200 m on the both sides of
the first tower for transmission lines designed for UHV.
Table 2. Analysis conditions.
L
i
g
h
t
n
i
n
g

s
t
r
o
k
e


p
h
e
n
o
m
e
n
a

Location
Upper phase back-flashover due to a lightning
stroke to the first transmission tower
Lightning stroke
current
Ramp waveform, Current amplitude: 3 - 300 kA,
Front duration: 0.1 - 5.0 sStroke duration : 70 s
Lightning stroke
impedance
400 O
ac phase ac voltage superimposed
T
r
a
n
s
m
i
s
s
i
o
n

l
i
n
e

Flashover
Non-linear inductance model based on the leader
method
Transmission
line
8 phase Semlyen model
Transmission
tower
4-story transmission tower model (constant
determined by actual measurement), Grounding
resistance: 10 O
Gantry 2- story model, Grounding resistance: 4 O
Corona effect Not considered.
S
u
b
s
t
a
t
i
o
n
All GIS Double bus - 4 bus tie system - 4 circuits - 4 banks
C
i
r
c
u
i
t
Configurat
ion I
Open circuit breaker at the service line entrance
Configurat
ion II
1 circuit1/4 bus1 transformer
GIS
Single phase distributed constant circuit, Lossless
line, Surge impedance: 91 O
Circuit breaker
In closing: same as the GIS
In opening: t-type capacitance simulation
Transformer
Capacitance simulation
- Core-type 16600 pF
- Shell-type 5800 pF
Bushing Capacitance simulation: 300 pF
Surge arrester
Model taking fast transient current characteristics
into accountV
10kA
= 1550 kV
Figure 3. Circuit configuration of UHV substation subject to lightning surge
overvoltage analysis.
Service line
entrance
Circuit breaker
at the service line
Circuit configuration I :
Overvoltage at a GIS analyzed with the
circuit breaker at the service line entrance
opened
Circuit configuration II :
Overvoltage at a transformer analyzed with
one transformer in one circuit
(Solid line in the figure)
Transformer
Open
Close
(CB is 18m away SA)
(Tr. is 12m away SA)
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No. 1; February 2011 225
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.7s : 2137kV
200kA,1.0s : 2622kV
Figure 5. Distribution of overvoltages generated at the terminal of GISs
with changes in current amplitude and front duration of lightning stroke
current waveforms.
3.3.3 FREQUENCY OF OCCURRENCE OF
LIGHTNING STROKE CURRENT IN RANGE OF
ASSUMED LIGHTNING STROKE LOCATIONS
With the frequency of occurrence P
i
of lightning stroke
current waveforms I
L
(i
p
,t
f
), with current amplitudes and front
durations mentioned in the previous section as parameters,
given by equation (4), the frequency of occurrence of
lightning strokes in the range of assumed lightning stroke
location P(i, t
f
) can be obtained by the following equation (6).
In the equation, L is the range of assumed lightning stroke
locations, L = 200 m for UHV transmission lines.
100000
) , (
L
N P t i P
t i
f =
[times / route / year ] (6)
3.3.4 ESTIMATION OF THE LIGHTNING FAILURE
RATE
To evaluate the failure rate, the frequency per year of
occurrence of overvoltages generated in the substation
equipment (GISs and transformers) exceeding the set LIWV is
calculated. The frequency of occurrence of individual
overvoltages can be expressed by the frequency of occurrence P
in equation (6) of lightning stroke current within the range of
assumed lightning stroke locations - the condition for generating
overvoltages. The lightning failure rate can be calculated by
integrating the frequency of occurrence of overvoltages
exceeding the LIWV assumed in advance, taking the probability
of lightning strokes to transmission lines into account.
4 OVERVOLTAGE ANALYSIS RESULTS
4.1 DISTRIBUTION OF OVERVOLTAGES
GENERATED AT GISS
In the Circuit Configuration I, Figures 4 and 5 show
examples of overvoltage waveforms and the distribution of
overvoltages in three-dimensional and two-dimensional
displays, respectively, generated at the GIS terminals and with
changes in lightning stroke current waveform parameters. As
shown in Figure 4, in the case of GISs, the maximum value
appears at the spike waveform of wavefront, the peak value
varying with changes in the front durations of lightning stroke
current waveforms.
The part where overvoltages generated are negative values
in Figure 5 is the area where back-flashovers do not occur.
The boundary area with positive values indicates the boundary
between the presence and absence of back-flashovers. In the
figure, the critical points of back-flashover occurrence are
almost linear. These critical characteristics can be almost
linearly approximated with respect to the current amplitude
and the front duration, suggesting a condition in which the
front steepness is almost constant. However, when the current
amplitude is around 50 kA, back-flashovers do not occur
because of lack of time to generate back-flashovers resulting
from shorter front duration less than approx. 1 s. While
back-flashovers partly occur in the range 500 kV to 1000 kV,
late in the wave tail of the lightning current, there is little
lightning stroke current flow to phase conductors and the
voltage increase is small.
According to the distribution of generated voltages and the
contour lines of overvoltages, in the area where the front
duration is about 0.5 s or longer, the higher the current
amplitude, and the shorter the front duration, the higher the
voltage tends to be. While the area of occurrence of
overvoltages between 1500 kV and 2000 kV is wide, the area
between 1500 kV and 1600 kV was found to be the widest of
all after detailed checking. This was due to the suppression of
0 1 2 3 4 5
-1000
0
1000
2000
3000
Time [ ]
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
k
V
]
t
f
: 1.0 s
t
f
: 2.0 s
t
f
: 3.0 s
s
Figure 4. Examples of overvoltage waveforms generated at GISs with
changes in front duration of lightning stroke current with amplitude of
200kA. The time 0 is defined as the time of the lightning to a tower and ac
phase voltage is superimposed.
0
30
60
90
120
150
180
210
240
270
0
2
3
5
-1000
-500
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
Voltage [kV]
Current amplitude
[kA]
Front
duration
[s]
3500-4000
3000-3500
2500-3000
2000-2500
1500-2000
1000-1500
500-1000
0-500
-500-0
-1000--500
or below
(b) Two-dimensional display
(a) Three-dimensional display
226 S. Okabe, and J. Takami: Occurrence Probability of Lightning Failure Rates at Substations in Consideration of Lightning Stroke
generated overvoltages, by surge arresters, to the residual
voltage level of the surge arresters. Conversely, when the
front duration is shorter than about 0.5 s, overvoltages
decrease. This is because back-flashovers occur at the wave
tail, after lightning stroke current peaks, as a result of front
durations shorter than the time required for back-flashovers to
occur. It is also thought that the voltage increase due to pre-
discharge has an impact on decreasing the surge suppression
effect of surge arresters [3].
Under the analysis conditions established in the present
study, the highest overvoltage was 3760 kV, with a current
amplitude of 300 kA and a front duration of 0.1 s; a
combination of the highest current amplitude and the shortest
front duration.
4.2 DISTRIBUTION OF OVERVOLTAGES
GENERATED AT TRANSFORMERS
In the circuit configuration II, overvoltages generated at the
primary terminal of shell-type transformers and core-type
transformers were analyzed and calculated. Figures 6 and 7
show examples of lightning stroke overvoltage waveforms
and the distribution of overvoltages, respectively, generated at
the primary terminal of shell-type transformers. As shown in
Figure 6, the maximum value is generated during the
wavefront of overvoltages; however, there is no steep spike as
observed in the case of GISs and changes in overvoltages
with changes in the front duration of lightning stroke current
waveforms seem small.
The part where generated overvoltages are negative values in
Figure 7 is the area where back-flashover does not occur and the
boundary area to positive values indicates the boundary between
the presence and absence of back-flashovers. These critical
characteristics of back-flashover generation are almost identical
to those of GISs. The characteristics of generated overvoltages
are also the same as those at GISs in that the voltage area
corresponding to the residual voltage of surge arresters around
1550 kV is the widest.
The way back-flashovers occur is strongly affected by the
front duration in the case of both transformer and GIS.
However, the overvoltage distribution after back-flashovers
occur is different to that of GISs. While it would be natural
to conclude that the contour line of overvoltages after back-
flashovers occur shows a positive correlation between the
current amplitude and the front duration (a straight line
from the right bottom to the top left in the figure) - similar
to critical characteristics of flashover generation - the
contour line of overvoltages at transformers is closer to
being in parallel with the front duration axis than in the
case of GISs. Overvoltage waveforms are steep during the
wavefront due to the effect of the front duration of
lightning stroke current and the maximum voltage
appearing at the peak during the wavefront of waveforms.
However, if a large capacitance, such as a transformer, is
connected to the line, the impedance to steep surge voltage
is reduced and the influence of the front duration of
lightning stroke current decreases. The generated voltage at
transformers increases as if charging the entire substation, so
the overvoltage is regarded as being determined by the size of
the charge from a lightning surge.
Under the analysis conditions set out in this study, the
highest overvoltage at shell-type transformers was 2219 kV,
with a current amplitude of 300 kA, and a front duration of
0.3 s. Compared with voltages generated at GISs, changes
in voltage are smaller on the whole, and the maximum voltage
is about 59 % of the maximum voltage at GISs. Overvoltages
generated at core-type transformers are shown in Figure 8.
0 2 4 6 8 10
-1000
0
1000
2000
3000
Time [ ]
V
o
l
t
a
g
e

[
k
V
]
t
f
: 1.0 s
t
f
: 2.0 s
t
f
: 3.0 s
s
Figure 6. Examples of overvoltage waveforms generated at shell-type
transformers with changes in front duration of lightning stroke current with
amplitude of 200kA. The time 0 is defined as the time of the lightning to a
tower and ac phase voltage is superimposed.
0
30
60
90
120
150
180
210
240
270
0
1
2
3
4
-1000
-500
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
Voltage [kV]
Current amplitude
[kA]
Front duration
[s]
2000-2500
1500-2000
1000-1500
500-1000
0-500
-500-0
-1000--500
or below
(a) Three-dimensional display
(b) Two-dimensional display
Figure 7. Distribution of overvoltages generated at primary terminal of shell-
type transformers with changes in current amplitude and front duration of
lightning stroke current waveforms.
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.0s : 1741kV
200kA,1.7s : 1800kV
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No. 1; February 2011 227
Since the capacitance of transformers is larger, the influence
of the front duration becomes smaller than on shell-type
transformers. Accordingly, the maximum overvoltage is
comparatively lower and the overvoltage characteristics with
changes in current waveforms are flatter. The highest
overvoltage at core-type transformers was 2070 kV, with a
current amplitude of 300 kA, and a front duration of 0.6 s.
While the highest overvoltage at GISs appeared with the
shortest front duration of lightning stroke current, the highest
overvoltage at transformers of both types appeared in
conditions other than the shortest lightning stroke current
front duration.
As described above, the characteristics of overvoltages
shows that neither the increased current amplitude nor the
shorter front duration of lightning stroke current necessarily
lead to a simple increase in overvoltages. So as far as
lightning stroke current conditions in studies of lightning
failure rates are concerned, it will be necessary to carry out
statistical evaluations of front durations of lightning stroke
current, taking into account their correlation with current
amplitudes.



























5 EVALUATION OF LIGHTNING FAILURE
RATE OF SUBSTATION
5.1 FAILURE RATE OF GISS
Based on the overvoltages at GISs with back-flashovers
analyzed in the previous section, overvoltages exceeding the
LIWV are defined as insulation failures here. The frequency
of occurrence of overvoltages is obtained by calculating
equation (6). The failure rates of GISs are obtained by
calculating the frequency of occurrence of overvoltages
exceeding the specified LIWV and integrating them, which
are expressed in the per year per route (line). The results of
the calculation of the failure rate of GISs are shown in Table
3. Figure 9 shows the relationship between the failure rate of
GISs and the LIWV. In the UHV field-test equipment, the
test voltage for GISs is set to 2250 kV [16] and the failure
rate is very low at 8.4110
-6
[times/route /year]. (Hence the
frequency of failure (MTBF: Mean Time Between Failure) is
about once in 119000 years per route.) If the LIWV is reduced
to 2100 kV, 1950 kV, and 1800 kV, with the lightning
impulse withstand voltage level specified by IEC [4] as a
guide, the failure rate is increased to 2.5, 6.5 and 18.9 times,
respectively, from the baseline of the failure rate with the LIWV
at 2250 kV; however, the failure rate remains at 1.5910
-4

[times/route/year] even if the LIWV is reduced to 1800 kV.
While this is limited to the failure due to back-flashover, the
frequency of occurrence is about once in 6290 years per route.
Evaluating the failure rate conventionally, based only on the
frequency of occurrence of the assumed lightning stroke current
amplitude of 200 kA (the cumulative frequency of occurrence of
0.3 % of the current amplitude exceeding 200 kA), would mean
that failures occur once in about 700 to 1000 years [9]. The
failure rate mentioned above is considerably lower than this. In
the case of an LIWV set to 2250 kV, the evaluation based on the
frequency of occurrence of generated overvoltages resulting in
MTBF of 119000 [year, route/time] is significantly different
from the conventional evaluation based only on the frequency of
occurrence with the current amplitude resulting in MTBF of 700
to 1000 [year, route/time]. This is an significant difference from
the point of view of reliability to promote electrical insulation
rationalization.
A high assumed failure rate with the conventional method is
mainly due to not taking into consideration the frequency of
occurrence of the front duration of the assumed lightning
stroke current. In the present analysis, the overvoltage of 2622
kV is generated by the conventionally assumed lightning
stroke current waveforms with a current amplitude of 200 kA
and a front duration of 1.0 s. Figure 10 shows the
overvoltage distribution overlaid with the density distribution
of occurrence of lightning stroke current. The failure rate
conventionally used was evaluated using only the current
amplitude, regardless of the front duration. Consequently,
overvoltages generated under the condition of 200 kA or
higher are assumed to result in failure in all cases as shown by
the hatched area surrounded by a light red line in Figure 10a.
On the other hand, in the case of evaluation using overvoltages,
these overvoltages depend on the influence of the current
0
30
60
90
120
150
180
210
240
270
0
1
2
3
4
-1000
-500
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
Voltage [kV]
Current amplitude
[kA]
Front duration
[s]
2000-2500
1500-2000
1000-1500
500-1000
0-500
-500-0
-1000--500
or below


0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.

: 1616kV
200kA,1.0

: 1592kV
Figure 8. Distribution of overvoltages generated at primary terminal of core-
type transformers with changes in current amplitude and front duration of
lightning stroke current waveforms.
(b) Two-dimensional display
(a) Three-dimensional display

228 S. Okabe, and J. Takami: Occurrence Probability of Lightning Failure Rates at Substations in Consideration of Lightning Stroke
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.0s
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.0s
200kA,1.7s
amplitude and the front duration. Therefore, the evaluation of
overvoltages exceeding 2622 kV with a front duration of 1.0 s
using the conventional assumed lightning stroke current
waveform results in the hatched area surrounded by a light red
line in Figure 10b. The area surrounded by a light red line in
Figure 10b is determined by overvoltages with a front duration
of 1.0 s. The light red line here is the 2622 kV contour line.
This area is small and, further, is far from the area where the
probability of occurrence of lightning stroke current is high and
therefore the frequency of occurrence is low. The higher the
current amplitude, the longer the front duration becomes.
Therefore, in the area of large currents such as the one with a
current amplitude of 200 kA, there is a large gap between an
evaluation with one parameter shown in Figure 10a, and an
evaluation with two parameters shown in Figure 10b.
The evaluation of the failure rate with overvoltages is more
essential, and the front duration has a large impact on
overvoltages. Therefore, evaluations of failure rates with the
overvoltage level using two parameters, the current amplitude
and the front duration of lightning stroke current, are more
rigorous than evaluations of them using the conventional
method, where only the frequency of occurrence of the current
amplitude is used.
Meanwhile, in the present study, the evaluation is made
using the maximum value of generated overvoltages.
Waveforms are not evaluated by being converted into standard
waveforms [17]. Under the conditions in the present study, if
lightning overvoltages generated at GISs are converted into
standard lightning impulse waveforms, they will be lower.
Thus it is anticipated that the evaluation of waveforms will
lead to a lower failure rate.
5.2 FAILURE RATE OF TRANSFORMERS
For shell-type transformers, as with GISs, the calculation
of the lightning failure rate is shown in Table 4, and the
relationship between the failure rate and the LIWV is shown
by the solid line in Figure 11. The higher the LIWV, the lower
the failure rate, and in the present calculation if the LIWV is
set to 2250 kV, no overvoltages in excess occur, resulting in a
failure rate of zero. The failure rate at the test voltage of 1950
kV [16] for transformers in the UHV field-test equipment was
7.9410
-5
[times/route/year]. It was 3.9910
-4
[times/route/year] for the lowest LIWV of 1675 kV on a trial
calculation basis studied in [3]. Expressed by MTBF, the
frequencies of occurrence of lightning failure are about 12600
years and about 2500 years per route, respectively, in the case
of LIWV of 1950 kV and 1675 kV. In comparison with the
case of GISs in Figure 9, the failure rate of GISs is higher in
the range of 1800 kV or higher, and if a comparison is made
based on the test voltages of the UHV field-test equipment for
transformers (LIWV: 1950 kV) and GISs (LIWV: 2250 kV),
the failure rate of transformers is about 9 times that of GISs.
Qualitatively, as described in Section 4.2, transformers have
large capacitance and therefore smaller increases in
overvoltages caused by a shorter front duration compared with
GISs; the contour line is closer to being in parallel with the
front duration axis, as is clearly evident when Figures 7 and 8
Table 3. Calculation of the lightning failure rate of GISs.
LIWV
Failure rate
[times/route/year]
(MTBF [year])
Relative failure rate
compared with LIWV of
2250kV
1550 1.4810
-3
(676) 176
1675 5.1410
-4
(1950) 61.1
1800 1.5910
-4
(6290) 18.9
1950 5.4410
-5
(18400) 6.47
2100 2.1310
-5
(46900) 2.53
2250 8.4110
-6
(119000) 1.00
2400 3.1310
-6
(319000) 0.30
1600 1800 2000 2200 2400
0
0.5
1.0
1.5
[10
-3
]
Lightning impuls withstand voltage [kV]
F
a
i
l
u
r
e

r
a
t
e
[
c
i
r
c
u
i
t
s
/
r
o
u
t
e
/
y
e
a
r
]
Lightning impulse withstand voltage [kV]
Figure 9. Relationship between lightning impulse withstand voltage (LIWV)
for GIS and lightning failure rate.
(a) Distribution of overvoltages generated at 200 kA or higher
Figure 10. Distribution of overvoltages at GIS with respect to the current
amplitude and the front duration of lightning stroke current, and density
distribution of occurrence of lightning stroke current waveforms.
(b) Distribution of overvoltages exceeding 2622 kV
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No. 1; February 2011 229
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.0s
200kA,1.7s
0 30 60 90 120 150 180 210 240 270
0
1
2
3
4
Current amplitude [kA]
Front duration
[s]
200kA,1.0s
200kA,1.7s
are compared with Figure 5. As shown by a light red line in
Figure 12, the overvoltage distribution for 1741 kV
generated in the case of a current amplitude of 200 kA and a
front duration of 1.0 s has a contour line distribution more
like that with the single parameter - the current amplitude -
shown in Figure 10a than the contour line (light red line) of
overvoltages at GISs shown in Figure 10b. This results in a
higher failure rate, because the area is wider and includes
the range where the density of the probability of occurrence
is high. As for the core-type transformers described next,
while the counterpart of Figure 12 is Figure 13, since the
dependency on the front duration is even smaller, the
contour line is more closely parallel to the axis of the front
duration of the lightning stroke current supposed by Figure
8, and the evaluation result is close to the that based on the
conventional method using only the distribution of the
current amplitude. However, in the case of transformers,
overvoltages are suppressed to the residual voltage level of
surge arresters, even when lightning stroke currents are large
and the failure rate is almost zero if the LIWV is set to 2250
kV or higher.
The calculation of the failure rate of core-type
transformers is shown in Table 5, and the relationship
between the failure rate and the LIWV is shown by the
dotted line in Figure 11. Since overvoltages at core-type
transformers are lower than those at shell-type transformers,
the failure rate is about half.
6 RELIABILITY WITH ASSUMED
LIGHTNING STROKE CURRENT
WAVEFORM
The study has clarified that the front duration of lightning
stroke current has a significant impact on overvoltages and
that the effect of the front duration is not simple. It is therefore
more essential, and more appropriate, for the reliability to be
evaluated by generated overvoltages rather than by the
frequency of occurrence of lightning stroke current
waveforms This section, therefore, evaluates the reliability
ensured in the context of the assumed lightning stroke current
based on the generated overvoltage level. With regard to the
assumed lightning stroke current waveforms, a comparison is made
between a waveform with 200 kA and 1 / 70 s in the study of
Table 4. Calculation of the lightning failure rate of shell-type transformers.
LIWV
Failure rate
[times/route/year]
(MTBF [year])
Relative failure rate
compared with LIWV of
1950kV
1550 5.6410
-4
(1770) 7.11
1675 3.9910
-4
(2510) 5.02
1800 2.5010
-4
(4000) 3.15
1950 7.9410
-5
(12600) 1.00
2100 8.4310
-6
(119000) 0.11
2250 0.00 () 0.00
2400 0.00 () 0.00
1600 1800 2000 2200 2400
0
2.0
4.0
6.0
[10
-4
]
Lightning implus withstand voltage [kV]
F
a
i
l
u
r
e

r
a
t
e
[
c
i
r
c
u
i
t
s
/
r
o
u
t
e
/
y
e
a
r
]
Shell-type transformers
Core-type transformers
Lightning impulse withstand voltage [kV]
Figure 11. Relationship between lightning impulse withstand voltage
(LIWV) for transformer and lightning failure rate.
Figure 12. Distribution of overvoltages at shell-type transformer with respect
to the current amplitude and the front duration of lightning stroke current and
density distribution of occurrence of lightning stroke current waveforms.
Figure 13. Distribution of overvoltages at core-type transformer with respect
to the current amplitude and the front duration of lightning stroke current and
density distribution of occurrence of lightning stroke current waveforms.
Table 5. Calculation of the lightning failure rate of Core-type transformers.
LIWV
Failure rate
[times/route/year]
(MTBF [year])
Relative failure rate
compared with LIWV of
1950kV
1550 3.5710
-4
(2800) 7.30
1675 1.9110
-4
(5240) 3.91
1800 1.1410
-4
(8770) 2.32
1950 4.8910
-5
(20400) 1.00
2100 0.00 () 0.00
2250 0.00 () 0.00
2400 0.00 () 0.00
230 S. Okabe, and J. Takami: Occurrence Probability of Lightning Failure Rates at Substations in Consideration of Lightning Stroke
the test voltage for the UHV field-test equipment (hereinafter
referred to as the conventional waveform), and a waveform with
200 kA and 1.7 / 70 s, as proposed in [2] (hereinafter referred
to as the proposed waveform). It should be noted that the study
of reliability in this study was done under specific analysis
conditions. In addition, for the actual test voltages, LIWV, it is
necessary to consider not only the back-flashover analysis
results but also the impact of direct lightning strokes on phase
conductors with shielding failures [18] and overvoltages in
other lightning surge time areas, such as disconnector surges.
With regard to GISs, according to Figure 10b the overvoltage
generated by the conventional waveform is 2622 kV and the
frequency of occurrence of overvoltages exceeding this is 2.2710
-
6
%. Therefore, when LIWV is set to 2622kV generated from the
conventional waveform, calculating the failure rate by integration
using equation (6), 5.4510
-7
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 1.8310
6
[year, route/time]) is obtained. This failure rate is shown by the area
surrounded by a light red line in Figure 10b. On the other hand, the
overvoltage generated by the proposed waveform is 2137 kV and
the frequency of occurrence of overvoltages exceeding this is
6.8010
-5
% with a lightning failure rate of 1.6410
-5
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 61000 [year, route/time]), which is
shown by the area surrounded by a blue line in Figure 10b. In
comparing the contour lines of both cases, in the case of the
proposed waveform as shown in Figure 10b, generated
overvoltages are lower than with the conventional waveform, and
the probability distribution of occurrence based on the proposed
waveform extends to the range where the probability of occurrence
is higher and the frequency of occurrence of overvoltages with the
proposed waveform is as high 30 times as that with the
conventional waveform. This means that the reliability from the
point of view of lightning protection design decreases. However,
the absolute value of the frequency of occurrence is extremely
small compared to the assumed failure rate of 1.010
-3
to 1.510
-3
[times/route/year] (MTBF: about 700 to 1000 [year, route/time]) -
an evaluation value with a cumulative frequency of 0.3 % which
exceeds the conventionally assumed value of 200 kA, based only
on the current amplitude distribution frequency. Therefore, the
lightning stroke waveform proposed in [2] maintains a high
reliability from the engineering point of view, namely, in the
evaluation the failure rate is basically zero.
Similarly, with regard to shell-type transformers, according to
Figure 7, the overvoltage generated by the conventional
waveform under the present analysis conditions, is 1741 kV, and
the frequency of occurrence of overvoltages exceeding this is
1.2910
-3
% and the failure rate is 3.1010
-4
[times/route/year]
(MTBF: 3230 [year, route/time]). The overvoltage generated by
the proposed waveform was 1800 kV and the frequency of
occurrence of overvoltages exceeding this was 1.0410
-3
% with
a lightning failure rate of 2.5010
-4
[times/route/year] (MTBF:
4000 [year, route/time]). These failure rates correspond to the
areas surrounded by a light red line and a blue line in Figure 12,
respectively. Unlike the case of GISs, the required reliability of
the proposed waveform is to some extent better than that of the
conventional waveform and the failure rate is reduced by about
20%. In either case, the reliability conventionally assumed with
only the current amplitude (assumed failure rate MTBF: about
700 to 1000 [year, route/time]) is adequately ensured. As for the
core-type transformers, while the overvoltage generated by the
proposed waveform is low at 1616 kV, the lightning failure rate
was 2.5010
-4
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 4000 [year,
route/time]), which is shown by the area surrounded by a blue
line in Figure 13, accidentally just the same as that of shell-type
transformers, because generated overvoltages were generally
lower. The overvoltage generated by the conventional waveform
is 1592kV and the failure rate, the area surrounded by a light red
line in Figure 13, is estimated as about same as that calculated by
the proposed waveform.
As for a UHV transmission system, making the front duration
of the assumed lightning stroke current 1.7 s instead of 1.0 s
is considered appropriate, based on the properties of lightning
current [2]. It was found from this study that lightning failures
continue to be basically zero, as seen in changes in the required
reliability with a revised front duration.
7 CONCLUSIONS
The frequency of occurrence of lightning stroke current
waveforms was formulated from the lightning stroke current
waveform parameter characteristics based on observed
lightning data, and an evaluation of the failure rate of UHV
substations was attempted in terms of the probability of
occurrence of lightning overvoltages exceeding the lightning
impulse withstand voltage (LIWV). The results of this study
are summarized below.
1) Based on the lightning stroke current waveform
parameter characteristics obtained from observed lightning
data, the probability (density) distribution of occurrence of
lightning stroke current waveforms with the correlation
between the current amplitude and the front duration taken
into account was formulated.
2) Using, as parameters, lightning stroke current
waveforms with the correlation between the current amplitude
and the front duration taken into account, overvoltage analysis
was conducted in 5000 cases each for GISs, shell-type
transformers and core-type transformers, respectively. With
regard to GISs, overvoltages generated during back-flashover
are suppressed by surge arresters. In general, however, the
higher the current amplitude and the shorter the front duration,
the higher the overvoltage generated. Conversely, when the
front duration was shorter than about 0.5 s, overvoltages
decreased. This is regarded as being caused by delayed back-
flashover and the decreased surge suppression by surge
arresters of the voltage increases caused by pre-discharge.
With transformers on the other hand, overvoltages during
back-flashover were less dependent on the front duration, and
generated overvoltages were lower than those at GISs, due to
the their large capacitance.
3) As a result of the trial calculation of the lightning failure
rate of GISs, in the case where a test voltage of 2250 kV for
the UHV field-test equipment is set as the LIWV, the failure
rate is 8.4110
-6
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 119000 [year,
route/time]) under the analysis conditions of the present study.
If the LIWV is reduced to 2100 kV, 1950 kV, and 1800 kV,
the failure rate is increased to 2.5, 6.5 and 18.9 times,
IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Vol. 18, No. 1; February 2011 231
respectively, from the baseline with the LIWV at 2250 kV;
however, the failure rate remains at 1.5910
-4
[times/route/year] (MTBF 6290 [year, route/time]) even if the
LIWV is reduced to 1800 kV.
4) As a result of the trial calculation of the lightning failure
rate of transformers under the conditions of the present study,
in the case of the calculation for shell-type transformers, if the
LIWV is set to 2250 kV, no overvoltages in excess occur,
resulting in a zero failure rate. The failure rate at the test
voltage of 1950 kV of the UHV field-test equipment was
7.9410
-5
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 12600 [year,
route/time]), and 3.9910
-4
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 2500
[year, route/time]) even when the LIWV was reduced to 1675
kV. Since overvoltages generated at core-type transformers
are lower than those at shell-type transformers, the failure rate
is about half that of shell-type transformers.
5) From the point of view of reliability, in the evaluation
of the assumed lightning stroke current waveforms used for
the lightning protection design, the assumed lightning stroke
current waveform with 200 kA and 1.7 / 70 s proposed in
[2] ensures a lightning failure rate reliability for GISs at
1.64 10
-5
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 61000 [year,
route/time]) or less, and a lightning failure rate reliability for
transformers - both shell-type and core-type - of 2.5010
-4
[times/route/year] (MTBF: 4000 [year, route/time]) or less.
The assumed lightning failure rate, based only on a current
amplitude of 200 kA, for setting the test voltage of UHV
field-test equipment, is 1.010
-3
to 1.510
-3
[times
/route/year] (MTBF: about 700 to 1000 [year, route/time]).
Comparing the failure rates, the assumed lightning stroke
waveform proposed has adequate required reliability with a
basically zero failure rate.
The probability distribution of occurrence of lightning
stroke current waveforms formulated in the present study
would be useful not only for the lightning protection design of
substation equipment and for countermeasures against
lightning damage to power transmission lines and structures,
but also for analyzing phenomena dependent on the current
amplitude and the front duration of lightning stroke current.
The authors would expect it to be widely used. While the
lightning failure rate was evaluated on a trial calculation basis
using statistical methods, overvoltage analysis could be
conducted in the future using a combination of all possible
parameters, such as transmission towers struck by lightning
and the ac phases on phase conductors, and applying the
method of calculating lightning stroke rate to transmission
lines [19]. Those should increase estimation accuracy of
overvoltages and reliability.
While the relationship between GISs and transformers and
the LIWV was referred to in the present study, for the actual
test voltages, LIWV, it is necessary to consider not only the
back-flashover analysis results but also the impact of direct
lightning strokes on phase conductors with shielding failures
[18] and overvoltages in other lightning surge time areas, such
as disconnector surges. In addition, it should be noted that the
study of reliability in this paper was done under specific
analysis conditions.
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Shigemitsu Okabe (M98) received the B.Eng., M.Eng. and
Dr. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of
Tokyo in 1981, 1983 and 1986, respectively. He has been with
Tokyo Electric Power Company since 1986, and presently is a
group manager of the High Voltage & Insulation Group at the
R & D center. He was a visiting scientist at the Technical
University of Munich in 1992. He has been a guest professor
at the Doshisha University since 2005, at the Nagoya
University since 2006, and a visiting lecturer at the Tokyo University. He works as a
secretary/member at several WG/MT in CIGRE and IEC. He is an Associate Editor of
the IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation.
Jun Takami (M06) received the B.Eng., M.Eng. and Dr.
degrees in electrical engineering from Doshisha
University, Kyoto in 1995, 1997 and 2010, respectively.
He joined Tokyo Electric Power Company in 1997 and at
present is a member of the High Voltage & Insulation
Group at R & D center in Tokyo Electric Power
Company. His main research interest is the insulation
design of power systems. He is a member of CIGRE.