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Ekstrom and P




Royal Institute of Technology, EKC-Electric Power Research Center, Sweden

The paper describes a new concept for
tapping off a small amount of power from a
high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line to a local network. The proposed
new concept for a series tapping implies
power conversion in two steps from the line
to a local ac network. This will make it
possible to the use a single phase transformer between the dc line potential and
ground. The converter bridge connected in
series in the dc transmission is of the current source line-commutated type, while the
other two converters are of the voltagesource forced-commutated type. The basic
functions of the converter are described and
illustrated by the results from simulations
with the EMTP program.
The HVDC technique has during the 1970th and
1980th been widely accepted as a valuable
complement and alternative to the AC technique for electrical power transmission.
However, the majority of the applications
have so far been two-terminal or point to
point transmissions. The need for and possibility to build multiterminal HVDC transmission have been discussed at least since the
early sixties. Studies have been made regarding the feasibilities of series connection o r parallel connection of the converter
stations on the dc-side. It seems to be a
fairly general consensus that a parallel
multiterminal HVDC scheme is to be preferred, when the power ratings of the different terminals are of the same order of
magnitude. Two such schemes have been build
or is being commissioned, the Sardinic
scheme with a third smaller terminal at CorNew England schemes
sica and the Quebec
with three terminals having almost the same
2200 MW.
power ratings, 2000

There also seem to be a need to tap-off a

small amount of power at some locations
along the route of the main line for some
long distance overhead line transmission
systems. However, the conventional technique
with line-commutated current-source converters in parallel on the dc-side, i.e. connected between the line voltage and ground,
does not seem to be very attractive for such
applications. The cost per megawatt will be
fairly high as the converter bridge has to
be designed for the full line-voltage. The
local ac-network is also usually very weak
for such cases requiring installations of
expensive synchronous compensator. It is
also mostly not accepted that a minor disturbance in the connected ac-network can
disturb the operation of the whole HVDC system, which is difficult to avoid as long as
line-commutated converters connected between
line and ground are used.

Connection of a small tapping stations in

series on the dc-side seems to offer certain
advantage compared with parallel connection,
both with regard to costs and performance.
The fast development of new semiconductor
devices having turn-off capabilities will
also make it interesting to use choppers or
forced-commutating converters. Studies of a
new concept for a series tapping station using two forced-commutated converters with an
intermediate dc-stage will be presented in
this paper. The general requirements on
tapping stations will first be treated and
it will be discussed how these could be f u l filled with parallel and series connected
stations of different types.
The tapping stations considered in this paper are assumed to have a fairly small power
rating of the order of 2-5% of the power
rating of the main HVDC line. It is thought
that the tapping stations shall feed small
communities located along the line for which
the alternative power supply is local generation, e.g. through diesel generators. The
requirements on costs, maintenance and Derfo&ance
have because'of that to be favburable as compared to what can be offered by
alternative power supplies. AS the local
power system -to be supplied with electrical
power can be an isolated system with no generation or connection to other power systems
the tapping station might be the only power
supply. This means that no synchronous machines must be connected and that the acfrequency and ac-voltage might be controlled
by the tapping station. However, cooperation
with local generation facilities, if available, must of course also be possible.
Short interruptions at the power supplies
can probably be tolerated in conjunction
with temporary earth faults on the main
overhead HVDC line. On the other hand,
faults in the local ac-network must not disturb the operation of the main HVDC line.
Further the control of the tapping station
should basically be performed locally and
not be dependent upon telecommunication
links to the main stations.
It is also to be preferred that the characteristics of the feed in to the local acnetwork through the tapping station are
similar to these offered by a synchronous
generator with regard to fault currents, as
the standard protection and earth fault location systems then can be used in the acnetwork
Finally it is to be preferred if the systems
can be arranged in such a way that the power
supplied to the local ac-network can be independent upon the power transmitted on the
main HVDC link.



As illustrated in figure 1 a tapping station

can be connected either in series or in parallel at the dc-side. In the first case the
tapping station will cause a voltage drop
AUd in the HVDC system determined by

Where P
is the power fed to the
tapping tsMa"t"r,n. In the parallel case we
wili get a reduction in cirrent AId determined by

The change in direct voltage of main HVDC

system as illustrated in equation 1 is a major drawback for the series alternative.
This voltage drop has also to be specially
large when the tapping station is operating
at a power level close to its maximum value
at an instant when the main line in operating with a reduced load. Certain restrictions with regard to power feed in at reduced current on the main transmission line
have because of that to be applied for the
series tapping alternative.
the main transmission system basically is
a constant voltage system the additional
voltage drop along the line caused by
tapping station connected in series has to
be limited, probably to about 10%. A too
large voltage drop will increase the cost
for the main converter stations, giving increased tap-changer ranges and need for operation at large delay angles in the rectifier or commutation margins in the inverter.
Because of that the series connection is
mainly considered to be an interesting alternative for cases with low rated powers of
the tapping stations. When this is not the
case parallel tapping should first be considered.


One major advantage with the series alternative compared with the parallel alternative
is that faults and disturbance in the operation of the converter equipment is supposed
to mainly result in a breakdown of the voltFor the parallel alternative on the
age AU
other Rand it always exists a certain risk
that the control of the current AI is lost
at fault or disturbance in the stat?on. This
gives that generally the series alternative
lead to less risk that a disturbance in the
operation of the tapping station will disturb the operation of the whole HVDC system.
In general it seems also that for low power
levels of the tapping station the series alternative will give certain advantage with
regard to the costs for the converter equipment. This is partly due to the fact that it
is easier to design a semiconductor for high
currents than for high voltages.

Beside the question if the tapping shall be
connected in series or in parallel on the
dc-side as treated above, it has also to be
decided, which type of converter that is to
be preferred for the conversion from power
in the dc-circuit to ac-power to be fed to

the local ac-network. In the past mainly the

same type of converters as used for the main
HVDC transmission have been considered, i.e.
line-commutated current-source converters.
However, during the last years a number of
papers have been published proposing the use
of forced-commutated converters both of the
current-source and voltage-source type. The
different types are further described
Ekstrom (1).It has also been proposed to use
choppers for the voltage transformation on
the dc-side.
The major advantage with the voltage-source
forced-commutated converter is that as seen
from the local ac-network the voltage-source
forced-commutated converter will have a behaviour fairly similar to that of a synchronous generator. It will then be possible to
control both the voltage and frequency of
the ac-network without assistance from any
rotating machine in the network. The converter is further not sensitive to small
disturbance in the ac-network in the same
way as a line-commutated converter, for
which a small disturbance might result in a
commutation failure.
The major disadvantages with the forcedcommutated converters is the costs, which
still are substantially higher than for a
line-commutated converters having the same
rated power. It is however to be expected
that the costs for forced-commutated converters will decrease as a result of the
fast development in the semiconductor technology.
thyristors with turn-off capabilities and
which are suitable for connection in series
in order to obtain sufficiently high power
ratings of the converter bridges is of great
importance for the reduction of the costs
for the converters.
new concept for a series connected tapping
station based
commutated converts has been studied at the
Royal institute of Technology in Stockholm.
The circuit configuration is further illustrated in fig. 2. The power is supplied to
the local AC-network with a voltage-source
forced-commutated converter here shown as a
simple 6-pulse converter. In a real installation it is foreseen that a higher pulsenumber has to be used to reduce the magnitude of the harmonics. A so called NPC (neutral point clamping) or three level converter might also be used.

By performing this power conversion from the

dc-line to the local ac-system in two steps
with an intermediate dc-stage the following
advantages can be obtained.
A single phase transformer can be used for
the conversion between high dc-potential
ground potential, which will save
costs for the transformer, which probably
is the most expensive item in the tapping
A current-source line-commutated single
phase bridge can be used on the high potential.


The frequency of the single phase commutation voltage can be freely selected taking into account generation of harmonics,
cost and losses of the transformer and
the two single-phase converter bridges.
The intermediate dc-stage will also make
it easy to connect a battery or some
other energy storage element, which might
be required for starting up and short
time power supplies during disturbances
in either the local ac-system or the main
HVDC system.

One disadvantage of that conversion is performed in two stages is that it gives

slightly increasing losses. This seems to be
of minor importance for this special application for which the alternative power supply is local generation.

The function of the tapping station will be

further described based on the fig 2. The
line potential is a
converter 1 on "DC
current-source line-commutated converter and
the converters
3 voltage-source
forced-commutated converters.
The voltages between the ac-terminals of the
converters 2 and 3 are directly proportional
to the voltage U across the capacitor connected between tlfe converters. The relationship between the voltage Vv3 and U can be
controlled by PWM (pulse wldth mo&lation)
but this is not considered in this paper.
The waveshape of the voltage Uv3 is further
illustrated in fig. 3, assuming completely
smoothed voltage Vc ,across the capacitor C.
The voltage level in the local ac-network
will thus be directly controlled by the control of the voltage U and the frequency by
the switching frequent; of the converter 3.

Inserting equation 3 in 6 gives


'4 = &(l2


Regarding the choice of a suitable value for

the commutation margin y at rated operation
it has to be considered that y must include
a sufficiently large control margin if it
requires to feed rated power to the local
ac-network also at a reduced current on the
The control s v s t m
A number
of different control strategies
might be possible for the above presented
circuit for a tapping station. Below the
control scheme used at performed simulation
study with the EMTP program will be presented. The control system is further illustrated in figure 5. The frequency of the receiving ac-network is controlled by the
firing of converter 3. AS no PWM is assumed
for the converter 3 the internal voltage U
is directly determined by the voltage of tg!
capacitor C.
The ac-voltage of the receiving ac-network
will be controlled by adjusting the reference value for the regulator controlling the
voltage of the capacitor C.
The difference between the current I
Id3.will be equal to the current in t%
capacitor. This gives

If we assume that both the ac-load and thus

and the " D C current Idl are constant
ti% time derivative of the capacitor voltage
is directly determined by an adjustment in
the commutation margin Ay. The equation 7
and 8 give

The commutation voltage for converter 1 will

also be directly determined by the voltage
U and the turn ratio Nl:N2 of the transfgrmer between the converters 1 and 2.
The voltage across the converter bridge 1
will have the wave shape as illustrated in
figure 4, which also shows the voltage on
the ac-side of converter 2, Uv2. The angle
of overlap and the commutation margin y are
also shown in figure 4. From this figure we
will also obtain the following relationship.

The control of the capacitor voltage by control of y at constant values of Idl and I
corresponds to the two upper control blocftla
in fig. 5. The value of yin steady state opcan be calculated
eration with Uc= U
from equation 7, whigegfves

Inserting the expression for u according to

equation 4 gives

For the angle of overlap we obtain


Where 012is the angular frequency for the

converters, 1 and 2 and L is the commutation reactance for convertelr 1.
Inserting equation 4 in 3 gives

As we here have neglected the losses we will

for steady state operation obtain

The four lower blocks in fig. 5 correspond

to the calculation of y according to equation 11. By having this direct control of y
from the measured direct current Idl in the
dc-system and the measured load current in
converter 3, Id3,,it is possible to avoid
that fast changes in the currents I
will give large transient changes og'the or Id3
capacitor voltage Uc.


EMTP simulations
The function of the tapping station built up
of a circuit according to figure 2 has been
studied by the use of a digital computer
program called EMTP.
The following initial value for currents and
voltages and data for the electrical circuit
have been used.
P= 50 [MW]

Sinale-uhase to earth fault. The result from

the simulation of a single phase to earth
fault is presented in figure 8. The fault
impedance is 48 [ Q ] . The fault does not disturb the operation of the converters. It
will generate a small second harmonic component in the voltage Uc. The second harmonics
component can also be seen in the variation
in the commutation margin y as the control
system via the control, according to equation 10, tries to avoid that fluctuation in
the current Id3 will affect the voltage Uc.

Idl= 2000 [A]

L1(l-phase)= 1.64 [m] (ek'



Voltage ratio (l-phase)

= N1 :N2= 1 . 6 2 : 1.0
c= 1000 [!.IF]
UCref= 25 [kVl
L3(3-phase)= 12.35 [mil (ek= 0.14)
Voltage ratio(3-phase)= N3:N4= 1.0:2.14
In the local ac network there is a 5th, 7th
and HP-filter installed to reduce the harmonics. Each filter is generating reactive
power of 0 . 1 . S (S= 57.7 MVA).
Zac network= 41.57 + j.24.0


Current steD in the dc-line current. The response to a step change with ? 2 0 % ( ? 2 0 0 A)
in the dc-line current has been studied.
Figure 6 shows the recordings from a step
increase of the current at the time instant
2 0 ms. The increased current will cause a
increase in commutation margin and in the
angle of overlap and a decreased direct
voltage component in Udl. For the mathematical equation there have been assumed that
the voltage Uc fs stiff without ripple, this
will gives a difference between the calculated value and the result from the EMTP
The voltage Uc will be rather unaffected except for a increase in the ripple content.
This will cause a slight decrease in the acvoltage and current due to a minor deficiency in the control. In a real station
there will be a 6th harmonic filter at the
intermediate dc-stage
A simulation with a step change of - 2 0 8 is
giving a similar result.

As presented in the paper tapping stations

connected in series in the dc-circuit with a
voltage-source converter feeding the local
ac-network will offer an interesting solution when the rated power of the tapping
station is only a few percent of the rated
power of the HVDC system. However, the cost
for such stations is still expected to be
fairly high and comparable to the costs for
local generation of power. The most expensive individual item is expected to be the
costs for the transformer for the conversion
of power from high potential to ground. A
solution with conversion in two steps is
presented, which will make it possible to
use only one single phase transformer.
EMTP simulations have shown that the proposed circuit can be expected to offer good
dynamic properties.
1. Ekstrom, A . , "Forced commutated converter
for HVDC applications", EECPS, Capri, May

The presented study is part of a research
project supported by Vattenfall (Swedish
State Power Board) and ABB Power Systems AB,
Sweden, which is gratefully acknowledged.

Steu load chancre in the local ac-network.

The network impedance is divided into three
different parts to make it possible to make
a load change of f 2 O %. The data for the impedances
Z1= 249.5

j.144.0 [R]

49.9 t j.28.8 [Q]

Z3= 166.4

j.96.0 [R]

The initial value of the impedance is obtained by parallel connection of Z and Z ,

Z //Z2= 41.6 + j.24.0 [a]. The loa& rise sf
t?!O % is obtained by connection of the three
impedance Z //Z / / Z - 33.3 t j.19.2 [Q] and
In figure 7 the
- 2 0 % is oktaised %y
case with a step change %f the impedance of
to 8 0 % of the initial value is shown. As
shown in figure 7d the step change in the
impedance gives a corresponding step change
in the ac-current as expected.


Series tapping


q, Generator


Figure 1 Series and parallel tapping


Station B

Station A

Figure 2 DC transmission line with a series tapping.

Figure 3 The waveshape of the voltage Uvg.



Figure 5 Control system for the tapping station.

Figure 4 The waveshape of the voltages Uv2

and Udl.


Figure 7 Step load increase

a. Voltage across series connected
converter Udl
b. Intermediate voltage U
c. Phase voltage in the &a1
d. Line current in the local
e. Instantaneous three-phase power


_ _ ,I_ - _ II_ _ _I,- _ _I/_ _ _I, _ _ I_, _ - ,_, _ _,,_ _ _,,_ _ _ _ _ _







l l . 0 0








Figure 6 Current step in the main dc-line

a. Dc-line current Idl
b. Voltage across series connected
converter Udl
c. Intermediate voltage Uc
d. Phase voltage in the local
e. Instantaneous three-phase power

a. *.--




I "