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Case Studies of Harmonic Problems, Analysis, and

Solutions on Transmission Systems


David MUELLER
Manager, Power System Studies
Electrotek Concepts Inc.
Knoxville, Tennessee USA
dmueller@electrotek.com

Abstract—Transmission systems around the world are 2) The operation of an HVDC system in China leading to
increasingly applying capacitor banks on their transmission transmission system capacitor bank failures. The study
systems, primarily to support transmission systems and avoid shows how the cause of the problem was analyzed and
voltage collapse issues leading to blackouts. Another trend is the how mitigation methods for the existing substation, and
utilization of underground cable to obtain right of way in
corridors sensitive to overhead lines. These trends both lead to
how that strategy might be modified for newer
harmonic resonance issues. This paper presents three separate installations.
case studies of different situations and concludes with some of the 3) High harmonic voltage distortion (Vthd>10%) on a
general principles that can be derived from an examination of transmission capacitor bank in North America under
diverse case studies.
system line outage conditions. The case includes analysis
Keywords—harmonics; modeling; C-filter; damping; harmonic of a large network model and mitigation methods.
source characteristics; underground cable; HVDC; tranmission;
capacitor banks II. UNDERGROUND TRANSMISSION CONNECTION TO A
WINDFARM
I. HARMONIC RESONANCE ON TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS
The study of harmonic resonance issues on transmission A. Case History Description
systems is unique and difficult for a variety of reasons. First, A windfarm under construction included 41 total turbines,
the transmission system involves a large model that presents each with a 2MW capacity. The site was located in a coastal
practical difficulties for computer simulations. Second, the area with excellent wind energy potential. The connection to
transmission system can be operated under a variety of the transmission system involved a new line of over 20km.
contingencies and generation dispatch that leads to different Planning permission to install an overhead line was stalled; so
short circuit levels and impedance characteristics. Third, to avoid a financial calamity the windfarm developer began
determining the damping affect of loads on the system is planning an underground transmission line.
important to the results. Finally, transmission system The transmission grid operator began studying the affects
capacitor banks are multi-staged which allows for different of the 20km underground transmission connector. Three-core
harmonic filter configurations, such as the C-filter. cable has much higher capacitance than overhead line, directly
as a result of much closer cable spacing. At transmission
This paper presents three separate case studies of different voltage levels this capacitance becomes very significant,
situations, all illustrating the unique aspects of transmission leading to concerns for harmonic resonance.
system harmonic studies as mentioned above. The case A preliminary study by the electric utility showed that the
studies include the following diverse selection: cable did introduce harmonic resonance, particularly under a
contingency of one-line out, when the resonance was near the
1) A European wind farm with an underground transmission 5th harmonic frequency. From this study the electric
system and its affect (under various system contingency transmission operator was reluctant to allow the
configurations) on expected harmonic distortion levels, interconnection of the windfarm via the underground cable.
including mitigation methods. Electrotek was hired to perform additional consulting and
analysis of the situation.
B. Harmonic Modeling Software to present pessimistic (under damped) responses. This is
The SuperHarm™ harmonics package, as developed by because the ideal mathematical models for components such
Electrotek Concepts, was utilized to perform all of the as lines, cables, transformers, and loads do not typically
harmonics analysis. The software utilizes an “admittance include enough consideration for frequency-dependant losses
matrix solver” approach in combination with constant current (such as skin effect). Generally this concern is handled by
sources for harmonic generation. These aforementioned comparing actual measurements with simulation results, and
techniques allow for a direct solution of harmonic response. introducing damping elements to the model in order to achieve
The software package has been sold for over 12 years, and has a closer comparison of the simulations with the measurements.
been extensively benchmarked with test cases for solution In this particular case there is a not another cable to compare
accuracy. Electrotek maintains a technical resource area, with the one being installed it is difficult to determine the
www.pqsoft.com, for users to share technical knowledge on appropriate amount of damping. Thusly, some conservative
power system simulations. Additionally, the company assumptions must be utilized, along with the consultant’s
conducts system studies and training on harmonic analysis. experience of other situations where some establish general
guidelines.
One example of a general guideline that was utilized was
the introduction of damping resistors across the Thevenin
Equivalents, to provide some damping to the model at higher
frequencies.

E. Harmonic Source Assumptions


Harmonic sources characteristics were developed from
measurements taken on the network during a harmonics
survey. These typical characteristics were applied at the grid
substations as given in Table 1 below. Some adjustment was
made on the less characteristic harmonics (3rd, 9th, 11th, 13th) to
bring the predicted background levels into line with
measurements that were obtained for key locations in the
model.
Table 1 – Harmonic source characteristics
Harmonic Magnitude
Number (% of Load)
3 0.5 Balanced
3.0 Unbalanced
5 3.2
Figure 1 – Network equivalent model 7 1.5
9 0.2
C. Network Model 11 0.4
A reduced network equivalent model of the entire 13 0.2
transmission grid system was developed as shown in Figure 1. F. Frequency Scan Results
The model included Thevenin equivalents at three different Frequency scans, or “driving point impedance” plots, are
supply points, based on short circuit models and studies from frequently used in harmonic analysis to gain physical insight
the PTI/PSSE software. into the response of the network. Figure 2 shows results from
The original study similarly used a reduced network for the various cases, including a line out-of-service contingency that
analysis. The revised network for this later study expanded results in resonance at the 5th harmonicWfrequency.
Third Crane Line VCRA.A(SCAN) exford Out VCRA.A(SCAN)
800
the original model, providing more detail to evaluate future
network improvements and contingencies. The expanded
600
model also allowed harmonic source equivalents to be
dispersed about the network, and provided the means to
Voltage (V)

evaluate the resonance concerns on nearby network locations 400

that might have been affected by the interconnection cable or


proposed harmonic solutions. 200

D. Damping Improvements 0
0 10 20 30 40 50
Digital computer simulations of power system phenomena Frequency(Hpu)

at harmonics and other frequencies above nominal (50Hz) tend Figure 2 – Frequency scans of various contingencies
G. Harmonic Simulation Results III. FIFTH HARMONIC FILTER FAILURES IN CHINA
Frequency scan results have limitations, particularly on
transmission systems where harmonic sources may be widely A. Case History Description
distributed and there are many possible sources of resonance. Repeated capacitor failures occurred at a tuned harmonic
A full harmonic solution case is necessary, where the filter at a transmission substation, connected to the 525kV
harmonic voltage distortion is evaluated at all network system. High levels of current were absorbed by the bank
locations. Table 2 gives some partial results of the harmonic (THD=169%, Irms=200%) at the time of one of the failures.
simulations shows that distortion exceeds standard levels The current had an unusually high content of 4th harmonic
when the new cable is installed and especially when one line is frequency (Figure 5).
out of service.
3000

( )
2000
Table 2 – Summary of harmonic simulation results 1000

_
0

Case %THD % H3 % H5 -1000

Existing 1.36 0.2 1.1 -2000


-3000
New Cable 2.39 0.3 1.7 40000

( )
Line 1 Out 3.08 0.2 2.5 20000

_
Line 2 Out 4.14 0.7 3.9 0

-20000
H. Solutions
-40000
The windfarm developer was interested in providing a 0 5 10 15 20 25
Time (ms)
harmonic filter that could mitigate the problems of the new
Figure 5 – Current and voltage waveform captured just
underground cable. The filter would allow the connection to
prior to the a failure of the bank
be maintained (and wind power sold to the system) under
contingency conditions. Figure 3 below depicts the various
The timing of the incidents clearly identified mono-pole
filter arrangements studied, including a C-Type filter. Figure
operation of a nearby HVDC terminal as the culprit of the
4 below gives the frequency scans comparing the various
failures. Figure 6 shows the trend of harmonic voltage THD at
solutions.
the affected substation during one of the events. DC bias,
similar to that of GIC (Geomagnetic Induced Currents)
phenomena, caused high transformer excitation currents rich
in harmonic spectrum [1].

3.5

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5

0.0
Mon 8 3:00 6:00 9:00 12:00 15:00 18:00 21:00 Tue 9
Figure 3 – Various filter topologies investigated Aug 2005 Time
El t t k/EPRI PQVi (R)
Wexford Out VCRA.A(SCAN) Figure 6 – Time trend of harmonic voltage distortion
500

400 B. System Description


The substation was connected to the 525/242kV system
Voltage (V)

300
with a 750MVA autotransformer with a 34.5kV tertiary. The
200
34.5kV busbar supplied reactive compensation consists of
three main units on the 34.5kV bus:
100 ƒ 40.08MVAr, 41.57kVAr, 16.5mH (144Hz)
ƒ 40.08MVAr, 38.11kVAr, 5.8mH (223Hz)
0 ƒ 40.08MVAr, 38.11kVAr, 5.8mH (223Hz)
0 2 4 6 8 10
Frequency(Hpu)
Figure 4 – Frequency scans of various solution alternatives These units were initially designed to provide reactive power
compensation while avoiding problems at characteristic (ie.
3rd, 5th, 7th) harmonic frequencies, and also to minimize D. Solution
transient switching concerns. They were properly sized with Simulations confirmed that the reconfiguration of the
higher voltage ratings to accommodate the voltage rise capacitor banks, either tuning all banks to 144Hz, or
through the reactors.
Huizhou Base 34_5A(SCAN1) reconfiguring as C-Type filters would resolve this problem.
50
For future banks it is probable that the 144Hz configuration is
best although this requires higher voltage rated capacitors. For
40
the existing bank it is easiest to reconfigure as a C-Type filter,
as the existing capacitor bank can be reconfigured.
30
Voltage (V)

IV. CAPACITOR BANK RESONANCE IN THE USA


20
A. Case History Description
Four identical 52.8MVAr capacitor banks are installed at a
10
transmission substation serving a large city on separate and
distinct buses that are numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4. During normal
0 operation of the two banks on buses 2 and 4, voltage total
0 2 4 6
Frequency (H pu)
8 10 12 harmonic distortion (THDv) was seen to range about 4-5%.
Figure 7 – Frequency scan at the 34.5kV bus While these levels are probably acceptable for short term
operation, they exceed the recommended limits of the IEEE-
C. Harmonic Simulation Results 519 Standard [2] for harmonics as shown in Table 4 below.
Harmonic simulations confirmed that the configuration of Table 4 – IEEE-519 harmonic voltage limits
the capacitor banks as harmonic filters results in a series Maximum Individual Maximum
resonant condition at the 4th harmonic frequency (Figure 7),
where the bank absorbs excessive 4th harmonic current. Bus Voltage Harmonic Component THD
During normal conditions there are very few sources of fourth 69kV and below 3.0 % 5.0 %
harmonic current. However, during the monopole operation of 115kV to 161kV 1.5 % 2.5 %
the HVDC terminal the DC bias results in high transformer Above 161kV 1.0 % 1.5 %
excitation current, rich in 4th harmonic content (Table 3).
No appreciable harmonic distortion issues were detected
Table 3 – Transformer full load current under DC bias from the operation of banks 1 and 3. A comparison in Table 5
H Magnitude of the available short circuit levels at the substation shows that
1 825.213 banks 1 and 3 have a higher fault current availability and so
2 212.198 they are less likely to cause harmonic resonance concerns.
3 141.465
4 94.3101 Table 5 – Available fault levels at the substation
5 35.3663 3 Phase 52.8MVAr
Figure 8 shows the simulation results for the waveforms of the
voltage and currents (144Hz and 223Hz tuned units). The Bus MVAsc H resonant
results show that even with just one transformer in DC bias 1 4762 9.5
(and the effect likely involved other units) the filter tuned near 2 3189 7.8
the fifth harmonic will absorb a high amount of fourth 3 4490 9.2
harmonic current. _ ( ) 4 3117 7.7
34.5kV Voltage (L-N) 144Hz Filter Current 223Hz Filter Current
40000 Later, when the banks 2 and 4 were operated during a line-
20000 out contingency harmonic voltage distortion levels (THDv) of
0 about 10% were experienced. At the same time the current
-20000
harmonic distortion in the capacitor bank exceeded 50%.
-40000
1000 These levels of harmonic distortion are clearly detrimental to
500
power quality, and should be avoided for all but the briefest
0
periods of time (minutes). Also the nearby distribution
-500
-1000
substation experienced some nuisance tripping of protective
1500
1000 devices.
500
0 The prudent step of reducing the size of Banks 2 and 4 was
-500
-1000 done by reducing one (of four) strings of parallel capacitor
-1500
arrangements, derating the size of the bank to 39.6MVAr. A
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Time (ms) harmonic study of the situation was undertaken.
Figure 8 – Simulation results for the 34.5kV bus
B. System Model The system supplies some very large industrial loads that
A fairly extensive transmission system network was used contribute a relatively high percentage of harmonic loads.
for the study. The figure below represents the part of the Ideally the largest industrial loads would be characterized for
network that was included in the study. In the end the model their harmonic content, but such detailed measurements were
included over 900 buses. As capacitor banks for reactive not available.
power compensation were distributed about the transmission Table 6 – Harmonic source characteristics
system, it was necessary to develop such a large model.
Impedance data for the model was imported from the short Harmonic Magnitude
circuit model of the network, and facilitated by spreadsheets Number (% of Load)
and batch files. Every three-winding transformer of the 3 0.5
system had to be checked against the original test reports, as 5 8.0
the impedance values did not always transfer properly through 7 3.0
the short circuit program. 9 0.3
11 1.5
13 1.0

Figure 10 depicts a list of simulation cases where various


capacitor banks were in/out of service. Both frequency scans
and simulation cases were run with the various configurations.
These results allowed insight into the effects of different units.
Some units would introduce objectionable resonance, other
units would tend to alleviate problems by shifting resonance
conditions.

36kV Capacitor Bks


Scan
Case

Lake Bk 1

Lake Bk2
10051

10053

10052

10054

10136

10137

10138

10139

10171

10172

10173

10174

10321

10324
West
0
1 IN
2 IN IN
3 IN IN IN
4 IN IN
5 IN IN IN
6 IN IN IN IN
7 IN IN IN IN
8 IN IN IN
9 IN IN IN IN
10 IN IN IN IN IN
11 IN
12 IN IN IN IN
13 IN IN IN IN
14 IN IN IN IN IN
15 IN IN IN IN IN IN
16 IN IN IN
17 IN IN IN
18 IN IN IN IN
19 IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN IN

Figure 10 – Case list of simulations

One factor critical to the analysis was considering


contingency conditions, when various lines would be out of
service. Lines going to substations with major capacitor banks
are very important, as the fault level is often greatly reduced.
This in turn affects resonant frequency, and is often a limiting
Figure 9 – Partial diagram of the system modeled factor in the design of the capacitor bank

C. Simulation Techniques D. Study Results


Loading information from various system buses was used Banks 1 and 3 have a strong enough supply that they are
to inject harmonic sources. Table 6 gives the harmonic source not expected to cause any harmonics problems. Even during
characteristics that were used as a percentage of the load. The one-line-out contingencies, the source is strong enough to
harmonic source characteristics were adjusted to obtain avoid problems at the 5th or 7th harmonic frequencies.
agreement with available harmonic measurements.
Various frequency scans given the report showed that V. CONCLUSION
Buses 1 and 3 are affected by the operation of certain other The study of harmonic resonance issues on transmission
capacitor banks, but not all of them. Many times these effects
systems is unique and difficult for a variety of reasons. First,
occurred at the 11th and 13th harmonic frequencies and were not
found to create operational issues. the transmission system involves a large model that presents
practical difficulties for computer simulations. Second, the
The distribution system had 36kV capacitor banks that were transmission system can be operated under a variety of
modeled in this study. In this particular case they were found contingencies and generation dispatch that leads to different
to have little effect on the results. However, in a subsequent short circuit levels. Determining the damping affect of loads
study of a different network area, distribution capacitor banks on the system is important to the results. Finally, transmission
were found to have an important mitigating effect. system capacitor banks are multi-staged which allows for
Some problems were encountered as some of the simulation different harmonic filter configurations, such as the C-filter.
results did not match well with the measurement results.
Particularly on bus 4, it was found that the fault levels reflected REFERENCES
contributions from large industrial motors and generators that [1] R.A. Walling, A.H. Khan; “Characteristics of transformer exciting-
were not always in service. The fault levels in the model were current during geomagnetic disturbances”, IEEE Transactions on Power
Delivery, Vol. 6, No. 4, October 1991.
deemed to be higher than those actually available during the
measurements. When some adjustments were made for these
[2] IEEE 519 “Recommended Practices and Requirements for Harmonic
realistic conditions, the results matched more closely. Control in Electric Power Systems” 1992.