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3.1 Fundamentals of Power Swing Phenomenon.

The power systems operate on the normal frequency during the steady state condition. Under
this condition all the generating units are operating in synchronism and there is complete balance
between the sending and receiving ends voltages. Also a balance of generated and consumed
active and reactive power. Modern power system is a very complicated network to analyse. The
task to do an analysis of a power system during the normal steady state condition is somewhat
easy but to analyse the system when it is subjected to any small or large disturbances is very
Power system faults, switching of transmission lines, disconnection of major generator and
sudden implementation or loss of a large amount of load results in a sudden change of an
electrical power. At the same time the mechanical power input to generators remains relatively
constant. These system disturbances upset the equilibrium, resulting acceleration and
deceleration of the rotor of synchronous machines takes place, which result in severe power flow
swings due to oscillations in machine rotor angles. The power system should be designed to
withstand such power swings and should regain its synchronism [40]. The configuration of the
network and the severity of the disturbance decide the nature of swing. After the disturbance if
the system may attain a new equilibrium stable state, it referred as a stable power swing. While
in case of severe disturbances causes large separation of generator rotor angles. Ultimately, it
results in a large fluctuation of voltages and currents, large swings of power flows and eventually
loss of synchronism between groups of generators or between neighbouring utility systems. Such
a state of the system is referred as unstable power swing. [41]
It is important that a generator or system area lost synchronism should be separated immediately
to avoid widespread outages and equipment damage. These power swings stable or unstable are
responsible for undesired operations of the relay at unwanted system locations, which further
increases the intensity of the system disturbance resulting possible cascade outages and large

power blackout [42].

3.2 Effect of power swings on system stability

Using a simple two machine model the effect of power swing on a power transfer capacity and
stability of a system can be understood. It does not require to simulate complete network.
Consider a model of a generator and a motor connected to a transmission line as shown in Fig.
3.1. To simplify the analysis, it assumed that all network elements are lossless. The generator

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

having a voltage VS and a load of a motor with the voltage Vr. As the mechanical load on the
motor is assumed to be zero no current flows over the line and the generator voltage is in phase
with the motor voltage.[43]

Fig. 3.1 Two machine model

As the mechanical load on the motor is increases a current starts to flow, which creates a voltage
drop over the line. A phase angle between the generator and the motor will increase as shown in
the Fig. 3.2. Under this condition, power is flowing from the generator to motor therefore
generator leads the motor by an angle . The relation between active power of the line and the
angle between two voltages can be expressed by following equation


The maximum power transfer between the generator and the motor is restricted by sum of source
impedances and line impedance. From eqn. 3.2 it is seen that the maximum power can be
transferred for an angle 900. This is explained in a power angle curve as shown in Fig. 3.3.

Fig. 3.2 Voltages representation of Fig. 3.3 Relation between voltage angles
The two machine model and load power transfer
When the power angle is between 0 to 90 the generator power, Ps is greater than a motor load
power Pr. During this period generator successfully supply the active power so it is known as a
stable working area. On other hand angle greater than 900 the generator power becomes smaller
than load power and the system becomes unstable because the generator fails to supply load
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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

power. Normally the power system grid runs on the voltage angle below 600 to make sure system
To study the effect of unstable power swing or fault considers a two machine model having
parallel line connected between them as shown in Fig.3.4.

Fig. 3.4 Two machine model with parallel line.

Considered a three phase bolted fault on line 2. Lines will tripped by circuit breaker from both
ends. Under this condition the impedance between two machines becomes infinite and all power
will supply to a fault. Under this condition the power angle between two machines will increase
as the generator will accelerate because the mechanical power driving the generator is smaller
than electrical power and motor will slow down because delivered electrical power is smaller
than the required mechanical power. After the clearance of fault power transmission will
continue.[44] At each step the maximum real power transmission could change due to changing
impedance between two machines. As shown in Fig. 3.5

At position 0: System is under the steady state (Perrault) condition. Under this condition, there is
a balance between the mechanical power into the generator and electrical power transmitted.

At position 1: The fault occurs and resultant impedance will increase, which will not allow the
system to supply required electrical power. So the mechanical power becomes larger than the
electrical power. The mechanical power will not change as fast as possible and is assumed as
constant during this consideration. This will accelerate the generator and the angle increases. On
other hand motor will decelerates because the mechanical load on the motor as we considerate as
constant becomes larger than the electrical power.

On position 2: The fault is cleared from one side. This will decrease the impedance and increase
the power transfer. Because the mechanical power is still larger than the electrical power going
the generator accelerates more
At position3: The fault is cleared from both sides. A required power will be transmitted as the
value of impedance becomes small. Angle increases and mechanical power become smaller than
electrical power. As the power difference decreases the increment in angle becomes slower. As
shown in Fig. 3.5 the accelerating power indicated by the green area under P load line.

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

Fig. 3.5 Power unbalanced during unstable power swing

At position 4: The faulted line 2 is reclosed successfully. The deceleration of generator is more
and angle increases. The increase of angle should stop before point 5 for stable operation of the
system. Red area in the figure indicates the deceleration area. For the stable operation of the
system the red area should be greater than or equal to the green area. If the system is not
equipped with proper damping oscillations of power around points and will take.
These oscillations known as Power Swing. If angle stops to increase before point 5 the system
restored at the new equilibrium point . This is known as Stable Power Swing. If power angle
continues to increase beyond point 5 the acceleration area becomes greater than the deceleration
area and the system lost its synchronism [45]. This loss of synchronism is termed as Unstable
Power Swing or Out-of-step condition.
3.2.1 Causes of Power Swings

 So the main reasons of power swings include:

- Various transient faults
- Sudden variation of loads
- Line switching’s
- Connection or disconnection of generators to the power system
- Loss of excitation
 From a machine viewpoint, power swing occurs when the mechanical torque produced by
the prime mover is greater than the electromagnetic torque used to produce the output
 If this condition persists for too long, the rotor would become unable to stay in
 Loss of Synchronism: The point where the generator’s real power output becomes zero
and in this situation, the generator will briefly accelerate into a motoring condition,
during which time it will absorb power from both the prime mover and the system.

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 Encroachment of load into the zone 3 characteristics is one of the major causes for the
mal operation of the distance relays which results into several cascaded tripping of power
transmission lines. Such mal-operations can be avoided by careful setting of zone 3
distance relay by calculating maximum loadability of a line connected to an each bus.

3.2.2 Consequences of Unstable Power Swing

 A generator supplying a high capacity network, the currents during the unstable power
swing can exceed up to fault levels.
 These high currents cause damage both through mechanical forces on the conductors and
 It also produces pulsations in shaft torque and it might lead to occurrence of a generator
shaft resonance.
 Failure of circuit breaker due to Transient Recovery Voltage (TRV) :
A significant value of TRV produced when a circuit breaker tries to operate during a
power swing. Circuit breaker fails in its operation in a particular extreme case when the
system voltages across the breaker contacts are 180 degrees out-of-phase during the
 Isolating Load and Generation:
If unstable power swing is not detected it may be possible that protective system may trip
network at a point which force the system into islanding at an undesired location where
the balance of load and generation is not maintained.
 Unwanted Cascading Tripping of Generating Units
Pole slopping or loss of synchronism may occur after the relay fails to trip a line during
an unstable power swing. A system separation at the desired point during the unstable
power swing may prevent unnecessary loss of generation.
 Equipment Damage
Critical equipment like generator-turbine set experiences huge thermal and mechanical
 Cascading Tripping of Lines
Indiscriminate breaker tripping may take place without an effective power swing
protection scheme. Some relays are more susceptible against recoverable power swing.
These unnecessary relay trips may increase the severity of the system, which result in
cascaded tripping of lines by causing other relay operations.

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

3.3 Impedance Measured by Distance Relays During Power

The phenomenon of power swing can be understood using simple two machine system, as it is
very easy to explain the impedances measured by distance relays during power swings.

Fig.3.6 A two machine system

Let’s assume that the sending end voltage leads the receiving end voltage by an angle
degree. Also assume the ratio of both voltages as K.

So the value of line current is


For the case K =1 (3.4)


During power swing condition the direction of current will remain the same during. The change
in voltage with respect to each other will take place. Using equations 3.3 and 3.5 for k = 1
condition the voltage and current at relay location S are


The impedance measured by relay placed at bus Si

Finally Eqn. 3.6 indicate the locus of the positive sequence impedance seen by relay with
changing value of rotor angle during power swing.
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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

3.3.1 Geometrical interpretation

The two vector components in above equation 3.6 are a constant in R – X plane. The first

component Is locus on a straight line, perpendicular to the second line segment

Thus, the trajectory of the impedance measured by relay during the power swing is

a straight line intersects the total impedance segment orthogonally at its centre point as shown in
Fig. 3.7. The point at which the two segments are intersecting orthogonally, the angle between
the two sources is 180 degrees is known as Electrical Centre. At the electrical centre both the
sources are out of step. It can be seen that the impedance trajectory during the power swing when
will enter into the protective zone of the relay so relay may mal operate for a
recoverable power swing.[46]
In another condition where the k ≠ 1, from Fig. 3.8 it is seen that the impedance trajectory will
correspond to circles. The centre and radius of a circle is a function of the value of k.

Fig. 3.7 Impedance locus for two machine Fig. 3.8 Impedance locus during power
system with K = 1 swing with K ≠ 1
Practically during power swing the instantaneous values of two voltage sources are changing
continuously. So the ratio of it is not remaining constant and makes the locus of impedance to
switch from one circle to another.

3.3.2 Voltage at Electrical Centre

The voltage profile across the transmission system at the point of occurrence of electrical centre
is shown in the figure below.

Fig. 3.9 Voltage distribution around electrical centre

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

At the electrical centre, the voltage is exactly zero. This means that relays at both ends of the line
perceive it as a bolted three phase fault and immediately trip the line. Thus, we can conclude
that existence of Electrical Centre means system instability which can introduce nuisance ripping
of distance relay [47].

3.4 Effects of Power Swing on Transmission Line Relays and

Relaying Scheme
Since an unstable power swing or loss of synchronism or an out-of-step condition is a balanced
three-phase phenomenon, so the prime concern is the effect of the power swing on different
transmission line relaying and there responds. An unstable power swing generated due to severe
disturbances will affect the transmission line relays in many ways. Relaying system such as
differential relay will not respond to an unstable power swing. On the other way the performance
of other relaying systems like distance relay, over current relay and directional relays is greatly
influenced by loss of synchronism or out-of-step and prone to mal operate and to trip their circuit
3.4.1 Effect on Differential Relays
A differential relaying system which is used for the protection of transformers, generators, buses
and lines will not be affected by a loss of synchronism swing. During a loss of synchronism
between two sources of Fig. 3.6 where a system at sending end swings ahead of system at
receiving end, a "through" current will flow from sending end to receiving end. The swing would
appear as an external fault condition to a current differential scheme. If a swing locus happens to
go through a bus, a transformer or a line which has piloted wire or phase comparison relaying
and if system separation is desired at the point, some other form of relaying either for backup or
supplement, will have to be provided to detect the swing.
3.4.2 Effect on Overcorrect Relays
An over current and directional over current relaying system basically used for phase fault
protection. The protection criterion of these systems is simple they will operate as the magnitude
of current during the disturbances exceed the pickup setting. So these protective systems will
operate if the currents during the "swing” exceed the pickup settings of these relays. This
behaviour reveals one of the major shortcomings of this type of relaying system is that they may
operate during stable swings from which the system may recover and remain stable.[45]

3.4.3 Effect of Distance Relaying Schemes

The distance relay normally measures positive sequence impedance during power swing and
fault condition. The distance relay element may operate if the locus of impedance seen by relay
enters its operating characteristic. The operation of the relay to trip its breakers depends on the
time taken by the swing locus to travel the relay characteristic and zone of protection.

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

Let’s consider a transmission line with double end- fed having a three stepped Z1, Z2 and Z3
protection zones. The mho relays are used and characteristics are plotted on R-X plane. As k = 1
trajectory of the swing impedance is perpendicular to line AB. For stable power swing the
maximum rotor angle allowed is max .When swing just enters the zone Z1, Z2 and Z3 the rotor
angles are z1, z2 and z3 respectively.

Zone 3
Zone 2

Zone 1


Fig. 3.10 Maximum rotor angle for stable power swing.
 For the value max < z3 the swing impedance locus will not enter the relay
 For the value z3 < max < z2 swing will enter in zone Z3. If it stays in zone -3 for larger
time interval than its time setting, then the relay will trip the line.
 For the value z1 < max < z2, swing will enter in both the zones Z2 and Z3. If it stays in
the zone-2, for a larger time interval than its time setting, then the relay will trip on Z2.
 For the value max > z1, swing will enter in the zones Z1, Z2 and Z3 and operate zone-
1protection without any intentional delay.
During power swing the performance of distance relays is also depends on the system and line
impedances magnitudes [45].
Case-I: The line impedance is smaller than the system impedances
Under this situation the zones of protection of distance relay may trip only on unstable power
swings from which the system will not recover. As shown in this Fig 3.11, the swing locus will
enter the outermost zone of distance relay characteristics only when the angular difference
between systems is greater than 120 degrees. In this case, tripping may be provided by any of the
three zones. For long transmission lines 200- 300 miles in length, the impedance locus is similar
to the k > 1 and k < 1 circles as shown in Fig. 3.12. In this case, it is assumed that k >1 and the
impedance locus will only pass through the third zone characteristic. The expression to
determining the time, the locus will take to traverse the relay characteristic [45].

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

Fig. 3.11 Swing locus when line impedance is smaller than system impedance
The distance travelled by the locus is obtained using and the slip S, is in degrees per second as
shown in eq. 3.7.


Fig. 3.12 Swing locus for K>1

Case-II: if the line impedance is large as compared to the system impedances

The distance relay may trip during unstable swings and also during stable power swings from
which the system can recover. This situation is illustrated in Fig. 3.13

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

Fig. 3.13 Swing locus when line impedance is larger than system impedance.

3.5 Effect of Load Encroachment and Its Calculation For

Distance Relay
Distance protection is widely used in modern power systems to protect transmission lines from
power system faults by using the method of step distance protection. In this method distance
relays find the apparent impedance based on voltage and current measurement. Finally, relay will
operate when the apparent impedance falls within operating zones for an appropriate amount of
time. One of the major problems of distance relay in practice is the mal-operation of zone 3
impedance relays with mho characteristics. This mal-operation is due to the increase of the load
level to the limit that the apparent impedance may enter a protective zone As a result, the
distance relay identifies the impedance encroachment as a fault and consequently trips the line
out of service .This impedance encroachment is a factor which causing major cascading failures
as seen on 30th and 31st August 2012 and several previous large scale blackouts.
For years, various methods have been used to avoid problems related to the impedance
encroachment. But irrespective of the method used, every relay will have a maximum
“loadability limit” which is responsible to operate relays under high load conditions [50]. So it is
very critical to calculate the maximum loadability limits of the relay so as to avoid unwanted
tripping due to load encroachments. Conventionally, this problem of load encroachment can be
avoided by choosing the Zone III settings carefully under normal operating conditions But,
during the regular setting process of Zone III settings the load encroachment prevention under
extreme conditions is not included. So it is very difficult to decide the setting of a distance relay
under different contingency conditions.In this chapter the basic problem of load encroachment
and its implications are discussed and try to find out best setting of zone 3 so that mal operation
of distance relay under different load conditions can be avoided. [51]

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

3.5.1 Basics of Load encroachment

In practice, we must understand the relationship between the load of the line and its impedance.
The magnitude and angle of load impedance depend upon the changing load conditions like
direction of power flow, and the power factor of the load. Consider the steady state positive
sequence model of a transmission line shown in Fig.3.14

Fig.3.14 Steady state model of transmission line.

From this Fig. 3.14 impedance seen by relay can be expressed as

= ( ) (3.18)

From the equation, we can say that

1) The apparent impedance seen by the relay is proportional to the square of the magnitude
of bus voltage. If the bus voltage drops say to 0.9 p.u from 1 p.u, then ZR reduces to 81%
of its value with nominal voltage.
2) The apparent impedance seen by the relay is inversely proportional to the apparent
power flowing on the line. If the apparent power doubles up, the impedance seen by relay
will reduce by 50%.
3) The position of the R and X coordinates in the R-X plane depends on the direction of
power and the power factor.
During peak load conditions, it is quite likely that the combined effect of (1) and (2) may reduce
the apparent impedance seen by the relay to sufficiently small value so as to fall in Z2 or Z3
characteristic. This is quite likely in case of a relay backing up a very long line. In such a case,
Z3 impedance setting can be quite large. If the impedance seen by relay due to large loads falls
within the zone, then it will pick up and trip the circuit after its time dial setting requirement are
met. Under such circumstances, the relay is said to trip on load encroachment.[52] Tripping on
load encroachment compromises security and it can even initiate cascade tripping which in turn
can lead to blackouts. Practically the power system is a reactive in nature. For most power

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

Real Power In Real Power Out Reactive
Reactive Power Out Q-II Power Out

-R ɵ +R

Real Power In Real Power Out Reactive

Reactive Power In Power In


Fig.3.15. R-X Diagram, Power Flow Direction and Power Factor

Systems, the power factor angles range from zero to +/- 40 degrees. This means that the R-X
values calculated from the P-Q values are bounded by the power factor angle (Θ). This is shown
in Fig.3.15.The load impedance is indicated by the shaded area, and it can be seen that the load
impedance can fall in any of the four quadrants.

3.5.2 Simulations
Let’s consider the system shown in Fig. 3.16. Normally the transmission line is protected by
three step distance protection using mho relay having zone 1 is 80%, zone 2 is 120% and zone 3
is 150% of the protected line impedance.
The proposed algorithm to find load relay maximum loadability to avoid load encroachment.
1. Calculate the load impedance for all three zones. Draw the zone 3 impedance vector in
the R-X diagram.
2. Draw the load impedance vector at a specified power factor.


138kV 138kV
300:5 Line 1 Line 2

Zone 1
Zone 2
Zone 3

Fig.3.16. Step Distance Protection

3. Draw a right triangle forming the 90° relay characteristic between the load impedance

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

vector and the difference vector that is made up of Z3 – Zload. This is shown in Fig.3.17.

Fig.3.17 maximum relay loadability limit.

4. Calculate the interior angle that is made between the load and line impedance vectors.
5. Calculate the load impedance that the relay will experience at different power factor using
right triangle properties:
6. Calculate the maximum loadability of the relay in MVA by:

7. Follow the same procedure and calculate the maximum loadability of the relay for different
power factor angles.
8. It is convenient to plot the MVA loadability limit values in the P-Q diagram to distinguish
Trip vs. No trip areas.

3.6 Results

The following results are derived and tabulate in table no. as per the proposed algorithm. As
shown in Table 3.1 We can see that at a unity power factor, 734 MWs of power are necessary to
trip the line with no reactive power. At a power factor angle of 90°, 197 MVARs are necessary
to trip the line with no real power. As the power angle increases to 120°, we see that the power
flow direction has changed. Real power now runs from bus 2 to 1, and a real power of 190 MWs
and reactive power of 329 MWs are necessary to trip the line.
Table 3.1 Relay Loadability Limits for Different Power Factors
Power Factor ɵ S (MVA) P (MWs) Q (MVARs)
0º 734 732 0
15º 378 365 97
30º 269 233 134
45º 219 154 154
60º 197 99 170
75º 190 49 183
90º 197 0 197
120º 380 -190 329

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3. Power Swing Phenomenon and Effect on Transmission Line Relaying

Fig. 3.18 shows the amount of real and reactive power needed to trip a line based on zone 3
settings at different power factors.

Fig. 3.18 P-Q diagram and loadability Limits.

3.7 Conclusion

One of the most important factors of distance protection is to decide the loadability limits of
relays as distance relay is most prone to operate during load encroachment. These limits are very
critical while deciding the settings of the third zone of distance protection. This chapter provides
an easy and efficient method to find out loadability limits at different power factors. By avoiding
unnecessary relay operations the system reliability and safety can be improved.

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