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A comparison of computational intelligence methods for Fault Location in Distribution Systems.

The use of fault location techniques is a present requirement of the smart grid enabled distribution management
systems. The management strategies used in such management systems call for the use of concepts like service
continuity, quality of service, reliability etc in the modern interpretation of the role of the electric power systems
which implies an improvement in the precision of the fault location methods used in distribution systems. Such fault
location methods are absolutely necessary since they make the job of fault detection and elimination, easier and
significantly decreases the time used for such tasks.
Several techniques like reactance algorithms, travelling wave, high frequency components, computational
intelligence etc, have been used to solve the problem of fault location in electric power systems. Most of these
techniques were developed for power transmission lines because of their higher power levels, larger sizes,
homogeneity, simpler topology, etc.
Due to the inherent complexity of distribution systems such general solutions are yet to be found. Distribution
lines are usually non homogeneous, have a much more complex topology, have a much higher variability in the
loads, fault locators or data registering equipment are usually not located directly on the lines but on the line feeders
which makes the evaluation of the different contributions to the fault even harder, there is a relatively high influence
of the fault resistance and the grounding method over the short circuit currents and voltages and in most cases it is
impossible to obtain fault data directly from the faulted branch of the circuit.
The characteristics of distribution systems mentioned above have made a unified approach for the solution of the
fault location problem very difficult. This is the reason for the great diversity of methods found in the literature to
deal with this problem which is a computational intensive one when it is looked from the Substation Management
system perspective. Such methods can be classified in the following groups:
1. Fault loop impedance calculation algorithms. Nomographs.
2. Statistical methods.
3. Hybrid methods.
4. Artificial intelligence methods e.g. neural networks, neuro fuzzy systems, genetic algorithms.
This paper focuses on the comparison of the behavior of several artificial intelligence methods used for fault
location in Distribution Networks:
1. Classical Artificial Neural Network.
2. Neuro Fuzzy system.
3. Genetic Algorithm.
4. Support Vector Machine.
The difficulties associated with the wide use of artificial intelligence methods in the past was usually associated to
the computational complexity of the distribution network itself which made it very hard to obtain a training data set
with high accuracy and which contains enough test cases. The improvements in the quality of the power system
simulation tools, the increasing computational power and lower price of even desktop hardware has put this tools
within the grasp of the Distribution Management Systems making their use a real possibility.
This paper shows the strengths and weaknesses of this approaches specially the merits associated with the use of
several variations of support vector machines for the purposes of fault locations on Distribution Systems. The
simulation of several real cases of distribution networks is used to benchmark the results of the different methods
used. Matlab/Simulinnk/Power Systems Blockset simulations of those networks are used to provide the training
cases.