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Assessment on the Impact of Distributed

Generation to the Distribution Network

Overcurrent Protection in Malaysia

Adlan Ali Fazliana Ahmad Buderi

Department of Electrical Engineering Technology Department of Electrical Engineering Technology
Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
Malacca, Malaysia Malacca, Malaysia

Mohd Ariff Mat Hanafiah Zikri Abadi Baharudin

Department of Electrical Engineering Technology Department of Electrical Engineering Technology
Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
Malacca, Malaysia Malacca, Malaysia

AbstractDistributed Generation (DG) is the generation of system to be expensive due to critical investment to be made on
electricity from multiple renewable energy sources and is located protection systems. This is because renewable energy (RE)
closer to the user, or load. These days DGs is developing rapidly sources such as solar or wind-power generating systems produce
because of the advantages it could bring into the system such as intermittent electrical energy that is not fully compatible with
enhancing the transmission efficiency, securing distribution existing grid protection systems [2]. Moreover, the intermittent
reliability as well as reduction of climate change. However, the sources of DG could also contributes to vary the value of source
penetration of DGs to the existing national grid system may impedance, ZS, on the network [3]. This clearly shows direct
potentially contributes to several impacts, with the power system relationship between power systems and protection systems, it
protection being one of the major issues. In this assessment, Power
is inseparable and surely it will involve significant cost for its
System Computer Aided Design (PSCAD) software is used to
simulate different scenarios related to the distribution network
without the presence of DG and with the presence of DG. The Besides that, the level of fault current in the system could
results of this simulation is studied in order to identify the changes change as the penetration of DG on the system eventually cause
of overcurrent protection relay performance that could leads to several impacts on the protection systems such as false tripping,
several negative impacts which could jeopardize the effectiveness protection blinding, loss of coordination, undesirable network
of electrical supply security, the safety of consumers and the islanding and unsynchronized reclosing [4]. Nevertheless, some
lifetime of electrical assets and equipment.
problems will arise when new generation is connected to the
KeywordsDistributed Generation (DG); national grid system;
distribution network, because the distribution system is not
Power System Computer Aided Design (PSCAD); distribution supplied by a single main power source and is no longer radial
network in nature.
In general, all power systems is experiencing fault events
I. INTRODUCTION which possibly coming from an open circuits, short circuits,
unbalanced conditions or any undesirable conditions. Most of
Distributed Generation (DG) is the generation of electricity
fault events are contributed from lightning strike on overhead
from small scale of generation and is located closer to the user
lines and it is not a permanent faults, it is more likely can be
or customer, which is commonly at the distribution level [1]. DG
called as transient faults, therefore efficient protection systems
is believed to be the best way to get electricity and at the same
is needed in order to detect the faults, clear it with minimum
time could reduce the climate change effect. When DG has been
damage to the grid and customers electrical appliances, also
widely introduced in terms of generating electricity for
minimize the disconnection of healthy plant to provide
customers, careful consideration needs to be taken in order to
generate and supply the electricity to customers securely and maximum security of supply to the customer. As a result,
maintenance cost can be reduced, systems operational behavior
reliably. Power systems basic purpose is to provide electricity
is becoming more reliable and networks becoming more secure.
in such a way to be economically and reliably, hence supply
security becoming top priority. This situation has made power

978-1-5090-2547-3/16/$31.00 2016 IEEE 361

II. DISTRIBUTED GENERATION AND THE MOTIVATION OF deliberately presented its target to increase the use of renewable
On the other hand, during the 15th Conference of Parties
A. Generation, Demands and Renewable Energy Scenarios in
(COP 15) in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 17, 2009,
Malaysia Malaysia has also announced its commitment by adopting an
Renewable energy has becoming more significant sources of indicator of a voluntary reduction of up to 40% in terms of
power generation in Malaysia. This can be supported by looking greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity of Gross Domestic
at Fig. 1 showing the statistic for total primary energy supply by Product (GDP) by the year 2020, compared to 2005 level to the
fuel type between 1978 until 2013 where for an example solar is UNFCCC [8]. In addition, Association of Southeast Asian
starting to be listed in recent years and also keep increasing on Nations (ASEAN) also has set its RE target for member
yearly basis [5]. countries to achieve 30% of total installed RE capacity by year
2020 [9].
In a nutshell, the statistics clearly illustrate that the demand
of energy in Malaysia is increasing every year and this has
encourage the government to formulate some initiatives to
ensure the security of energy supply. In order to surmount this
challenge, in the 9th Malaysia Plan (2006-2010) Malaysia has
targeted the RE capacity to be connected to power utility for 300
MW in Peninsular Malaysia and 50 MW in Sabah. This initiative
is then continued in the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) whereby
the target for RE to account is 985 MW or 5.5% in 2015 and
2080 MW or 11% towards year 2020 of the countrys total
capacity mix as shown in Fig. 3 meanwhile Fig. 4 clearly shown
the countrys planned target towards year 2030 for its RE
installed capacity [10].

Fig. 1. Total primary energy supply by fuel type.

Meanwhile Fig. 2 shows the trends, primary energy and final

energy consumption in Malaysia between 1990 until 2014 [6].
This data can be considered as a valid indicator that demand and
energy consumption is increasing every year.

Fig. 3. Renewable energy action plan.

Fig. 2. Trends in GDP, primary energy supply and final energy consumption.
Fig. 4. Renewable energy installed capacity target towards year 2030.
Malaysia is also a signatory or party to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). B. Protection System Requirements
Malaysia signed to UNFCCC on June 9, 1993 and subsequently
ratified on July 13, 1994. Recognizing the need to initiate early To achieve the purpose of having an efficient protection
action so as to prepare the nation to address climate change systems on the grid, a few requirements or parameters has to be
issues, the government has established a National Climate considered so that reliable decision can be made when choosing
Committee (NCC) to formulate national policies and position as and deciding type of protection devices, relays and setting to be
well as to oversee and coordinate programs and activities to set on the chosen grid location. These parameter cannot be taken
mitigate climate change effects as well as adapting to climate lightly as the performance of protective devices is relying on it.
change. According to this establishment, Malaysia has The more efficient the protective devices, the safer and reliable
is the network to be used to transmit electrical energy to

customers in any conditions. Performance criteria or the relays, it will always important to begin at the tail end of the
requirements of protection system plays a vital role in order to system. The calculated theoretical setting for the overcurrent
enumerate certain general properties that a protective system relays is shown in Table 1 by assumption the overload is 25%,
should possess. According to [11], the main performance criteria relay type is 1 Ampere, plug setting (PS) is 100%. The
of any protection system are including: theoretical calculation to set up both of the relays based on the
model is completed. These value will also be used in the
1. Discrimination/selectivity - make decision whether to simulation for comparison.
operate or not for a given measured state. The most
important is only the relay closest to the faulted TABLE 1
equipment should operate to ensure minimal
CT Operating
disconnection of healthy equipment. Relay ILMAX
2. Stability - the ability to remain inoperative under fault RB 100 A 100:1 1A 30 0.1 0.2 s
conditions where relay should not operate. It is RA 300 A 300:1 1A 10 0.26 0.77 s
important to ensure the relay that are not intended to
operate to do so, therefore minimizing the disconnection The theoretical calculation does not end here as the
of healthy equipment. parameter of the model such as impedance (Z), resistance (R),
3. Sensitivity - the ability to operate for a condition only inductance (L) and apparent power (VA) at a different location
marginally different to normal condition. It is important
of fault is also needed to be calculated based on the model.
to ensure that any fault will not remain undetected for a
Without the penetration of DG, Table 2 shows the calculated
long period of time. The smaller the fault current it can
detect, the more sensitive the protection system is. value with an assumption VS = 33 kV, IFatA = 4000 A, IFatB =
4. Operating Time - it is important to be fast when fault 3000 A and IFatC = 1500 A.
level and risk of physical damage may be high. The
longer the time for a protective device to operate, the CALCULATED THEORETICAL MODEL VALUES WITHOUT DG
larger the damage to the system and the higher Fault VS IFMAX S ZS RS XS LS
possibility for the system to lose stability. location (kV) (A) (MVA) () () () (H)
Bus A 33 4000 229 4.75 0.18 4.75 0.01
III. THEORETICAL MODELLING OF THE SCENARIOS Bus B 33 3000 171 1.60 0.06 1.59 5.1m
To have a theoretical model to analyze the impact of DG on Bus C 33 1500 86 6.35 0.24 6.34 0.02
overcurrent protection system, a simple model is built. The area
that is intended to be analyzed at will be an application of Inverse
Definite Minimum Time (IDMT) overcurrent relay on a
distribution feeder, therefore the model will be consisting of a At this stage, simulation model of a radial distribution feeder
grid supply, three busbars and two overcurrent relays. See Fig. complete with IDMT overcurrent relay is developed using
5 for the illustration of the theoretical model. Power System Computer Aided Design (PSCAD) software. The
model is shown in Fig. 6.

Fig. 6. PSCAD model of a radial distribution feeder with IDMT overcurrent relay
without DG.
Fig. 5. A theoretical model of the scenario. The simulation model is then conducted based on two scenarios,
The supply voltage VS is coming from a standard grid during fault at different location without the presence of DG as
generator. Every line has its own impedance and this value is illustrated in Fig. 7 and during fault at different location with the
depending on the type of cable used and also the line length. The presence of DG as illustrated in Fig. 8.
source impedance is represented by RS and LS. RAB and LAB are
representing line AB impedance and RBC and LBC are
representing line BC impedance. The values of these impedance
will be used later to perform the simulation.
There are two IDMT overcurrent relays protecting line AB
and BC. The purpose of relay RB is to provide main protection
to line BC without having to consider any other factors. The
purpose of relay RA is also to provide main protection to line AB Fig. 7. Illustration of a PSCAD model during fault at different location without
the presence of DG.
but it has also function to provide backup protection to line BC,
in case relay RB failed to operate. When it comes to setting up

simulation showed the same results as the theoretical
calculation. Note that the setting of the relay is started from the
relay which is at the tail end of the system, so relay at the tail
end is the first to operate as it acts as the primary protection to
the faulted area and also as backup protection to the front end,
which can also be called unit protection and non-unit protection.

Fig. 8. Illustration of a PSCAD model during fault at different location with the
presence of DG.


Theoretical modelling is conducted via calculation and the
values is shown earlier in Table 1 and Table 2. In order to proof
those theoretical data is accurate and reliable, simulation via
PSCAD is conducted and the data is gathered and compared.

A. Simulation Results Without DG

Simulation is done by starting from Bus A to Bus B, with
Fig. 9. Relay operating time versus fault current without DG.
fault just after relay A, RA, followed by fault after the line
impedance, ZA. The simulation works then continued from Bus The simulation for ideal scenario for distribution network
B to Bus C, with fault just after relay B, RB, then ended with without DG shows that both relays were operating in a correct
fault after the line impedance, ZB. This simulation is done purely discrimination with an acceptable grading margin of 0.7. RB
without the presence of DG on the network. remains inoperative during fault at line AB. This is because RB
TABLE 3 never sees the fault current as it only travel from the utility
DATA OF RA AND RB OPERATING TIME AGAINST VARIOUS FAULT LOCATION supply to the fault location. During fault at line BC, RB quickly
WITHOUT DG operates as primary protection and RA operates as backup
Without DG protection after about 0.7 seconds. When fault is moved to the
DG of line BC, fault current has become lesser to be detected by RA
Parameter Fault A1 Fault A2 Fault B1 Fault B2
0 IRA (A) 4012.91 2999.37 2999.37 1500.24
hence it operates slower than before, which mean increasing the
0 IRB (A) 0.0559 41.9023 2999.68 1495.02 grading margin of both relays to around 0.8 seconds. This
0 topRA (s) 0.6837 0.7724 0.7724 1.1126 situation is still acceptable and both relays is considered to be
0 topRB (s) -0.1006 -0.8118 0.1989 0.2519 working correctly.

B. Simulation Result With DG

Table 3 shows the simulation results according to the
magnitude of fault current and operating time of both relays, RA At this stage, the results of relay operating time versus fault
and RB on distribution network without DG. When compared, current is recorded when DG is connected to the system. As
the theoretical data and the simulation data are almost identical expected, when DG is connected to the distribution network it
to each other, and this proves the initial modelling stage is will increase the level of fault current and eventually jeopardize
successful. The breakthrough then can be conducted by applying the effectiveness of the unit protection and non-unit protection
the same simulation method but this time, with a penetration of in the system.
DG. The detailed information comparing the simulation model Fig. 10 shows the response of relay A during fault at B with
and the relay operating time versus fault current is shown in Fig. DG sizing of 1-500 MVA at Bus B. It can be seen clearly that
9. the higher the penetration of DG, the slower RA takes to
Fig. 9 shows the relationship of relay operating time and operates. This is because the fault current contribution from the
fault current based on the results obtained from the simulation in utility has decreased due to higher fault current contribution
Table 3. It can be clearly seen when a fault occurred at bus B or from the DG. There is a possibility that if this situation is not
bus C, RB operating time is the fastest as it plays the role as the overcome, it could lead to slow operation or also non-operation
primary protection to bus B and C while relay RA take much of relay A during fault at B for backup operation. RA will never
longer time to operate because it needs to wait for relay RB to see the fault current hence therefore it will remain inoperative
operate first and if relay RB fails to operate then relay RA will and this is very dangerous to human and equipment. This
operate and play its role as the backup protection to the relay RB. phenomenon can also be called as protection blinding.
Moreover, the relay nearer the source need to delay so that
they are selective with relays downstream and this is the reason
why the relay nearest the source is the slowest. Theoretically, the
primary protection operating time is quicker than the backup
protection operating time and the data obtained from the

A. Ali, F. A. Buderi, M. A. M. Hanafiah and Z. A. Baharudin
gratefully thanks to Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka
(UTeM) for providing support for this paper via a grant funding
PJP/2015/FTK(3A)/S01399. The authors would also thanks to
the Energy Commission, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and
Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) for their
uncountable support in providing relevant information for this
Fig. 10. Protection blinding when DGs value reaching 500 MVA. paper.

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