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1-4244-0023-6/06/$20.

00 2006 IEEE CIS 2006



Development of the Short-Circuit Capacities Curves
for Distribution Systems Planning Using Matlab
Wen-Tsuan Lai, Wei-Tzer Huang, Shiuan-Tai Chen
Department of Electrical Engineering
Chienkuo Technology University
Changhua, Taiwan, Republic of China
opplei@yahoo.com.tw, vichuang@ctu.edu.tw, chen6502@ctu.edu.tw

Heng-Kuan Chao
Department of power and energy business
Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation
Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
widthchao@pchome.com.tw

AbstractThe calculations of the short-circuit capacities
(SCCs) along a primary feeder is essential for determining the
ratings of protective devices of the distribution systems, especially
in the planning stage. According to the calculation results, the
interruption capacities (ICs) that shall be able to withstand the
mechanical and thermal stresses resulting from maximum flow of
short-circuit current through them of the protection devices were
evaluated. Therefore, an easy, straightforward, rapid and
systematic method, the complex short-circuit MVA method was
employed to estimate the SCCs in this paper, the SCCs along a
primary feeder dependent on the related parameters and
network structure were represented by simple formulas and
illustrated by curves that plotted in Matlab. It is more convenient
for the distribution engineers to select the ratings of protective
devices and planning the distribution systems by the developed
SCCs curves.
Keywordscomplex short-circuit MVA method, distribution
system, normally closed loop, primary feeder, radial, short-
circuit capacity.
I. INTRODUCTION
The SCC is defined as the products of the magnitude of
total fault current of a three-phase short-circuit fault and the
bus voltage before fault. It is a usual measure of the strength
of a bus, and is used for determining the interruption
capacities of over-current protective devices as well as the
dimension of a busbar [1]. Additionally, the SCCs also
implied that the value of three-phase short-circuit current, and
this current generally results in the maximum short-circuit
current available in a system. The bolted fault currents which
are not the values of three-phase short-circuit will usually be
less. Where the bolted line-to-line currents are about 87% of
the three-phase value, while bolted line-to-ground currents can
range from about 25~125% of the three-phase value,
depending on the system parameters. Nevertheless, the line-to-
ground currents of more than 100% of the three-phase value
seldom occur in practical systems. Consequently, the current
of three-phase short-circuit fault is frequently the only one
calculated in most systems.
For the sake of this reason, the calculation results of the
three-phase short-circuit fault played an important role of
determining the ICs of the protective devices. Therefore, the
ohmic and per unit methods are usually used in power system
fault current calculations [2-4]; besides, an alternative method,
called short-circuit MVA method was proposed by Yuen [5] to
calculate the three-phase short-circuit current by the
representation of power system elements in terms of MVA.
Furthermore, a modified method, complex short-circuit MVA
method has been proposed for power system studies by Chen
[6-7]. In this paper, the complex short-circuit method was
adopted to evaluate the SCCs along the primary feeders.
Accordingly, the SCCs along a primary feeder of the common
types of the distribution systems, i.e. radial and normally
closed loop [8-11] were all represented by simple formulas
and illustrated by curves that make SCCs along the primary
feeders more easily be recognized. The outcomes are of value
to the utilities that are planning to select the ICs of the
protective devices depending on distribution network
configurations.

II. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEMS AND SOLVING
METHOD
In this section, the problems and three common types of
system structure with necessary parameters for fault analysis
are introduced first, and followed by the introduction of the
adopted solving method, the complex short-circuit MVA
method.
A. Problem Description
In general, the strength of a busbar is increasing gradually
from distribution to generation systems for a vertical power
system structure; hence, the SCCs at a busbar in the
distribution systems is usually lower than that of sub-
transmission systems. Moreover, because the locations and
system structures are different, the SCCs are different even
though at the same voltage level. That is the difference the
incoming line, which is the distribution substations fed from
sub-transmission systems, the SCCs at the primary side of the
distribution substations are usually not the same.
Consequently, the radial and different types of normally
closed-loop primary feeders will result in varied SCCs along
distribution feeders. Moreover, the major factors that affect the
SCCs along the feeders are the incoming line short-circuit

duty, the rated capacities and impedances of the main
transformers, the busbar schemes, the impedances of the
conductors, as well as the fault location on the primary
feeders. Hence, the SCCs curves along the primary feeders of
five different types of distribution systems will be discussed in
detailed in this paper by a systematic and straightforward
method, and will be implemented using Matlab.
Figure 1 shows the schematic diagram of primary feeder
arrangements for the evaluation of the SCCs along a feeder.
In this paper, the feeder arrangements are classified as follows:
Radial: The feeder F#1 is fed by the main transformer T1
and radiates from the distribution substation.
Normally closed loop: This feeder arrangement is classified
as follows:
Type I: Two feeders, F#1 and F#2 are fed by the same
power transformer T1 and tied together normally at their ends.
Type II: Two feeders are fed by two different transformers,
T1 and T2 located in the same substation and tied together
normally at their ends. This type is further divided into two
subtypes based on whether the tie breaker of the secondary
buses of the two transformers is normally closed or open, as
follows:
Type II.1: The tie breaker is normally open,
Type II.2: The tie breaker is normally closed.
Type III: The two feeders, F#1 and F#2 are fed by two
different transformers, T1 and T2 located in different
substations and tied together normally at their ends.
Additionally, in this paper, the MVA
sa
and MVA
sb

represent the incoming line short-circuit duties of the two
distribution substations A and B, respectively. The two
substations are fed from different subtransmission circuits that
are fed from different bulk power substations. The ratings of
three power transformers are assumed to be S
T1
, S
T2
and S
T3
,
and their corresponding impedances are Z
T2
, Z
T2
and Z
T3
. Two
main feeders are named as F#1 and F#2, and the tie line are
named as TL. Because of the difference in system types, the
SCCs on the primary feeders are quite different. The formulas
for evaluating the SCCs along a feeder will be derived in the
following section. The SCCs along a feeder are functions of
the incoming line short-circuit duties, the rated capacities and
impedances of the power transformers and the impedances of
the feeders. Finally, the SCC curves along a feeder of various
system types were be derived.
B. Solving Method
The complex short-circuit MVA method is used by
separating the circuit into components, and calculating the
short-circuit MVA of each component with its own infinite
bus. Therefore, the first step this method is converting all the
related components into their corresponding short circuit
MVA quantities. As for the generators, motors, and
transformers, the conversion formula is as follows


( )
Rated
SC
pu
S MVA
MVA
Z
=
JJJJJK
JK
(1)
Besides, the conversion formula for the conductor is

2
( )
L
SC
KV
MVA MVA
Z
=
JJJJJK
JK
(2)
Where subscripts sc, Rated, pu and refer to short
circuit, rated capacity, per unit, and ohm, respectively.


Substation A
T
1
Primary
side
Secondary
side
LP1
LP2
LPn-1
LPn
F#1
Radial
F

(a) Radial


Substation A
T1
Primary
side
Secondary
side
F#1
Normally
Closed loop
LP1
LP2
LPn -1
LPn
LP1
LP2
LP
m-1
LPm
F#2
Type I
F
Tie line

(b) Normally closed loop: Type I


Substation A
T1
F#1
Normally
Closed loop
LP1
LP2
LPn-1
LPn
LP
1
LP2
LPm- 1
LPm
T2
Primary
side
Secondary
side
F#2 N.O.
or
N.C.
Type II.1
Type II.2
F
Tie line

(c) Normally closed loop: Type II

Substation A
T
1
Primary
side
Secondary
side
F#1
Normally
Closed loop
Type III
LP1
LP2
LPn-1
LPn
LP
1
LP2
LP
m- 1
LPm
Substation B
T
3
Primary
side
Secondary
side
F#2
F
Tie line

(d) Normally closed loop: Type III

Fig. 1. The schematic diagram of primary feeder arrangements for studying

A MVA diagram is developed after all the components
were converted into their corresponding short circuit MVA
quantities. The second step is to reduce the MVA diagram.
The parallel and series MVA combinations must be calculated
by (3) and (4), respectively. Finally, the short-circuit MVA at
the fault point is calculated.

1
n
Parallels i
SC SC
i
MVA MVA
=
=

JJJJJK JJJJJK
(3)

1
1
1
n
Series
SC
i
i
SC
MVA
MVA

=
(
=
(

JJJJJK
JJJJJK
(4)



III. DERIVATION OF THE SCC CURVES
The complex short-circuit MVA method was employed to
evaluate the SCCs along a feeder. Therefore, the short-circuit
MVA of each equipment; such as generators, transformers,
motors, feeders, etc. need be found first. For practical
purposes, the sample system as shown in Fig. 1 was designed
according to an actual underground distribution system of
Taipower in an urban area with little modifications.
Table I lists the parameters of the sample distribution
system required for the evaluation of the SCCs. The
transformer capacities, the nominal voltage of the primary
system, the line impedance of the feeders, and the length of tie
line were all kept constant in the following discussions. For
the base case, incoming line short-circuit duties are assumed to
be 5000 MVA. The lengths of the feeder cables are all assumed
to be 10 km, and the per unit impedance of the three main
transformers are assumed 0.1672 pu.
As conversion was made, Table II and an MVA diagram
were developed. Referred to the MVA diagram, the short
circuit MVA quantities of all equipments were combined. The
series MVA quantities were combined as resistances in
parallel, and the parallel MVA quantities were added
arithmetically. Finally, the short circuit MVA quantities of the
fault point were found.

TABLE I PARAMETERS OF THE SAMPLE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

Parameters Variables Base Case Ranges
Incoming line
short-circuit duties
MVA
sa
,
MVA
sb

5000 MVA 20%~200%
Transformer
capacities
S
T1
, S
T2
,
S
T3

60 MVA 100%
Transformer
impedances
Z
T1
, Z
T2
,
Z
T3

0.1672 pu,
X/R=34.1
90%~110%
Feeder lengths of
F#1 and F#2
L
1
, L
2
10 km 20%~200%
Tie line length L
TL
0.3 km 100%
Feeder impedances Z


0.1075+j0.14
37 /km
100%

TABLE II CORRESPONDING SHORT-CIRCUIT MVA OF EACH EQUIPMENT

Equipment Base Case Ranges
MVA
sa
, MVA
sb

5000 MVA
1000 MVA~10000
MVA
MVA
T1
, MVA
T2
,
MVA
T3

359 MVA 326 MVA~399 MVA
MVA
L1
, MVA
L2

290 MVA
145 MVA~1448
MVA
MVA
TL
9653 MVA 9653 MVA

A. Radial Arrangement
For the system shown in Fig. 1(a), the MVA diagram of
this radial arrangement was shown in Fig. 2. Assumed a three-
phase fault occurs at a point on the main feeder at a distance of
(1-k)L
1
m from the feed point, the SCC at the fault point can
be expressed as

1 1
1
,
(1 )
1 1 1 F
SC Radial
sa T K L
MVA
MVA MVA MVA

(
= + +
(

JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK JJJJJK
(5)
Where
sa MVA
JJJJJK
is the incoming line short-circuit duty at the
primary side of the substation transformer A.
1
T MVA
JJJJJK
is the corresponding short-circuit MVA of the main
transformer #1.
1
(1 ) K L MVA
JJJJJK
is the short-circuit MVA of the feeder section
between the fault point (any location on the main feeder) and
feed point (the secondary busbar of the main transformer)
K: variable from 1 to 0, for indicating the fault location
Substituting (1) and (2) into (5), the SCC of the fault point
on the radial feeder can be formulated as

1 1
1
1
( ) ( )
,
1
2
1
(1 ) ( )
T pu T pu
F
sa T
SC Radial
L
R jX
j
MVA S
MVA
K L R jX
KV


+ (
+
(
(
=
(
+
+
(
(

JJJJJK
(6)
Based on (6), the SCC curves were developed as shown in
Fig. 3. There are five curves in Fig. 3. The solid curve show
the SCCs along the feeder F#1 under the conditions of base
case. The other four curves show the deviations of the
corresponding SCCs from the base case for two values of the
incoming line short-circuit duties and two values of the
transformer impedances. The smaller the incoming line short-
circuit duty or the greater the transformer impedance is, the
smaller the corresponding SCCs obtain, as shown in Fig. 3.
These two factors predominantly affect the SCCs along the
feeder.


,
F
SC Radial MVA
JJJJJK
F
1
T MVA
JJJJJK
sa MVA
JJJJJK
1
(1 ) K L MVA
JJJJJK
F

Fig. 2. MVA diagram of radial arrangement

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
K
S
.
C
.
C
.
(
M
V
A
)
20%*MVAsa
MVAsa=5000 MVA, ZT1=0.1672pu, L1=10 km
200%*MVAsa
90%*ZT1
110%*ZT1

Fig. 3. SCCs along the primary feeder for radial arrangement

B. Normally closed Loop Arrangement
Type I: The MVA diagram of a normally closed loop
arrangement of Type I was shown in Fig. 4. Assumed fault
occurs at a point on the main feeder at a distance of (1-k)L
1
m
from the feed point, the SCC at the fault point can be
expressed as

1
1
1
2
1
1
1
,
(1 )
1 1
1
1 1
TL
sa T
F
SC TypeI
KL
K L
L L
MVA MVA
MVA
MVA
MVA
MVA MVA


+


(
| |
= + ( `
|
(
|
+ +
(
|
+
( |
\ .
(
)
JJJJJK JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK
(7)
Where
,
F
SC TypeI MVA
JJJJJK
is the SCCs along the primary feeder of Type
I arrangement.
Similarly, Substituting (1) and (2) into (7), the SCCs along
the primary feeder of Type I arrangement can be formulated
as:

( )
1
1( ) 1( )
1
1
2
,
1
2
1 2
1
(1 ) ( )
( )
T pu T pu
sa T
F
L
SC TypeI
L
TL
R jX
j
MVA S
KV
MVA
K L R jX
KV
KL L L R jX



+
+



(

= + ` (
+
(
+
(
(
+ + +
(
)
JJJJJK
(8)
Based on (8), seven SCC curves, relating the incoming line
short-circuit duty, transformer impedance, the length of feeder
F#2 and the fault location, have been developed, as shown in
Fig. 5. The solid curve show the SCCs along the feeder F#1
under the conditions of base case. The other six curves show
the deviations of the corresponding SCCs from the base case
for two values of the incoming line short-circuit duties, two
values of the transformer impedances and two values of the
lengths of feeder F#2. The effects of the incoming line short-
circuit duty and the transformer impedance are the same as
that of the feeder with radial arrangement. The effects of the
incoming line short-circuit duty and the transformer
impedance on the SCCs along the feeder F#1 is the largest in
the feed point and the smallest in the end of the feeder. On the
contrary, the effects of the length of feeder F#2 on the SCCs
along the feeder F#1 is the smallest in the feed point and the
largest in the end of the feeder.


1
T MVA
JJJJJK
1
(1 ) K L MVA
JJJJJK
1
KL MVA
JJJJJK
2
L MVA
JJJJJK
TL
L MVA
JJJJJK
F
sa MVA
JJJJJK
,
F
SC TypeI MVA
JJJJJK
F

Fig. 4. MVA diagram of a normally-closed feeder arrangement of type I

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340
360
380
K
S
.
C
.
C
.
(
M
V
A
)
20%*MVAsa
MVAsa=5000 MVA, ZT1=0.1672pu, L1=10 km
200%*MVAsa
90%*ZT1
110%*ZT1
20%L2
200%L2

Fig. 5. SCCs along the primary feeder for a normally-closed feeder
arrangement of Type I

Type II.1: The MVA diagram of a normally closed loop
arrangement of Type II.1 was shown in Fig. 6. According to
the system structure, the SCCs along the Feeder #1 can be
represented as


1 1
2 2
1
1
1
1
(1 )
1
, .1
1 1
1
1 1
1 1
TL
T K L
F
SC TypeII
sa
T L
L KL
MVA MVA
MVA
MVA
MVA MVA
MVA MVA


(
| |

(
+
|
|
(
\ .

(

| | (
= +
`
+
|
(

|
( +

|
(
+ +
|
(

\ .
)
JJJJJK JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK

(9)
Substituting (1) and (2) into (9) yields

( )
1 1
1
2 2
2
1
1
( ) ( )
1
, .1
2
1
( ) ( )
2 1
2
1
(1 ) ( )
( )
sa
T pu T pu
T
F
SC TypeII
L
T pu T pu
T
TL
L
j
MVA
R jX
S
K L R jX
MVA
KV
R jX
S
L L KL R jX
KV



+



(
+ | |

(
+
|

(
|
+
(
|
+

(
|
=
`
|
(
\ .

+ | | (

+ | (

| (

| (
+ + +

| (
|
(
\ .
JJJJJK
1

)
(10)
Based on (10), seven SCC curves were developed as shown
in Fig. 7. The curves in Fig. 7 are similar to the corresponding
curves shown in Fig.7. However, the levels of the SCCs are
all going up and the effects of the factors are enlarged.


1
T MVA
JJJJJK
1
(1 ) K L MVA
JJJJJK
1
KL MVA
JJJJJK
2
L MVA
JJJJJK
TL
L MVA
JJJJJK
sa MVA
JJJJJK
2
T MVA
JJJJJK
, .1
F
SC TypeII MVA
JJJJJK

Fig. 6. MVA diagram of a normally-closed feeder arrangement of type II.1


0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
250
300
350
400
450
500
K
S
.
C
.
C
.
(
M
V
A
)
20%*MVAsa
MVAsa=5000 MVA, ZT1=0.1672pu, L1=L2=10 km
200%*MVAsa
90%*ZT1
110%*ZT1
20%*L2
200%*L2

Fig. 7. SCCs along the primary feeder for a normally-closed feeder
arrangement of Type II.1

Type II.2: The MVA diagram of a normally closed loop
arrangement of Type II.2 was shown in Fig. 8. According to
the system structure, the SCCs along the Feeder #1 can be
represented as

( ) 1 2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
, .2
(1 )
1
1
1 1
TL
T T
sa
F
SC TypeII
L
K L
L KL
MVA MVA
MVA
MVA
MVA
MVA
MVA MVA


+ +


(
| |
+ ( =
` |
(
|
+ +
(
|
+
(
|
( \ .

)
JJJJJK JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK
(11)
Equation (11) can be rewritten as

( )
1
1 1
2
2 2
1
1
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
, .2
1
2
1
2
2 1
1
(1 ) ( )
( )
T
T pu T pu
T
sa
F T pu T pu
SC TypeII
L
L
TL
S
R jX
j
S
MVA
R jX
MVA
KV
K L R jX
KV
L L KL R jX




| |

|
+
|
+
|

| +
|
+

\ .
=
`
(
+ (
+
(
+
(
(
+ + +
(
)
JJJJJK
(12)
Based on (12), seven SCC curves were developed as shown
in Fig. 9. The curves in Fig. 9 are similar to the corresponding
curves shown in Fig.7. However, the levels of the SCCs are
all going up because the two transformers were operated
parallel in this arrangement.

1
T MVA
JJJJJK
1
(1 ) K L MVA
JJJJJK
1
KL MVA
JJJJJK
2
L MVA
JJJJJK
TL
L MVA
JJJJJK
F
sa MVA
JJJJJK
2
T MVA
JJJJJK
, .2
F
SC TypeII MVA
JJJJJK
F

Fig. 8. MVA diagram of a normally-closed feeder arrangement of type II.2
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
250
300
350
400
450
500
550
600
650
700
K
S
.
C
.
C
.
(
M
V
A
)
20%*MVAsa
MVAsa=5000 MVA, ZT1=0.1672pu, L1=L2=10 km
200%*MVAsa
90%*ZT1
110%*ZT1
20%L2
200%L2

Fig. 9. SCCs along the primary feeder for a normally-closed feeder
arrangement of Type II.2

Type III: The MVA diagram of a normally closed loop

arrangement of Type III was shown in Fig. 10. According to
the system structure, the SCCs along the Feeder #1 can be
represented as

1 1
3
2 1
1
,
(1 )
1
1 1 1
1 1
1 1 1
TL
F
SC TypeIII
sa T K L
sb T
L L KL
MVA
MVA MVA MVA
MVA MVA
MVA MVA MVA

| |
= + +
|
|
\ .
| |
+ +
|
|
+
|
+ +
|
\ .
JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK
JJJJJK JJJJJK JJJJJK
(13)
Rewritten (13) as

( )
1 1
1
3 3
3
1
( ) ( )
,
1
2
1
( ) ( )
2 1
2
1
(1 ) ( )
1
( )
T pu T pu
F
sa T
SC TypeIII
L
T pu T pu
sb T
TL
L
R jX
j
MVA S
MVA
K L R jX
KV
R jX
j
MVA S
L L KL R jX
KV


+ | |
+
|
|
=
|
+
+
|
|
\ .
+ | |
+ + |
|
+
|
+ + +
|
|
\ .
JJJJJK
(14)
Based on (14), seven SCC curves were developed as shown
in Fig. 11. The curves in Fig. 11 are similar to the
corresponding curves shown in Fig. 7.

1
T MVA
JJJJJK
1
(1 ) K L MVA
JJJJJK
1
KL MVA
JJJJJK
2
L MVA
JJJJJK
TL
L MVA
JJJJJK
F
sa MVA
JJJJJK
2
T MVA
JJJJJK
sb MVA
JJJJJK
,
F
SC TypeIII MVA
JJJJJK
F

Fig. 10. MVA diagram of a normally-closed feeder arrangement of type III

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1
250
300
350
400
450
500
K
S
.
C
.
C
.
(
M
V
A
)
20%*MVAsa
MVAsa=MVAsb=5000MVA, ZT1=0.1672pu, L1=L2=10km
200%*MVAsa
90%*ZT1
110%*ZT1
20%L2
200%L2

Fig. 11. SCCs along the primary feeder for a normally-closed feeder
arrangement of Type III
IV. CONCLUSIONS
In this paper, the SCC curves were developed in Matlab by
a easy, straightforward and planning-oriented method, the
complex short-circuit MVA method. The SCC curves
representing the SCCs along a feeder for various network
arrangements were plotted easily based on the formulas
obtained. Some major factors of the short-circuit capacity, such
as the incoming line short-circuit duty, the feeder length, the
transformer impedances are considered. Hence, the derived
formulas are all functions of these three major factors. The
SCC evaluation formulas and the SCC curves make clear the
SCCs along the primary feeders and are of value to the
distribution engineers for determining the ICs of protective
devices, especially during the planning stage.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
One of us (Wei-Tzer Huang) wants to heartily thank the
Chienkuo Technology University, for this article was extension
form the project CTU-94-RP-EE-014-030.
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