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In Britain, people have 'earth' and in Northern America

they have 'ground'. They are exactly the same thing,
only different terms are used in different countries.
The subject of earthing may be divided into two.
General Equipment earthing
System neutral earthing

The main objects of earthing are to:

- Reduce the voltage stresses due to switching, lightning,
faults, etc
- Control fault currents to satisfactory values

General Equipment Earthing
It is the practice of earthing the metallic

frames of electrical equipment

Purpose - Improve safety to
- operational staff
- the general public
- property in general and
- system electrical equipment

System Neutral Earthing
It is the practice of earthing the star-point or

neutral of the electrical power system

The method of earthing employed affects the

system behaviour, the levels of currents and

voltages in the event of a fault
In general, a low grounding impedance leads to
higher earth-fault currents but lower overvoltage

What is Grounding?
Grounding: the intentional and permanent
connection between neutral and ground
Over 90% electrical faults are ground


Contact between ground and an energized conductor

Unleashes large amount of electrical energy
Dangerous to equipment and people

Types of Power System

System Neutral grounding
Isolated or Ungrounded Neutral
Solidly or Direct Earthing
Impedance Earthing
Arc-Suppression or Peterson-coil Earthing

Ungrounded Systems

No intentional connection to ground.

Used in industrial plants.
Operational Benefit Load continues
operating under a ground fault
Economic Benefit no neutral conductor

Ungrounded Systems

Ungrounded system

Ungrounded system
Each line conductor has a capacitance to the

earth and the magnitude of this capacitance is

the same in a perfectly transposed three phase
line. With balanced voltages applied to such a
line, the capacitance currents will be equal in
magnitude as shown above. Assume an earth
fault in conductor A. Hence no capacity
current flows between the phase A and earth.
But the voltage across the other two phases
rises to phase to phase voltage

Ungrounded system

Re-striking due to AC voltage waveform or loose wire caused by vibration

OCPDs do not trip because ground fault current is low due to high value
of Rf.

Ungrounded system
fault phase A supplied the currents ICGB and

ICGC. These being capacitive currents, no

current flows when the line capacitance is
charged. Hence, an arcing takes place at the
faulted point. During this period, the line
capacitance discharges and capacitive current
once again flows.
This repetitive cycle of charging and discharging
causes intermittent arcing at the point of fault
and also gives rise to abnormal voltages across
the healthy phases due to the capacitance effect.

Ungrounded system
If this ground fault is intermittent or allowed to

continue, the system could be subjected to

possible severe over-voltages to ground, which can
be as high as six to eight times phase voltage.
Such over- voltages can puncture insulation and
result in additional ground faults. These overvoltages are caused by repetitive charging of the
system capacitance or by resonance between the
system capacitance and the inductance of
equipment in the system. For these reasons, they
are being used less frequently today.

Solidly Grounded
Intentional connection of neutral to ground.
Solved system overvoltage problem of

ungrounded systems

Solidly Grounded

Fixed line to ground
Permit line-to-neutral

Unscheduled service interruption
Strong shock hazard to personnel

Solidly Grounded

Solidly Grounded
It is simple and inexpensive in that it

requires no extra equipment. The expense of

the earth-current limiting device such as
resistors, reactors, etc, is eliminated.
The neutral point is held at earth
potential under all operating conditions.
Consequently, the voltage of any
conductor to earth under earth-fault
conditions will NOT exceed the normal
phase voltage of the system.

Solidly Grounded
The protection of the system is simplified
by virtue of the fact that the ground fault
current compares in magnitude with
inter-phase fault currents, making
detection relatively easier
Hazard voltages are reduced to acceptable
levels. Power frequency, phase-earth
overvoltages are lowest, typically below 1.4
p.u., and this explains why HV systems are
solidly earthed.

Solidly Grounded
A solidly grounded system produces the

greatest magnitude of fault current

when a ground fault occurs
The increased ground fault current results
in greater influence (interference) on
neighbouring communication circuits.
The increased ground fault current
produces more conductor burning.

Impedance Grounded
Impedance Grounded Systems
Impedance inserted between neutral and
Limits fault current, prevents arcing
ground faults.
Still limits transient overvoltage.

Impedance Grounded

Impedance Grounded
By suitable choice of the ohmic value of

the impedance, the lagging component of

the fault current can be made equal to or
more than the capacity current, so that no
transient oscillation due to arcing grounds can
However, if the ohmic value of the
impedance is sufficiently high so that the
lagging current is less than the capacity
current , then the system condition
approaches that of the ungrounded
neutral system with the risk of transient
overvoltages occurring.

High Impedance

Limits Ground Fault current to 10 Amps
or less
Allows faulted circuit to continue

Potential for nuisance alarming
Maintenance personnel may ignore
first fault

High Impedance
High- Impedance grounding helps ensure a
ground-fault current of known magnitude,
helpful for relaying purposes. This makes it
possible to identify the faulted feeder with
sensitive ground-fault relays.

Low Resistance
Limit ground fault current to a high level (25400A) in order to operate protective fault
clearing relays.
Limits damage to equipment
Prevents additional faults
Provides safety for personnel
Localizes the fault

Arc-Suppression Coil
Arc-suppression-coil, also called Peterson coil
the inventor, is an attempt
to eliminate the
fault current that could cause the arcing ground
Arc-suppression coil earthing can be seen as
special reactance earthing, whose inductance
can be adjusted to closely match the network
phase-earth capacitances, depending on the
system configurations.

Arc-Suppression Coil
The inductance of the arc-suppression-coil is
adjusted such that the inductive current due to
the coil approximately neutralizes capacitive
current through the total network capacitance 3C,
at the fault.
The resultant earth-fault current is theoretically
suppressed and in any case inadequate to
maintain the arc. Hence the name arc
suppression coil.

Arc-Suppression Coil
Voltage to earth of the faulty phase at the point
of fault becomes zero
Voltage on the healthy phases is increased to

1.732 times the normal value

A resultant capacity current I-ag equal to three
times the normal line to neutral charging
current flows through the fault. This leads the
voltage of the faulty phase by 90 deg .

Neutral Grounding Device


Neutral Grounding Device an impedance

device used to connect the neutral of an

electrical system to ground for the purpose of
controlling ground current and voltage-toground.

Earthing in a EHV
1. Objective:
The touch and step potential shall be

within limits under all conditions including

fault condition
Grounding resistance shall be lower.
Effective earthing system shall aim at
providing protection to life and property
against dangerous potentials under fault

Earthing System
Points to be earthed in a substation
The neutral point of each separate system
should have an independent earth, in turn
interconnected with the station grounding
Equipment frame work and other noncurrent parts
All extraneous metallic frame works not
associated with equipment .
independent earths, in turn connected to
the station grounding grid.

Earthing System
Over head lightning screen shall also be

connected to main ground mat.

Operating handles of Isolators with a auxiliary
earth mat underneath, if necessary.
Peripheral fencing
Buildings inside the switch yard.
Transformer Neutrals shall be connected
directly to the earth electrode

Design depends upon the following

Durational and magnitude of the fault current
Resistivity of the surface layer of the soil
Resistivity of the soil
Magnitude of current that the human body can
safely carry
Permissible earth potential raise that may take
place due to the fault conditions
Shock duration
Material of Earth- mat conductor.
Earth- mat geometry

Substation earthing
Design of Earth mat

Parameters for the calculation of

Maximum permissible step and touch

Fault duration :- Fault clearing time of back up

protection is adopted
Modern protection systems provides for fast
acting back up protection
Considerable saving can be made by optimizing
the size of the conductor of earthing grid by
considering lesser fault duration.
These will change the earth potential raise due
to which Step and Touch potentials arise.

Substation earthing
Design of Earth mat

Earth mat parameters

go safe
current a person can tolerate
and still release grip of an energised object,
using muscles affected by the current
The magnitude of let go current adopted in
calculating maximum permissible step and
touch potentials (As per IEEE 80 1976)
for man

9 milli amps
for woman

6milli amps

Permissible resistance of earthing system

Primary requirements : Impendence to ground
(resistance of earthing system)
Small substations 2 Ohms
EHV substations up to 220 kV 1 Ohm
Power stations and 400 kV substations 0.5 Ohms
Distribution transformer - 5 Ohms.
In order to avoid abnormal shift of the neutral
potential, earth resistance of the station earthing
system shall be normally less than or equal to 1ohm.

Earthing System