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I S Jha Oommen Chandy* R.K.Sarkar A.B.Singh

Power Grid Corporation of India India Limited
New Delhi, INDIA

POWERGRID commissioned its first 765/400/220kV Air Insulated Substation (AIS) in India at Seoni
in 2007. The objective of Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (POWERGRID) is to create a strong
and vibrant National Grid in the country. Establishment of the ultimate National Grid is on fast track
and a number of projects are under implementation in this direction. For bulk power transmission
across regions in the country, 765 kV and 1200kV transmission lines have been planned alongwith
600/800kV DC transmission lines. In order to handle bulk power of the order of 6000MW, techno-
economic design of 765kV substation by careful selection of switchgears and substation materials not
only w.r.t reliability but also w.r.t electrical fields, corona,RIV, magnetic field and other aspects for its
smooth operation & maintenance assumes significance in this regard. This paper describes various
challenges in the techno-economic design of UHV AIS substation and the improvements made based
on experience / feedback gained from Seoni substation


765kV Air Insulated substation substation-Salient Design- Experience-Failure-Future challanges

1. Introduction

There has been phenomenal expansion in the Power Sector since Indian Independence. After
constructing a large network of 400 kV transmission system some 25 years back, activities started in
India for identification of next higher voltage level transmission system of 765kV for long-distance
bulk power flow requirement in the future. The first 765kV Sipat-Seoni line was commissioned in
2007 in western part of India and the first 765kV Seoni substation in India is in operation for more
than four years. More than 30 AIS substations of 765kV are in different stages of construction which
are targeted to be commissioned within next one and half years as shown in figure.1.

21, rue dArtois, F-75008 PARIS B3-113 CIGRE 2012
http : //www.cigre.org
India first

Figure 1. 765kV Transmission Line network

2. Salient Design Considerations

2.1 Switching Scheme: A typical 765kV substation consist of 2 nos. 765kV Line bays alongwith 3
nos. 765/400kV, 1500MVA Autotransformer (3 nos. of 500 MVA single phase unit with one
unit as a spare) bays, 2 nos.765kV , 240 MVAR Line Reactor ( 3 nos. of 80 MVAR single phase
unit)and 1 no. 765kV,240 MVAR Bus Reactor (3 nos. of 80 MVAR single phase unit ) bay.For
765kV substation, breaker and half switching scheme has been selected as shown in Figure.2

Figure 2. Single Line Diagram of 765kV substation


2.2 System Parameters

Following major system parameters have been for 765kV substation as mentioned in table-I
Table-I : System Parameter for 765kV substation
Description of Parameter 765kV system
System operating vaoltage 765kV
Maximum operating voltage of the system (rms) 800kV
Lightning impulse withstand Voltage(1.2/50 micro sec) 2100kVp
Switching impulse withstand voltage(250/2500 micro sec) 1550kVp
One minute power frequency dry withstand voltage (rms) 830kV
Corona Extinction Voltage (rms) 508kV
Minimum creepage distance (25mm/kV) 20000 mm

Based on the above system parameters following electrical clearances has been considered for
765kV substation as mentioned in table-II.
Table-II : Air-gap / Live-metal clearance
Phase to Phase 7600mm (for conductor- conductor configuration)
9400mm (for rod- conductor configuration)
Phase to Earth 4900mm (for conductor-structure)
6400mm (for rod-structure)
Sectional Clearances 10300 mm

In 765kV substation following spacing have been adopted considering above clearances and
other design aspects like swing of conductors etc . as mentioned in table-III
Table-III : Electrical spacing
Phase to Phase Spacing 15 meters
Phase to Earth Spacing 7.5 meters
Sectional Clearances 10.3 meters

2.3 Selection of Conductor
A tubular bus of 120mm tube has been used for the first bus level to eliminate the tensions
produced on the equipment terminal by short circuit induced pinch effect in a bundled
conductor. For second and third level, Quad Bull All Aluminum Conductor (AAC) of size
38.25 mm diameter with 450mm sub conductor spacing was selected based on Electric field
and magnetic field consideration to restrict electric field of 10kV / meter and magnetic field of
500 micro Tesla at 1.8 meter above ground level. For this purpose at some locations, where
all the three levels (i.e. equipment level, Bus level & line take off level) are crossing, the
shield wire was provided at the height of equipment support structures as shown in Figure-3.

Figure 3. Shield Wire at the equipment support structure

The cases studied and the values of electric field and magnetic field obtained for different
configuration to select conductor configuration is shown in Table IV and Figure 4
Shield wire

Table IV: Electrical and Magnetic field calculation

considered in
Level 1
at height
of 14
Levels 2 at height
of 27 meter and
Level 3 at height
of 39 meter
Quad Bull AAC
conductor with
bundle spacing
level shield
wire at
height of
field at
height of
1.8 meters
field at
height of
1.8 meters
120 450
1 Level 1&3 - 9.6 57
2 Level 1,2& 3 - 11.4 76.3
3 Level 1,2, 3 &
shield wire
9.2 76.3

Figure 4. Electrical field at height of 1.8 meters

Apart from the selection criteria of normal current carrying capability, short circuit capability,
bundle configuration etc., case studies have been carried out for corona extinction voltage to keep
minimum corona extinction voltage of 508kV rms phase to ground and maximum voltage gradient
of 21.1kVrms/cm. The result of maximum gradient for different case studies are indicated in table-
Table V: Case study for Voltage Gradient

Maximum gradient per phase (kVrms/cm)
Level 1
(Tubular busbar of
120mm diameter)

Level 2
(Quad AAC Bull
conductor of diameter
38.25mm with
450mm sub-conductor
Level 3
(Quad AAC Bull
conductor of diameter
38.25 mm with 450mm
sub-conductor spacing)
Shield Wire

L1R L1B L1Y L2R L2B L2Y L3R L3B L3Y 1 2
1 13.8 14.4 13.8 - - - - - - - -
2 13.2 14.2 13.2 - - - 15.6 17.3 15.6 - -
3 12.0 13.3 12.0 12.6 13.4 12.6 14.1 16.3 14.1 - -
4 12.4 13.3 12.4 13.3 15.1 13.3 14.1 16.3 14.1 17.3 17.3
10 20 30 40
Distance from origin (m)





2.4 Selection of levels
Based on the results from table-IV and table-V following level have been selected for 765kV
Level 1: Equipment level 14.0 meter
Level 2: Bus level - 27 meter
Level 3: Line take off level - 39 meter
Shield wire - 45 meter

Figure 5 : Different levels of substation

2.5 Tower Configuration

To economize the structure
foundations, Pie() type tower
configuration for 765kV switchyard
has been considered with 30 meter
beam witdh & phase to phase spacing
of 15 meter .Further Polymer
Insulator strings have been considered
to reduce the weight on structure.

Figure6. Pie () type tower
3. Challenges faced in 765kV AIS substation

3.1 Transformer and Reactors switching arrangement through Disconnectors
Single phase transformers and Reactors have been used with the provision of spare unit of
transformer & reactors, The spare phase transformer and reactor has been arranged in such a
manner that spare unit can be replaced with any of the units without physically shifting of
spare unit of transformer & reactor. In case of use of spare phase unit of transformer or
reactor, phase opposition conditions arises across the disconnector points connected with
auxiliary buses as shown in figure-7 Due to which minimum air clerances of 9400mm
between isolator terminals are required. Since isolating distance between disconnector
terminals of disconnector is less than 7200mm, additional disconnector in series has been
Bull Cond.)
Take off
level (Quad
bull cond.)

provided to take care phase opposition condition. Therefore there is a need of designing
765kV disconnectors meeting phase opposition requirement.

Figure 7. Transformer switching through Isolator

3.2 Compatibility of control switching devices of different makes
Control switching has been used in 765kV Circuit Breaker for control switching of
transformer and Reactors as shown in figure 8. In case of installation of additional
transformer bank and Reactor bank in future substation extension , control switching device
of different make of circuit breaker may or may not be compatible with each other.
Therefore there should be a common guideline for circuit Breaker manufacturers to design
their control switching device compatible to each other.

Figure 8. Control switching device of different make


4.0 Design challenges from operational experience of 765kV substation

4.1 Failure of composite insulator
In Seoni substation, 765kV polymer insulator
strings had failed after commissioning of the
substation. The cause and mitigation measures
taken w.r.t. the corona damage occurred in the
765kV polymer insulator string in Seoni has been
an eye opener in the area of corona and
electomagnetic field control in UHV substations.
Simulation studies for field distribution had been
carried out to address this problem. On analysis
of voltage distribution it was observed that
corona strike from the metal parts of tension
fitting and corona shield resulted in gradual wear
and tear of composite insulator. All insulator
replaced with providing additional corona ring at
the bottom as shown in Figure-9(c).

Figure 9(b) Corona observed on insulator Figure 9(c) Modified insulator with corona ring

4.2 Failure of Circuit Breaker during type testing

Considering the voltage profile, the voltage factor for capacitive current switching duty of 765 kV CB
was specified as 1.4 (against the IEC requirement of 1.2. ). The circuit breaker was earlier type tested
for C2 duty with 1.2 voltage factor. But the same circuit breaker failed to pass the capacitive current
switching duty C2 test when tested with a voltage factor of 1.4. The test was repeated with higher SF6
gas pressure and precise alignment of contacts, still the CB failed to clear this duty. Finally the nozzle
design was modified and the test was successfully completed.

4.3 Observation of Corona on equipment
After commissioning of the 765kV Seoni substation , Corona was observed on certain locations
predominantly on T point section jumper of Disconnector switches and Corona bell (as shown in
Figure 10. To overcome this problem corona bells and corona rings on Disconnector switches were
modified. It is observed that corona ring of equipment should be designed based on the location of
equipment in the switchyard instead of adopting standard practice of providing Corona ring as a part
of equipment.
Figure 9(a) Insulator failure
All insulator replaced with providing additional
ring at the bottom

Figure 10 Corona problem on equipment terminal

Figure 11 connecting strip of SA

Figure 12 Rupture disc of CT

4.4 Corona problem in 765kV Surge Arrestor
During type testing of 765kV Surge Arrestor, Corona /RIV problem was observed. On analysis it was
found that welding of strips connecting top ring & bottom ring from outside and sharp edge of this
strip was causing Corona & RIV problem. With the shifting of connecting strip inside the rings, this
problem was overcome as shown in Figure 11 above.

4.5 Leakage of SF6 gas from 765kV Current Transformer
After commissioning, SF6 gas leakage took place in few CTs due to the bursting of rupture disc . After
analysis it was concluded that rupture discs were damaged in transportation as shown in figure 12 and
13. As a precautionary measure, all rupture disc were replaced with modified version of rupture disc.

6. Bibliography
i. EPRI Transmission Line Reference Book - 200 kV and above.
ii. Hifreq software for electric and magnetic field calculation.
iii. POWERGRID Seoni site feedback
iv. POWERGRID Experience and Technical Specification
Figure 13 Black spot inside the housing
analysis was found as a graphite
particle caused by the rupture disc
during bursting