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21, rue d'Artois, F-75008 Paris


Session 2002


Peng Baoshu

Rao Hong

Yu Jianguo

State Power South Company

( China )

H.J. Albrecht

H. Huang

H.P. Lips

K. Sadek


Siemens AG

Summary The Tian-Guang HVDC power transmission

system delivers 1800 MW over 960 km from West China
to South China. The HVDC transmission system is an
important power link in the Southern China electric
power network and transfers bulk power to Guangzhou
area together with 500kV AC lines in parallel. This paper
introduces first the overall aspects like project schedule
and design/performance criteria of the HVDC
transmission system. It highlights major technical
features and main components of this transmission
scheme including state of the art converter valves,
converter transformer, ac filters and active DC filters.
Several innovative products and methods used in this
project are highlighted. The basic control concept
including power modulation functions is discussed.
During system tests the HVDC scheme as whole was
tested to verify the system performance. The experience
gained during the commissioning tests and the subsequent
commercial operation are reported.
Key Words: Active Filter - Converter Transformer,
HVDC Transmission - MRTB - Thyristor Valve


The Tian-Guang HVDC power transmission system

delivers 1800 MW over 960 km from the converter
station ( Bipolar 2x900MW ) at Tianshengqiao (TSQ) in
Guangxi Province to the Guangzhou (GZ) converter
station in Guangdong Province. Both converter stations
are connected to the respective 220 kV ac networks. The
HVDC transmission system is an important power link in
the Southern China electric power network and transfers

bulk power to the Guangzhou area together with 500kV

AC lines in parallel. A reliable HVDC link among the ac
interconnected systems increases efficiently the power
transmission capacity between and within the involved
networks. The Tian-Guang HVDC scheme allows bidirectional control of power interchange and improves the
reliability and dynamic performance of both connected
AC systems. Additionally the converter stations can also
provide the advantage to control the reactive power
exchange with the connected AC grids and thus the ac
system voltage.

The contract for delivery of the converter station

equipment was effected by the Owner (State Power South
Company) and the Contractor (Siemens AG) on 14
February, 1997.
The scope of the Contractor comprises the design
studies, architectural design, design and manufacturing of
electrical equipment and components, delivery to site,
supervision of on site installation and commissioning. The
Owner was responsible for execution of civil work,
provision of the AC switchyard at both converter stations,
construction of the DC overhead transmission line and
both corresponding ground electrodes near both converter
The project execution was performed according
agreed time schedule. A major adjustment in schedule
was necessary due to changes of site area in the
Guangzhou converter station. Therefore, the start of
erection of converter station equipment on site was shifted

State Power South Company, 116 Tianhe Road, Guangzhou, 510620, PR China
Siemens AG, PTD H176, Paul-Gossen-Str. 100, 91052 Erlangen, Germany


to April 2000 at TSQ side and to May 2000 at GZ side.

The station and system tests were started in November
2000. Due to joint effort of all involved project parties
and smooth project execution the intensive test program
could be conducted within an extremely short time period.
Less than two months later on 26 December, 2000 the
first pole went into trial operation. On 26 June, 2001 the
second pole went into trial operation. The commercial
operation of the whole bipolar scheme started from July
27, 2001 on time.



Power Transmission Capacity

The 960 km long distance HVDC transmission system

is carried out in a 500 kV bipolar scheme. The power
single line diagram of the Tian-Guang HVDC project is
shown in Fig. 1.

HVDC Station

HVDC Station

DC Overhead Line

Smoothing Reactor

C Bus

DC Filter

the rated DC current of 1800 A with all redundant cooling

equipment in service. In order to optimize the filter and
converter transformer design the capability of the valves
to operate at high firing angles combined with an
extended range of the tap-changer is used for such special
modes of operation.


Tian-Guang HVDC system is designed for operation

in the following configurations:
Bipolar mode
Monopolar metallic return
Monopolar ground return
Parallel line conductor monopolar ground return
Furthermore, in order to meet the overall availability
requirements, the transfer between any operation
configurations shall be conducted without transmission
interruption. This requires installation of
switches in the dc switch yards. One MRTB (Metallic
Return Transfer Breaker) and one MRS (Metallic Return
Switch) are installed at the rectifier station TSQ . The
main task of the MRTB is to transfer current from the low
impedance ground return path to the relatively high
impedance metallic return path, whereas the main task of
the MRS is to transfer current from the high impedance
metallic return path to the low impedance ground return

2 AC Filter
1 C-Bank

2 AC Filter
1 C-Bank

2 AC Filter
1 C-Bank

2 AC Filter
1 C-Bank

2 AC Filter
2 C-Bank

2 AC Filter
2 C-Bank

Fig. 1: Schematic Single line diagram

The bipolar system is rated for a continuous power of

1800 MW ( 500 kV,1800 A) at the DC terminal of the
rectifier converter station. The converter stations are
designed to transmit full rated power up to a maximum
ambient dry bulb temperature of 40C without redundant
cooling system in service. With redundant cooling a
continuous overload of 110% of rated load is achievable.
Additionally the DC transmission permits a 3 seconds
overload of 1.5 p.u. power.
The HVDC interconnection scheme is capable of
continuous operation at a reduced DC voltage of 400 kV
(80%) and 350 kV (70%) from minimum current up to

Operation Configurations

Performance Requirements

A high degree of energy availability was a major

design objective. This design goal is achieved mainly by
minimizing the downtimes using high quality products,
fast fault detection as well as effective repair and
maintenance strategies. Fault-tolerant control systems,
redundancy, spare components and quality assurance
ensure high component and system reliability. To provide
the highest level of reliability and availability and hence
quality of the HVDC control and protection system
intensive off-site tests (e.g. functional performance test)
were performed. The energy availability for both stations
together is guaranteed to be more than 99.5 %, and
respectively a forced energy unavailability less than 0.5
%. The forced outage rate shall be less than 6 outages per
pole and year.
Low loss design was of central importance for
technical and economical optimizations. This resulted in
converter station designs with total losses (excluding DC
lines) of approximately 12-13 MW per station at 1800
MW of transmission power.


Reactive Power Requirements


Since the TSQ converter stations is directly connected

to the substation of the hydropower stations, the reactive
power demand of the HVDC converters can be partly
covered ( up to 330 MVAr) by the hydro power
generators. In order to balance the reactive flow to the
TSQ AC system at rated power 9 x 80 MVAr Q-elements
are installed. These Q-elements are individually
switchable and are configured in three filter banks, which
are connected to the station bus bar as shown
schematically in Fig. 2. On the GZ side, the converter
station is connected to the 220 kV sub-station and further
via two autotransformers to the 500 kV system. A full
compensation is realized by installation of 11 subbanks of
100 MVAr each. The total reactive power supply is
splitted into three banks as shown in Fig. 3. The reactive
power supply equipment is capable of regulating the
reactive power interchange with the AC system within
80 MVAr (TSQ) and 100 MVAr (GZ) in the whole
power range and with one sub-bank out of service. All
shunt capacitors are equipped with current limiting

Shunt C
80 MVAr

DT 12/24
80 MVAr

DT 12/24 DT 3/36
80 MVAr 80 MVAr

AC Filter Bank 1

Continuous R&D and many years of experience have

led to a design of the thyristor valves which meets the
highest requirements with respect to fire resistance,
seismic robustness, efficient corrosion-free cooling as
well as reliability and easy maintenance.

DT 12/24 Shunt C
80 MVAr 80 MVAr

AC Filter Bank 2

DT 12/24
80 MVAr

DT 3/36
80 MVAr

Shunt C
80 MVAr

Fig. 4: Tian Guang Quardruple Valves on Site

AC Filter Bank 3

Fig. 2: Reactive Power Arrangement at TSQ Station

AC Filters at Guangzhou Side

AC Bus
230 kV, 50 Hz

Thyristor Valves

AC Filters at TSQ Side

AC Bus
230 kV, 50 Hz




DT 12/24 DT 3/36 Shunt C

100 MVAr 100 MVAr 100 MVAr

AC Filter Bank 1

DT 12/24 DT 12/24 Shunt C Shunt C

100 MVAr 100 MVAr 100 MVAr 100 MVAr

AC Filter Bank 2

DT 12/24 DT 3/36
Shunt C Shunt C
100 MVAr 100 MVAr 100 MVAr 100 MVAr

AC Filter Bank 3

Fig. 3: Reactive Power Arrangement at GZ Station

The thyristor valves for the Tian-Guang HVDC

Project successfully passed all high voltage and
operational tests according to the owners specification
without any thyristor or other component failure, thus
exceeding the requirements. Figure 4 depicts the fully
assembled quadruple valves or multiple valve unit (MVU)
installed in a valve hall on site. Each valve comprises 78
thyristor levels (three redundant) and 24 non-linear
reactors distributed to three thyristor modules. The three
modules forming a valve are arranged in the twin tower.
A thyristor level consists of a 4 8 kV flatpack thyristor, a
single snubber resistor and capacitor as well as the
thyristor electronics. The latter includes a backup trigger
circuit besides its primary task as a gating unit. Likewise,
it comprises the electronic logic for individual thyristor
supervision as well as for conversion of optical control
signals received via fiber optics from the valve base
electronics (VBE). The MVU is suspended from the
ceiling and all joints between modules like suspension

insulators, buswork, and piping are flexibly designed for

maximum seismic stresses. Cooling water and fiber optics
are supplied from the top, which is at low DC voltage
level. In this way, the number of insulating surfaces in the
valve hall that are subjected to high DC voltage and thus
contamination, is minimized. Three MVUs are arranged
side by side forming a 12-pulse group for the 900 MW



The performance limits shall be met over whole load

range with any one subbank out of service. Two types of
filters (DT 12/14 and DT 3/36) are used to provide the
necessary filtering . In order to improve the harmonic
performance, the current limiting reactors of shunt
capacitors are chosen such as to build resonance circuits
at the 36th or 48th harmonic frequencies.

Converter Transformer

Single-phase three-winding units (six plus one spare at

each station) with the following main electrical data have
been used:

Rated power [MVA]

Rated Voltage
-line side winding [kV]
-valve side winding
wye winding [kV]
delta winding [kV]
Leakage Reactance
Tap Changer Range
Step Size
Insulation Level
- line side LIWL [kV]
- valve side LIWL [kV]
wye winding
delta winding
* Spare units





15 %
-6% to +16%






AC Harmonic Filters

Double tuned damped passive filters are used at both

converter stations to meet the specified harmonic
performance requirements :
- Individual harmonic distortion
- Total effective harmonic distortion
1.75 / 1.5 %
- Telephone harmonic form factor

Fig. 5 shows the single-line diagram and the

corresponding AC filter circuits used at both converter
stations. The advantage of using double-tuned filter
circuits combined with additional high-pass damping
resistors is an excellent performance in the whole range of

DT 3/36






DT 12/24















Smoothing Reactor

Taking all design aspects into account it was found out

that a 150 mH smoothing reactor per station is an
adequate size. The established DC filter arrangement
especially the installation of an active DC filter,
associated to this reactor size, ensures that the specified
requirements are met. The smoothing reactor is installed
outdoor and is of air core dry type design and thus
maintenance free.
The smoothing reactor has the following main design
Rated Voltage
Rated Current
Insulation Level
Total height
Air coil weight

150 mH
500 kV dc
1800 A dc
1425 kV LIWL to ground
1300 kV LIWL across coil
1313 cm
37 ton

Fig. 5: Harmonic Filters and Shunt Capacitors


Active DC Harmonic Filters

DC filters are installed in both converter stations in

order to reduce harmonic currents flowing in the DC lines
down to specified performance limits. Each filter consists
of a conventional passive filter tuned to the 12th and 24th
harmonic connected in series with an active voltage
source of 200 kVA rating. In order to provide additional
redundancy, one additional complete dc filter branch is
installed at each converter station. This redundant filter
branch can be connected to either pole as required. All
switching actions can be performed during poles
energized. The active part of a DC filter is of compact
design and is installed in a standard container including
all auxiliaries. In case that the active part is out of service,

the passive part can remain in operation and still provides

a considerably good filtering effect.


Optical DC Measuring Device

To control and protect HVDC systems the direct

current measured value is one of the most important
quantities used. In the past the direct current could only
be measured using transducers of zero-flux type.
Nowadays the state of the art is the new Hybrid-Optical
Direct Current Measuring System using an ohmic shunt.
The voltage drop across the shunt, which is proportional
to the DC current, is measured and digitized by a light
powered electronic circuit located in the same housing as
the shunt at high voltage potential. The measured signal is
transmitted as a serial telegram via a fiber optic link to
ground potential.
Measuring of harmonic current content is performed
by implementation of a Rogowski coil in the same piece
of equipment, also connected via fiber optic link. The
most important features are:
- no electromagnetic interference to the measured
value due to fiber optic system
- excellent dynamic performance
- high accuracy
- built in redundancy



Based on the switching requirements the MRTB and

the MRS consist of a DCHSS (dc high speed switch), i.e.
a single phase unit of an AC breaker appropriately
modified for the DC application, and additional
equipment (reactor, capacitor, energy absorber) for the
required current transfer. Figure 6 shows the principal
arrangement for the MRTB and MRS:





Figure 6: Principal Arrangement of MRTB and MRS

The basic function principle of such a DC current

commutation circuit is well described in [1]. It shall be
noted that the magnitude of the DCHSS arc voltage is
generally favorable for current commuatation, however,
the negative voltage-current characteristics of the arc is
much more decisive for the excitation of high frequency

oscillation, which is actually responsible to bring the dc

current out of the DCHSS and initiate the commutation
process. Therefore, selection of a breaker unit with an
adequate arc characteristics is essential for the proper
functionality of the MRTB/MRS. In the former DC
projects the DCHSS was often of the minimum oil type or
compressed air type. Although there are several
quotations in the literature to develop DCHSS using a
SF6 breaker [2-3], in the Tian-Guang project it is the first
time to authors knowledge that a modern SF6 type ac
breaker has performed successfully the dc commutation
functions in a real operating HVDC scheme (see section
5). The DCHSS used in the Tian-Guang scheme is a
conventional ac breaker with two series interrupter units.
There is no any active auxiliary system to initiate the
required oscillations. The switching capability of the
used DCHSS has been successfully type tested up to dc
current of 2.6 kA (Fig. 7).

Control and Protection

The following basic steady state control concept is

DC current control at rectifier
DC voltage control at inverter to keep the DC voltage
at the rectifier constant.
Tap-changer control to keep the firing/extinction
angle within a limited range at both converter stations
(rectifier: 12.5 - 17.5, inverter 17 19.5)
It should be noted that in this project the dc voltage
control is utilized as primary control method for the
normal closed loop control mode at the inverter instead of
- control, which can be often found in other DC
With control the extinction angle of the converter is
controlled to a nominal minimum value typically in the
range of 17. The tap changer control at the inverter then
controls the inverter DC terminal voltage such that the
rectifier DC terminal voltage is maintained within a band
around the nominal dc voltage of 1 p.u., the dc voltage
variation during operation depends on several parameters
such as the tap changer positions.
Using DC Voltage Control Method the inverter
controls the DC voltage of the inverter terminals such that
the rectifier DC voltage is maintained at a constant value
of 1.0 p.u.. In this mode of control the tap changer is
either controlled to maintain within a defined ranged or
to maintain the Udio (valve AC voltage) at a constant
The inverter DC voltage control offers increased AC
voltage stability compared to the min control due to the
inherent opposite reactions to AC commutating voltage
changes. In Ud control, if there is an increase in AC

system voltage the Ud controller reacts to decrease

which increases the reactive power of the converter and
reduces the AC voltage increase giving a positive
controlling or damping effect on the AC system voltage.
In min control, if there is an increase in AC system
voltage the controller reacts to increase which reduces
the reactive power of the converter. This tends to increase
the AC voltage and therefore has a negative damping
effect on the AC voltage.
This inherent feature of Ud control becomes more
beneficial with decreasing inverter AC system strength or
at multiple HVDC in-feed system, which will be the case
in a few years for the receiving end of the Tian-Guang
HVDC link. The positive AC system voltage damping
effect with Ud control tends to decrease the negative
impact on neighboring inverters.
The Tian-Guang HVDC system operates with two 500
kV AC systems in parallel and transmits jointly bulk
power from West to South. The power controllability of
the HVDC link is utilized to stabilize the parallel ac links
during transient situations. The following power
modulation functions are implemented in the HVDC
DC active power modulation using ac frequencies
from both connected ac system as input to damp
potential power swings in the AC systems at faults
and thus to stabilize the whole ac system
Frequency limiter function at the rectifier side to
provide support during islanded situation
Power limitation function at the inverter side for
some line outage conditions at the inverter station.
Power run up/back functions available for use to the
Owners System Stability Control Device , which has
direct connections to the HVDC controls [4].
The control and protection systems in each converter
station of the HVDC transmission system are following
the modern concept of decentralized installation. The
central controls are located in the control room, all local
controls are within relay houses in the switchyard. The
communication between the control room and the relay
houses is performed using a redundant fieldbus. The
central controllers are interconnected via a local area
network. The HVDC system can be operated either
remotely via the Remote Terminal Unit or locally via the
Initiation and Monitoring workstations.
Tailor-made protection systems for HVDC
applications co-ordinated with the pole control and the
AC systems protection are responsible for selective fault
clearing, respectively prevention of damage of HVDC
components. Diagnosis of faulty conditions is assisted by
the Sequence of Events Recording and Transient Fault
Recorder time synchronized via a GPS controlled master



In order to meet high quality requirements and to

minimize the effort during the commissioning tests on
site, the HVDC control and protection system had to pass
integrated system tests prior to delivery. The dynamic
performance of the HVDC control and protection system
was checked on the HVDC Hybrid Real Time Digital
Simulator and additionally
with a comprehensive
EMTDC digital model, while the functionality and the
interfaces of all control and protection equipment were
tested with a real time digital simulator during Functional
Performance Test. Such off-site tests could verify and
optimize the HVDC performance in early project stage.
This enabled the short and smooth commissioning
program on site.
The on site test program was extensive and
corresponded to the scope given in the IEEE guide 13781997. After completion of equipment installation and
respective subsystem tests, station tests were performed
to demonstrate the station related functionality. During
station tests the converter was first energized but without
load current, like pole blocked or open line tests. In order
to test the equipment current capability individually at
each station, one special test called Zero MW Test was
included in the station test program. During Zero MW
Test the involved converter pole was short circuited
behind the smoothing reactor. In this case the converter
has nearly zero dc voltage by operating at a firing angle of
about 90 , while the dc current was controlled at predetermined level up to 900 A. Due to the excessive firing
angle at high dc current the proper valve design including
the valve cooling system could be well demonstrated.
During this test a infrared camera was used to scan any
unusual hot spots in the high current circuit. Indeed two
or three loose connections were found in this way, which
demonstrated clearly the usefulness of such kind of tests.
The end to end tests (system tests) were performed to
verify the system steady state and dynamic behaviors. An
example for the steady state tests is the AC harmonic
filter performance test. Following test results were
obtained, which meet the specified requirements:
Individual harmonic distortion
0.60 %
Total effective harmonic distortion 0.92 %
Telephone harmonic form factor
0.50 %

0.60 %
0.93 %
0.93 %

The dynamic behavior of HVDC system was verified

in different dynamic tests, such as step response and
recovery after faults. The test results demonstrated good
agreement with the results from off-line EMTDC

simulation and from the real time simulator as well, which

confirmed the adequacy of the EMTDC and the RTDC
simulator model developed for this project. Another
example for the adequacy of digital simulation in HVDC
design is the verification tests at MRTB.

The early operation experience of this HVDC link is

promising and the good overall performance is expected
to continue in future.

During design stage the functionality and equipment

stress of MRTB have been investigated using transient
simulation program EMTDC in details. An arc model
representing the DCHSS was developed and verified. The
simplified equivalent circuit used for calculating steady
state conditions and switching duties (commutating and
making current) of the MRTB and the MRS is shown in
figure 8. Transfer from Ground Return to Metallic Return
Mode is done in two steps :
Step 1:MRS closes and makes a maximum current
corresponding to the ratio of metallic return resistance to
the groud return resistance. For the Tian Guang project
this is approximately about 10% of the total dc current,
while the rest flows in the parallel circuit with closed
Step 2: MRTB opens and commutates the dc current
from ground to metallic return path.
Figure 9 shows the EMTDC simulation results for
transfer from ground return to metallic return during 450
MW operation (dc current =900 A). Figure 10 shows the
same case recorded during commissioning tests. The
whole commutating process takes less than 40 ms, while
the high frequency current oscillation is very short and
not visible in the recorded curves. As soon as the DCHSS
in MRTB opens the current is commutated from DCHSS
to the parallel circuit. Due to charging of neutral bus
capacitor (15uF), there is dip in the current through
MRTB (I_dee3). Then the parallel arrester in MRTB
takes over the current to force the current completely into
metallic return path. It is evident that the simulation
model agrees well with the system real behavior. It means
the commutation capability and equipment stress of
MRTB used can be well predicted by using this verified
breaker model.

[1] M.P. Husler, et.al. , Application and switching duties of high speed
switches in the dc switchyard of HVDC stations, [Cigre Session 1980,
Paper 14-02]

Since the HVDC scheme went into commercial

operation in July, 2001, it plays an important role as one
of the main power transmission channels in the South
China Power Grid. The power loading of the link remains
at a high level. The overall performance is satisfactory. At
the time of this writing, the number of operating hours is
not sufficient to permit a statistically relevant evaluation.
However, the availability of the HVDC system is high. So
far only few temporary pole outages have been
experienced during commercial operation, which were
caused mainly by typical reasons such as lightning faults
on the overhead lines, oversensitive protection settings
etc.. The modulation functions of HVDC scheme have
become an integrated part in the System Stability Control
Device and provides necessary system stability support.


[2] D. Andersson, et. al., Passive and Active DC Breaker in the Three
Gorges Changzhou HVDC Project, [Proc. of Int. Conf. on Power
Systems, p391-395, Sep. 2001, Wuhan, China ]
[3] H. Nakao, et.al., DC current interruption in HVDC SF6 gas MRTB
by means of self-excited oscillation superimposition, [IEEE Tran. on
Power Delivery, Vol. 16, No. 4, Oct. 2001, p687-693]
[4] Jing Yong, et.al. , Control schemes in Tian-Guang AC and DC
parallel transmission, [Proc. of Int. Conf. on Power Systems, p325-329,
Sep. 2001, Wuhan, China]

Fig. 7: Commutation Type Test of MRTB

1. curve: voltage over DCHSS;
2. curve: current in DCHSS,
3. curve: current in resonance circuit L/C,
4. curve: current in parallel arrester

















Figure 8: Equivalent Circuit Diagram for MRTB / MRS Switching Requirements

Indexes: EL=electrode line, M=metallic return conductor, EE=ground electrode, E=Earth

Figure 9: Simulation Results of MRTB with EMTDC, load condition: 500 kV dc, 900 A dc

Figure 10: Test Results of MRTB during commissioning tests, load condition: 500 kV dc, 900 A dc