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Energy xxx (2009) 111

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Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/energy

An overview of power transmission systems in China


Zhou Xiaoxin*, Yi Jun, Song Ruihua, Yang Xiaoyu, Li Yan, Tang Haiyan
China Electric Power Research Institute, Beijing, China

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In the past 20 years, Chinas economy has grown rapidly, but so has the countrys power industry. This
Received 13 July 2007 paper provides a comprehensive introduction on the current status and the future development of the
Received in revised form power transmission systems and grids, which include HVAC and HVDC transmissions, regional power
19 December 2008
grids and grid interconnections, several important operational issues, e.g., stability problems that Chinas
Accepted 20 April 2009
power grids face, new technologies for increasing transmission capacity, and stabilizing the grids, and so
Available online xxx
on. Under the constructed UHVAC and UHVDC, some pilot projects and planned future development of
UHVAC and UHVDC transmission systems are also introduced.
Keywords:
Power industry 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Transmission system
Power grid
Grid interconnection
New technology
Power system stability

1. Introduction strengthen the interconnection of large regional grids. Four


synchronous grids interconnected by HVDC are being planned to be
Chinas electric power industry was started at the end of the established nationwide by the year 2020.
19th century [1]. Since 1949, the time when the Peoples Republic of The rapid development of Chinas power grids creates oppor-
China was established, this industry has been growing very fast. By tunities but also presents challenges for the operation and control
the end of the 20th century, the total generating capacity of Chinas of the grids. Some operation security problems like the transient
power industry was already placed second in the world. AC/DC stability, the voltage stability, and the low frequency oscillation
transmission systems with 500 kV, 330 kV, and 220 kV AC lines, have to be resolved, too. At the same time, for rapid load increase
and 500 kV DC lines were formed. There were 6 regional grids and and environmental protection, the transmission capacity of the
3 independent provincial grids in the main land of China. After the corridors must be increased. To overcome these challenges, Chinese
year 2000, with the rapid development of the national economy, researchers have already started to develop new technologies,
Chinas power industry went into a new developing period. The including exible AC transmission system (FACTS) technologies, the
development of interconnection of regional grids accelerated, and compact line, operation and control technologies of HVAC/HVDC
the goal of forming a nationwide power gird was preliminary hybrid system, and so on. In the foreseeable future, these tech-
achieved in 2005. At the same time, according to the distribution of nologies will be widely applied to Chinas power grids to help
resources and loads, China put forward its Power Transmission ensure the security of the grids.
from the West to the East plan and then carried it out step-by-step.
As a part of the plan, China will develop new 1000 kV UHVAC and 2. Overview of the development of Chinas power industry
800 kV UHVDC transmission system in order to signicantly and power transmission systems
increase the transfer capability under three important transmission
corridors, i.e., the north, mid, and south. These corridors can In 1882, the origin of the Shanghai Electrical Company
transfer sufcient power from the hydro and coal red power symbolized the beginning of Chinas power industry [16]. By the
plants in the West to the East where economic development is end of 1949, the total installed capacity was 1.85 GW. After 1949,
much more advanced. In the next 1020 years, China will Chinas power industry developed much faster. The annual total
installed capacity increased by 10%. In the two years, 1987 and
1995, the total capacity exceeded 100 GW and 200 GW, respec-
* Corresponding author. Fax: 86 10 62913126. tively. In 1996, the total capacity reached to stand at the second
E-mail address: xxzhou@epri.ac.cn (Z. Xiaoxin). place in the world. Since 2000, Chinas GDP has increased 10%

0360-5442/$ see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.energy.2009.04.016

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annually; correspondingly, the countrys power industry entered North China Power Grid, the Central China Power Grid including
into a new prosperous period. The total installed capacity reached (the Chuanyu Power Grid) was formed. In 2004, this inter-regional
300 GW in April 2000, 400 GW in May 2004, and 500 GW in gird was interconnected with the South China Power Grid by a DC
December 2005. The power generation of 2005 was 2414 TWh, at line from the Three Gorges to the Guangdong province. In July
a 13.3% increase of the previous year. In 2006, the installed capacity 2005, a back-to-back DC project interconnected the Northwest
exceeded 622 GW. It is estimated that the development of Chinas China Power Grid and the Central China Power Grid, completing the
power industry will keep growing in the next 1020 years. By 2020, nationwide grid interconnection. Later, with the completion of the
the total installed capacity is expected to exceed 1500 GW. Three Gorge hydro plant and the Three Gorge transmission system,
Chinas power grid has passed through several periods. Before a large AC and DC transmission system including the Central China
1949, it developed very slowly, with a small scale. By the end of Power Grid and the East China Power Grid was formed. The fore-
1949, the total length of 20 kV or above transmission lines was casted total installed capacity is more than 200 GW. In the future,
6475 km; the total capacity of all transformer substations was with the completion of the north, middle, and south corridors in
3460 MVA. the Power Transmission from West to East plan, there will be
After 1949, the construction of Chinas power grid accelerated, a nationwide interconnected grid including the north, middle, and
and the standard for voltage level of transmission lines was east interconnected grids in China.
established, too. In 1954, the rst 220 kV power transmission
project, the Song Dong Li project in the northeast region of China
3. HVAC (EHVAC and UHVAC) transmission systems
was completed, thus, transferring power from the Fengman hydro
plant to Liaoning province which is the base of Chinas heavy
At present, transmission lines in Chinas power transmission
industry. In 1955, the rst 110 kV power transmission project,
system can be categorized into four voltage levels, i.e. 220 kV,
Beijing Dongbeijiao to Guanting project, was completed with
330 kV, 500 kV, and 750 kV [16]. The 330 kV and 500 kV trans-
transmission lines stretching 105.9 km. In 1972, the rst 330 kV
mission lines make up the backbone grids. At the end of 2005, there
power transmission project, the Liu Tian Guan project, was
were 540 500 kV lines with a total length of 63,790 km and
completed. It started from the Liujiaxia hydro plant to the Tangyu
204 500 kV substations with total transformer capacity of
substation in Mei County, Guanzhong, Shanxi province via the
282,100 MVA in major power grids. There were 154 330 kV lines
Qinan substation in Tianshui, Gansu province. The length of the
with total length of 12,842 km and 60 330 kV substations with total
transmission lines is 534 km. This project established Chinas
transformer capacity of 25.21 GVA in the Northwest China. In the
Northwest Grid across several provinces. In 1981, the rst 500 kV
1980s, the Ministry of Electric Power launched a study about higher
power transmission project, Ping Wu project, was completed. The
voltage level. According to the study, 750 kV and 1000 kV are
length of the transmission line is 594.8 km, which starts from
specied as the standard voltage levels, and they are one level
the Yaomeng power plant in Pingdingshan, Henan province to the
higher than 330 kV and 500 kV, respectively. On September 26,
Fenghuangshan substation in Wuchang, via the Shuanghe substa-
2006, the rst 750 kV AC line in China from Guanting to Lanzhou
tion in Hubei province. Later, 500 kV backbone grids were formed
was put in use. In August 2006, Chinas rst 1000 kV AC pilot
gradually in the four regional grids including several provincial
project, from Changzhi, Shanxi province via Nanyang, Henan
grids, i.e., the Central China Gird, the Northeast China Grid, the
province to Jinmeng, Hubei province, reached the stage of imple-
North China Grid, and the East China Grid. A 330 kV backbone grid
mentation. The two lines and some other lines that will be con-
was formed in the Northwest China Grid. In 1989, the 500 kV
structed in future will constitute Chinas future backbone grids.
HVDC project from Gezhouba to Shanghai was completed; the
length of the transmission lines is 1052 km, and the rated capacity
is 1200 MW. This project interconnected two regional grids in 3.1. The 330 kV AC transmission system in the Northwest China
China for the rst time. In September 2005, the rst 750 kV power Power Grid
transmission project started, which demonstrated the great prog-
ress made in Chinas power transmission technology. In the next For historical reasons, the Northwest China Power Grid is the only
1020 years, China will continuously fund the construction of ultra large regional power grid which adopts 330 kV lines to make up its
high voltage grids, and a nationwide grid with a backbone grid of backbone grid in China. In June 1972, the rst 330 kV transmission
1000 kV AC lines and 800 kV DC lines. project, the Liu Tian Guan project from Liujiaxia to Guanzhong via
With the drastic increase in the total length of transmission Tianshui, was completed and put into operation. Later, for delivering
lines and higher voltage levels, Chinas big regional grids are being the power generated by the Hancheng power plant outward, another
interconnected gradually. At the end of 1980s, the completion of 330 kV line from Hancheng to Tongchuan via Zhuangtou was built. In
the 500 kV Gezhouba to Shanghai HVDC project established the 1985, a 330 kV line from the Qingling Power Pant to the Wuyuan
trans-regional interconnection. In 2001, the North China Power substation in Sanmenxia, Henan province.was completed, and
Grid and the Northeast China Power Grid were interconnected. It another 330 kV line from Jingyuan in Gansu province to Qingtongxia
was the rst time that two big regional grids were interconnected in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region was completed. In October 1987,
via an AC line in China. In October 2001, a 500 kV AC line inter- for transmitting the outward power generated by the Longyangxia
connected the East China Power Grid and Fujian Power Grid. In May hydro plant in the Qinghai province, two 330 kV lines named Long
2002, the project to transmit power from Sichuan province to Hua and Long Hai were built. In 1990, the Daba Power Plant in Ningxia
Central China was completed, interconnecting the Chuanyu Power Hui Autonomous Region was put in use, and several 330 kV lines were
Grid and the Central China Power Grid. On May 5th, 2003, the built to connect it to the grid. Up to then, a 330 kV trans-provincial
500 kV DC line with a rated capacity of 3000 MW from the Three interconnected power grid was formed. Now, the northwest China
Gorges to Changzhou was put in to use. This line had the highest 330 kV power grid extends from Wulan, Qinghai province and
transmission capability in the world at that time, transferring Jiayuguan, Gansu province in the west, to Hancheng, Shanxi province
power from the Three Gorges hydro plant to East China. In and the Qingling power plant in the east, to Qingtongxia, Ningxia Hui
September 2003, the Central China Power Grid and the North China Autonomous Region and Yuling, Shanxi province in the north, and to
Power Grid were interconnected, and thereby an inter-regional AC Hanzhong and Ankang in Shanxi province in the south, along with
synchronized grid including the Northeast China Power Grid, the three 330 kV lines between Shanxi and Gansu province, six 330 kV

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lines between Gansu and Qinghai province, and four 330 kV lines In the next 1020 years, a 750 kV power grid will be constructed
between Gansu province and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. in Northwest China. The preliminarily determined goal is as
follows.
3.2. The 500 kV AC transmission system in major power grids By the end of 2010, the Northwest China 750 kV backbone
power network will form a shape which looks like a letter A. The
From 1981, when the rst 500 kV line was built to the year 2005, Laxiwa hydro plant in Qinghai province is the vertex, and Guanz-
China had built many 500 kV lines with a total length of 61,308 km. hong in the Shanxi province and Ningdong in the Ningxia Hui
At present, except for the Northwest China Power Grid, the back- Autonomous Region are the supporting points of the letter. In the
bone grid of each Chinas big regional power grids is made up of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a 750 kV power grid will be
500 kV lines. Until 2005, there were 115 500 kV lines with total built too, and the main Northwest China Power Grid and Xinjiang
length of 14,157 km and 74 transformers with a total capacity of Power Grid will be interconnected by 750 kV AC lines. Thus, a large
54.32 GVA in 50 500 kV substations in the North China Power Grid, interconnected synchronized power grid including Shanxi, Gansu,
43 500 kV lines with a total length of 6141 km and 23 transformers Qinghai provinces and Ningxia, Xinjiang autonomous region and
with total capacity of 17.56 GVA in 19 500 kV substations in the the main corridors extending east will be formed. The ability of
Northeast China Power Grid, 93 500 kV lines with total length of power exchange will increase greatly and the power grid will be
11,485 km and 98 transformers with total capacity of 64.62 GVA in more stable.
46 500 kV substations in the Central China Power Grid, 163 500 kV By the end of 2020, the Northwest China 750 kV Power Grid will
lines with total length of 11,691 km and 104 transformers with total be more powerful than 2010. Most major power corridors will have
capacity of 80.80 GVA in 70 500 kV substations in the East China more than two 750 kV lines. The ability of power exchange among
Power Grid, and 96 500 kV lines with total length of 15 400 km and provinces will increase further.
176 transformers with a total capacity of 92.66 GVA in 46 500 kV
substations in the South China Power Grid. 3.4. The 1000 kV AC pilot and test project connecting the North
China Power Grid with the Central China Power Grid
3.3. Pilot project of the 750 kV AC transmission line in the
Northwest China Power Grid and future development plan On August 9 2006, the 1000 kV AC pilot project showed in Fig. 1
from Changzhi, Shanxi province via Nanyang, Henan province to
The 750 kV pilot transmission project, the GuantingLanzhou- Jingmen, Hubei province was approved by China Development and
dong project, is the rst 750 kV transmission project in China and Reformation Committee. From then on, the initial research and
also the project with the highest altitude in the world [7,8]. The feasibility study was completed and the project went into imple-
project includes two 750 kV substations in Guanting, Qinghai mentation. The project initiated Chinas UHVDC transmission
province and East Lanzhou, Gansu province, respectively, and system plan which will have a signicant inuence on the devel-
a 750 kV transmission line about 140km in length from the opment of Chinas power industry and the advancement of tech-
Guanting substation to the Lanzhoudong substation. The rated nologies for electric equipments.
capacity of the main transformer in the Guanting substation is According to the UHVDC transmission plan, the rated voltage of
1500 MVA, and so is the main transformer in the Lanzhoudong the pilot project will be 1000 kV, and the highest permitting voltage
substation. This project is signicant in gaining experience of will be 1100 kV [9]. In addition, the project will include two
constructing transmission lines above 500 kV voltage level as well substations in Changzhi, Shanxi province and Jingmen, Hubei
as transferring power generated by the hydroelectric power plants province, respectively, and a switch station in Nanyang, Henan
on the upper streams of the Yellow River and thermal power plants province. The transmission line about 645 km in length will start
in several provinces in the Northwest China to the East China area. from the Jingdongnan 1000 kV substation in Changzhi, Shanxi

Fig. 1. The 1000 kV transmission line from Changzhi to Jingmen.

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province to the Jingmen substation in Jingmeng, Hubei province, via and strengthen the asynchronous interconnection of the two
the Nanyang switch station in Nanyang, Henan province. The length power grids. The length of the transmission line is 890 km, from the
of the rst segment from the Jingdongnan substation to the Nanyang Longquan converter station to the Zhengping converter station. In
switch station will be about 362 km, and the length of the second 2003, the project was put into operation.
segment from the Nanyang switch station to the Jingmen substation
will be about 283 km. At the rst stage of implementation, a single (2) Three GorgesGuangzhou HVDC transmission
circuit line will be constructed, and another single circuit line will be
added in the future. Of the three planned substations, the Jingdon- The project delivers power from the Three Gorges Hydropower
gnan substation will be equipped with three 1000 MVA main Plant in Central China to the load center located in the Guangdong
transformers, a set of 3  320 Mvar high voltage reactors and GIS province, enhancing asynchronous link for the two power systems.
apparatus; the Nanyang switch station will be equipped with two The 940 km long transmission line went into commercial operation
sets of 3  240 Mvar high voltage reactors and HGIS apparatus; the in 2004. One of the HVDC converter stations is located at Jingzhou
Jingmen substation will be equipped with three 1000 MVA main near the Three Gorges Power Plant, and the other in Huizhou near
transformers, a set of 3  200 Mvar high voltage reactors, and HGIS Guangzhou.
apparatus. The project will help to consolidate the interconnection
between the North China Power Gird and the Central China Power (3) Three GorgesShanghai HVDC transmission
Grid, and improve the ability to exchange power between the north
China and the south China allowing resources to be used more The project is the fourth largest HVDC transmission with rated
efciently. According to the plan, the project will go into operation at power of 3000 MW, and also the largest power transmission
the end of 2008; by then the power exchange will be about 2000 project during the period of the 11th Five Year Plan of the State Grid
3000 MW at the initial running stage. Corporation of China. One HVDC converter station is located at Yidu
After the pilot project depicted above, China will construct several (CaiJiaCong), approximately 58 km from the Three Gorges power
1000 kV ultra high voltage lines and build an ultra high voltage power plant, and the other in Huaxin (BaiHe) at the west outskirt of
grid across the North China, the Central China and the East China. Shanghai. The receiving station will feed power directly into the
Shanghai 500 kV AC ring. In 2006, the 1060 km power link went
4. HVDC transmission systems into commercial operation.

HVDC power transmission technology is an effective supplement 4.2. The 500 kV HVDC transmission in the Southern
of AC power transmission technology. HVDC technology can be China Power Grid
applied in long-distance and bulk power transmission, allowing the
interconnection of large regional AC power systems and power The HVDC transmission systems in the South China Power Grid
transmission to islands through seabed cables. In Chinas power grid are an important part of the Power Transmission from West to
plan, the HVDC technology will play a very important role. It will be East project, within which several HVDC projects in operation are
used to interconnect several large power grids for transmitting as the following [10,11].
hydroelectric and thermal power from northwest and southwest
China to more developed coastal regions in the southeast, and (1) TianshengqiaoGuangzhou HVDC transmission
transmit bulk power generated by the Three Gorges Hydro Plant to
Chinas other areas. At present, there are six 500 kV HVDC projects The project is a part of the Power Transmission from West to
in China, i.e., the 1200-MW GezhoubaNanqiao project, the East project. It aims to transfer abundant hydropower from the
3000 MW Three Gorges-Changzhou project, the 3000 MW Three Tianshengqiao Hydroelectric Power Plant, Yunnan and Guizhou to
GorgesGuangdong project, the 1800 MW TianshengqiaoGuang- Guangzhou which is a big load center in South China. The DC voltage,
dong project, the 3000 MW GuizhouGuangdong project, and the rated current, and rated power of the project are 500 kV, 1800 A,
3000 MW Three GorgesShanghai project. Additionally, the second and 1800 MW, respectively. The project includes two converter
3000 MW GuizhouGuangdong DC line will be put in operation in substations. One is located in Mawo near the Tianshengqiao power
2007, and the 800 kV YunnanGuangdong and other four ultra plant, and the other is located in the northern outskirts of Guangz-
HVDC projects are under construction or in the planning stage. hou. The length of the transmission line between the two converter
substations is 960 km. The project went into operation in 2001.
4.1. The 500 kV HVDC transmission in the Three Gorges
power system (2) GuizhouGuangdong HVDC transmission

The Three Gorges power transmission system is built for The project aims to transmit abundant hydroelectric and
transferring the bulk power from the Three Gorges Hydro Plant to thermal power from southwest China to the load center in the delta
east China, central China and south China [1012]. Several HVDC area of the Zhujiang River. The DC voltage, rated current, and rated
lines are included in the system. By now, 2965 km overhead DC power of the project are 500 kV, 3000 A, and 3000 MW, respec-
lines and six converter substations with a total capacity of tively. The project includes two converter substations. One of them
18,000 MW have been built. Several important HVDC projects will is located in Anshun in the Guizhou province, and the other is
be introduced as the following. located in Zhaoqing in the Guangdong province. The length of the
transmission line between the two converter substations is 880 km.
(1) Three GorgesChangzhou HVDC transmission The project went into operation in 2004.

The project is the rst 500 kV, 3000 MW HVDC project in (3) The second GuizhouGuangdong HVDC transmission
China and also the second interconnection project between the
Central China Power Grid and the East China Power Grid (the rst is This HVDC transmission is a backbone project of the Power
the GezhoubaShanghai HVDC project). The project aims to Transmission from West to East project. The DC voltage, rated
transfer power from the Three Gorges Hydro Plant to East China current, and rated power of the project are 500 kV, 3000 A, and

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3000 MW, respectively. The project includes two converter respectively. The 2034 km overhead DC line begins at the Fulong
substations. One of them is located in Xingren in the Guizhou converter station in the Sichuang province and ends at the Feng-
province, and the other is located in Shenzhen in the Guangdong xian converter station in Shanghai. It is expected to go into
province. The length of the transmission line between the two commercial operation in July 2012.
converter substations is 1225 km. The project will go into operation
in 2007. 4.4. Future development

4.3. The 800 kV ultra high voltage DC transmission projects in Most fossil and water energy resources are located in the west of
South China grid and the Jinsha River transmission system China; however, major load centers are located in the middle and
the east of China, making power transfer from the west to the east
The 800 kV or above DC transmission can be categorized as very important to Chinas economic growth. Three transmission
ultra HVDC transmission, which can be used to transmit bulk power corridors, i.e., the north, the middle, and the south corridors, will be
over long distance from big hydroelectric power plants or thermal built. In these corridors, more than 20 HVDC lines will be built in
power plants to load centers, as well as interconnect two asyn- the next 1015 years.
chronous power grids [13,14]. Now, 600 kV is the highest voltage
of all HVDC transmission lines in operation in the world. 5. Power grids and grid interconnections in China
At present, several ultra HVDC lines are under construction in
China: 5.1. Provincial and big regional power grids

(1) YunnanGuangdong 800 kV ultra HVDC transmission After years of development, six inter-provincial regional power
grids, including the Northeast China Power Grid, the North China
This project will be the rst 800 kV 5000 MW ultra HVDC Power Grid, the Central China Power Grid, the East China Power
transmission in the world. The 1446 km overhead DC line begins at Grid, and the Northwest China Power Grid as well as three inde-
the Lufeng converter station in the Yunnan province and ends at the pendent provincial grids, Xinjiang, Tibet, Hainan power grids have
Zengcheng converter station in the Guangdong province. This DC been formed in the main land of China [1517]. All provincial and
line will have the largest transmission capacity in China, and it will regional grids are shown in Fig. 2.
go into commercial operation in July 2010. More detailed information about Chinas large regional grids in
2005 is shown in Tables 1 and 2.
(2) Jinsha River 800 kV ultra HVDC transmission
5.2. Interconnection of regional grids by AC or DC lines
The upstream of the Changjiang River from the Yushu in the
Qinghai province to Yibing in the Sichuan province is called the The distribution of fossil and water resources in China is not
Jinsha River. The river has a length of 2360 km and a fall of 3280 m even. Most of these natural resources locate in the west China. For
which brings abundant water energy resource. Several hydropower example, 274 GW water energy resource or 72% of Chinas total
plants will be built on the river. The Xiluodu and Xiangjiaba hydro utilizable water energy resource and 388.2 billion ton coal or 39% of
plants which have rated capacity of 18,600 GW, larger than the Chinas coal reserve are in western China. However, most major
Three Gorges Hydro Plant. load centers of China are located in the east. Therefore, in order to
The XiangjiabaShanghai ultra HVDC transmission line is a part make resources to be used more efciently, China has made
of the Jinsha River transmission system. The DC voltage and the a strategy of transferring power from the west to the east, and
rated capacity of the project are 800 kV and 6400 MW, creating a nationwide power grid interconnection [18].

Fig. 2. Provincial and regional grids and inter-regional interconnections in China.

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Table 1
Information about six inter-provincial regional grids [1].

Regional grid Power supply region (province) Coverage areas (km2) Power supply population (million)
North China Beijing, Tianjin, Heibei, Shanxi, Shandong 1,630,000 230
Northeast China Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Chifeng, Tongliao in Neimeng 1,200,000 100
Central China Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Chongqing 1,300,000 380
East China Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian 470,000 230
South China Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Guizhou and Hainan 1,000,000 220
Northwest China Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai and Xinjiang 3,100,000 94

The interconnection of Chinas regional grids started in the late developed, the stability of power systems has become more
1980s [19,20]. By the end of 2005, China had mostly completed the important in China. Now, the most challenging issues of Chinas
interconnection of large regional power grids and built an ultra power grid include transient stability of interconnected power
large-scale interconnected power grid across all provinces in the systems, low frequency oscillation, voltage stability, and short-
main land China except Xinjing, Tibet, and Hainan. The installed circuit current level control.
capacity of the interconnected power grid reached 400 GW. More
detailed information about the interconnections of Chinese large
regional grids in 2005 is in Table 3. 6.1. Transient stability
In the mean time, China had built three power transmission
corridors, i.e., the north, the center, and the south corridors, to Transient instability, which is triggered by large disturbances, is
transmit power from the west to the east. The north corridor is still one of the main stability issues of power systems. In recent
from the Northwest (including Xinjiang) China Power Grid to the years, with the increase of long distance AC/DC transmission lines
North (including Shandong province) China Power Grid. The with large transmission capacity and the emergence of the
center corridor is from the Central China (including Chuanyu) nationwide interconnected power system, new transient stability
Power Grid to the East China (including Fujian) Power Grid. The issues have arisen in Chinas power systems.
south corridor is inside the South China Power Grid. The north Major transient stability issues of Chinas power gird are as
corridor includes four sub-corridors, which are Dafang Shenbao follows.
Houlian corridor, Shachangshuang corridor, Fengwanxian
corridor, and Tuoyan-Ba-An corridor. In the summer of 2005, the (1) A few 500 kV AC lines are used to interconnect large regional
general power ow of the four sub-corridors reached power grids, so the interconnections between these large
10,700 MW. The center corridor includes a 1200 MW DC line power grids are very weak. As a result, the stability levels of
from Gezhou Dam to Shanghai and a 3000 MW Longzhen DC line some transmission corridors within the large regional power
from the Three Gorges to Changzhou, Jiangsu province. The grids have declined after interconnection.
south corridor includes nine lines (six AC lines and three DC (2) There are many irrational structures within some power grids.
lines), i.e., four 500 kV AC lines from Tianshenqiao to Guangdong Electromagnetic loop networks still exist in the 500 kV and
province, two 500 kV AC lines from Guizhou province to 220 kV power grids, signicantly reducing transmission
Guangdong province, a 500 kV DC line from Tianshengqiao to capacity.
Guangdong, a 500 kV DC line from Guizhou to Guangdong, (3) There are stability problems in the hybrid AC/DC power grids.
a 500 kV DC line from the Three Gorges to Guangdong. In 2005, The South China Power Grid is just a hybrid AC/DC power grid.
the capacity from several southwestern provinces to Guangdong If two poles of a DC line are blocked and AC lines in parallel
province was 10,880 MW. In the future, China will continue to with the DC line are then overloaded, large-scale power
improve the interconnection of the regional grids. Initiatives transfer may cause power system to lose synchronization.
include the construction of two 1000 kV power transmission
corridors from northern China to southern China and from China has paid much attention to the stability of power systems.
western China to eastern China, and a back-to-back DC project The standard for Security and Stability of Power Systems was
interconnecting the Northeast China Power Grid and the North passed at the Dalian Power System Sability Meeting in 1981, and
China Power Grid and so on. amended in 2001. The standard requests that three defense lines for
security protection of power grids must be built. Currently, since
6. Major stability problems of long distance and large Chinas ultra high voltage power grid is still relatively weak,
capacity high voltage AC/DC transmission systems and rational arrangement of relay and automatic security devices are
interconnected power systems top priorities set by each large regional grid. Additionally, generator
and load tripping are widely adopted to ensure safe operations of
In recent years, as long distance hybrid AC/DC power trans- the power systems. With these efforts, Chinas power system will
mission systems and nationwide interconnected power system are be kept stable even if a very serious disturbance takes place.

Table 2
Information about six inter-provincial regional grids [2].

Regional grid Installed capacity Thermal power Hydraulic power Pumps water stored Nuclear power Wind power
(MW) (%) (MW) (%) (MW) (%) energy (MW) (%) (MW) (%) (MW) (%)
North China 107,494 (100%) 104,197 (96.9%) 3021 (2.8%) 192 (0.2%)
Northeast China 43,840 (100%) 37,726 (86.1%) 5779 (13.2%)
Central China 107,290 (100%) 59,663 (55.6%) 47,627 (44.4%)
East China 123,590 (100%) 104,050 (84.2%) 14,010 (11.3%) 2060 (1.7%) 3066 (2.5%) 110 (0.1%)
South China 90,832 (100%) 56,039 (61.7%) 28,521 (31.4%) 2400 (2.6%) 3780 (4.2%) 92 (0.1%)
Northwest China 39,404 (100%) 26,525 (67.3%) 12,525 (31.8%) 354.2 (0.9%)

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Table 3
Interconnections of Chinese big regional grids (2005).

Interconnection AC lines DC lines


Northeast China power gridNorth China Power Grid Double circuit lines from Gaoling to Jiangjiayin
North Power GridCentral China Power Grid Single circuit line from Xinan to Huojia
Central China Power GridEast China Power Grid GezhoubaNanqiao; LongquanZhengpin
Central China Power GridSouth China Power Grid JianglinECheng
Central China Power GridNorthwest China Power Grid ZidongLingbaoLuofu back to back

6.2. Voltage stability The eigenvalue of the oscillation is 0.007893  j0.816952 and the
damping ratio is 0.0097.
Maintaining node voltages at predetermined levels will ensure The power system stabilizer (PSS) can be applied to enhance
not only the quality of the power supply, but also the stability of the system damping and suppress low or ultra low frequency oscilla-
powder system operations. A device failure caused by abnormal tion. In recent years, the State Grid Corporation of China has made
voltage, voltage instability, and voltage collapse can trigger power many efforts to study how to use PSS to maintain the dynamic
system blackouts. For example, the nationwide blackout in France stability of interconnected power systems. As a result, many PSSs
in December 1978, the Quebec Power System blackout in Canada in have been installed in power grids, and the dynamic stability level
December 1982, the blackout in Sweden in November 1983, and the has been greatly improved.
blackout in Tokyo Power System in July 1987. To avoid the blackout
caused by voltage collapse has become a very important issue in 6.4. High short circuit current level
system design and operation. In China, because of the rapid
development of modern power systems, some receiving power With rapid load increase and the interconnection of large
systems with highly dense loads have emerged, such as Guangdong regional power grids, short-circuit current level increased over the
Power Grid in southern China, Shanghai Power Grid in eastern years. In recent years, very high short-circuit current level has
China, BeijingTianjinTangshan Power Grid in northern China. become a major issue that must be addressed in the stage of
Hierarchical and multi-area control is used to control voltage planning and operation of power systems. For example, the short-
and reactive power. In general, voltage control can be categorized circuit current of pivotal stations in the delta area of the Yangzi
into three levels. The rst level is located at power plants or River in the East China Power Grid approached or even exceeded
customer sides, with functions, such as regulation of reactive power the switching capacity of breakers. In 2010, the short-circuit
of generators and output of SVCs, and fast switch of capacitances current of the Doushan, Huangdu, Wunan, Wangdian, Lanting
and reactors. These controls usually take seconds to respond at this substations will exceed switching capacities of their breakers, and
level. The second level is usually located at pivotal sites, and the the short-circuit current of Wunan and Wangdian substations will
response time is typically several minutes. This type of control is even exceed 63 kA. High short-circuit current has become one of
used to coordinate primary control on the spot, for example, the most serious issues of the East China Power Grid [22].
adjusting the voltage regulation set points of generators and SVCs, Short-circuit current level is directly related to the structure,
and switching capacitances and reactors and set reference voltages density, and intensity of the power grid, as well as commitment
of buses. The third level is preventive control, and its response time mode of generators in the power systems. To control the level of
spans tens of minutes. The objectives of this type of control include short-circuit current, the structure of power sources and power
identifying potential voltage instability in order to take necessary grids must be taken into account to achieve optimization.
measures, coordinating the second level control systems, and
optimizing voltage and reactive power. Additionally, the static 6.5. Improving thermal stability limit of transmission lines
voltage stability analysis is also considered in the third level of
control. Several dispatching bureaus in China, such as the North With the rapid economic growth, the demand for electricity has
China Power Grid Control Center, Jiangsu Power Grid Control increased dramatically in recent years, especially in the south
Center, Fujian Power Grid Control Center, have installed automatic Jiangsu Province, Shanghai and Zhejiang provinces. In these areas,
voltage control software (AVC). the power transmission capabilities of some transmission lines are
seriously limited by lack of thermal stability. For example, after the
completion of the DC line from the Three Gorges to Changzhou, the
6.3. Low frequency oscillation required power transmission capabilities of the 500 kV line from
Wunan to Doushan and the double circuit lines from Doushan to
A low frequency oscillation is caused by negative damping tor- Shipai have already exceeded the capacity limited by the levels of
ques that typically take place in power systems with generators thermal stability. As a result, it is urgent for the East China Power
connected with main power grids using long distance lines. Grid to enhance the transmission capability of 500 kV transmission
Currently, weak or even negative damping torques exist in Chinas lines. Currently, there are a set of new rules and techniques to be
major interconnected power grids, and low frequency oscillation adopted by the East China Grid Company Limited to enhance the
took place in many power grids, such as the South China Power transmission capability of 500 kV transmission lines [23].
Grid in 1994, Ertan Power Transmission System in 1998 and 2000,
GuangdongHongkong Interconnected Power Grid in 2003. In the (1) At the end of 2005, the East China Grid Company Limited
future, more large capacity generators and fast exciters will be put increased the highest operation temperature of 500 kV trans-
in use in major interconnected power grids. As a result, a weak mission lines from 70  C to 80  C; consequently, the trans-
damping will happen and possibly escalate. mission capability of parts of these 500 kV transmission lines
As showed in Fig. 3, there is an inter-area oscillation after the increased from 1900 MW to 2700 MW.
interconnection between the North China Power Gird and the (2) Using a short-time overloading capability of 500 kV transformers
Central China Power Grid, and the oscillation frequency is 0.13 Hz. to increase transmission capability. With this method, the short-

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Fig. 3. Inter-area oscillation mode (0.007893  j0.816952) between North China, Northeast China and Central China.

time overloading capabilities of most 500 kV major transformers maintaining equivalent insulation strength and electric eld
have increased 1.31.5 times, and transmission capabilities of intensity on conductor surface to ensure a safe condition for live-
most 500 kV major transformers increased by 715%. line work. Currently, the compact transmission technology has
(3) Use real-time monitoring of current, transmission line been applied in China, and quite a few compact transmission lines
temperature, external temperature, wind direction and have been put into operation.
velocity, and illumination density. In September 1994, Chinas rst 220 kV compact transmission
line, the AndingLangfang 220 kV line was put to use. This
7. Technology of improving transmission line capacity and 23.950 km line starts at the Anding substation in Beijing and ends
AC/DC transmission system stability level at the Datun substation in Langfang, Hebei province. The three
bundles are arranged in two ways, vertical and inverted triangle.
Chinas electric load is expected to be increasing steadily and Each phase conductor is composed of four lines, occupying a space
rapidly for a long period. How to improve transmission capacity and of only 1/3rd that of the traditional transmission lines whilst with
AC/DC system stability is becoming one of the major issues [2427]. 1.7 times of SIL. Chinas rst 330 kV compact transmission line was
Addressing this issue requires the adoption of new technologies, built in October 2004. It is 115 km long, at the altitude of 1500
including compact power transmission technology, series/parallel 2000 m, stretching from the 330 kV Chengxian substation at south
compensation technology, FACTS technology, such as SVC and TCSC, side to the Tianshui substation at north side. The adoption of
and high voltage controlled shunt reactor (CSR), etc. In addition to compact transmission technology reduced the line corridor
enhancing transmission capacity, these technologies offer ways to considerably from 1322 m to 5.2 m, improved electromagnetic
improve transient and dynamic stability of power grids, and miti- environment, enhanced SIL and system stability, and saved the
gation of power frequency over voltage. Currently, these technolo- engineering cost per unit transmission capacity. The Fangshan
gies have already been applied in Chinas power grids. Changping 500 kV line is Chinas rst 500 kV compact transmission
line which began operation in November 1999. The line extends
7.1. Compact transmission line 83 km, with 6-split sub-conductor. Phase conductors are arranged
in the inverted-delta mode, with phase spacing of 6.7 m and
Compact transmission technology adopts an optimized cong- conductor-to-ground distance of 10 m, reducing the transmission
uration of conductors to improve the surge impedance loading (SIL) corridor to 17.9 m. The SIL of the transmission line is 1340 MW, 34%
of the line, reduce transmission corridor width, and enhance more than general transmission line.
transmission capacity per unit corridor. When compared with the Besides the above-mentioned lines, other compact transmission
conventional transmission line, the compact transmission line lines have also been built, including the ZhengpingYixin 500 kV
features better symmetry of phase parameters, smaller positive double circuit compact transmission for the Three Gorges project.
sequence reactance, higher SIL and smaller corridor width, while Many other projects are currently under construction.

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7.2. Parallel and series compensation the technical advantages over the traditional series compensation,
TCSC features a rapid controllability to further improve system
The capacity of a long-distance AC transmission line is generally stability and transmission capacity, damp low frequency oscillation,
restricted by its transient stability limit. The introduction of parallel eliminate SSR, and optimize system operation mode. This makes
or series compensation capacitor to a transmission line can alle- TCSC a highly effective means of improving the capacity of trans-
viate such constraints by decreasing the electric distance of the line mission corridors.
and improving system stability limit and transmission capacity. Chinas rst TCSC the Tianping TCSC was built in July 2003 in
These benets coupled with price advantage, parallel and series the South China Power Grid. The Tian Guan line is a parallel double
compensation equipments have been widely applied in long- circuit line, with a total length of 940 km, within which the Tian-
distance bulk transmission systems. Currently, a number of series shegnqiao-Pingguo section is 313 km long. The Pingguo TCSC
compensation equipments have been installed in China, including equipment was installed at the Pingguo side of the rst and second
the Sanbao SC project in Jiangsu province for the Yangcheng Power 500 kV Tinaping transmission line, adopting FSC TCSC compen-
Plant, the Weixian SC Project at the Datong-Fangshan double circuit sation mode. The compensation degree of each line is 40% and the
transmission line in the North China Power Grid, the Wanquan SC total compensation capacity is 400 Mvar, with a xed compensa-
project at the FengzhengWanquanShunyi double circuit trans- tion degree of 35% and a controlled compensation degree of 5%. The
mission line, the Pingguo SC project at the Tianshengqiao Tianping TCSC can increase the west-to-east power transmission of
Guangzhou double circuit transmission line in the South China the South China Power Grid by 220 MW, while the actual boost
Power Grid and the Hechi SC at the HuishuiHechi double circuit reached 400500 MW. Statistics show that for the year 2004 and
transmission line. More series compensation equipments are 2005, the annul availability of the Pingguo TCSC was 98.4% and
expected to be installed in the transmission lines in the future. 99.72%, respectively, and the increased power delivery achieved
The under-constructed Hunyuan SC project will deliver eight 3.45 billion kilowatt hour and 3.21 billion kilowatt hour.
sets of SC equipments at four incoming and four outgoing lines of The Yi-feng 500 kV TCSC has the biggest capacity, most complex
the Hunyuan 500 kV switch station, with total capacity of control system, and the most adverse operation environment in the
3663 Mvar. It is the largest project in the world in terms of the world. It is located at the Fengtun substation side of the 500 kV AC
amount of engineering work, the quantity of SC equipments and double-circuit line from the Yiming Power Plant to the Fengtun
the magnitude of compensation capacity. Tuo-Yuan-Ba-An is an substation in the Northeast China Power Grid. The operation mode
important channel for west-to-east power transmission. With the is FSC TCSC. Each line is compensated by a total degree of 45%,
operation of the fourth-phase Tuoketuo power plant, a power of with xed compensation degree of 30% and controlled compen-
8  600 MW can be generated, with 1100 MW delivered by each sation degree of 15%, rated at 1088 Mvar and 625 Mvar, respec-
Tuoyuan line, 1100 MW by each Yuanan line, and 1050 MW by each tively. The existing installation capacity of the Yimin Power plant is
Bayuan line. After the construction of these eight sets the SC 2  500 MW, and two 600 MW units will be put into operation in
equipments at four Tuoyuan lines, two Yuanan lines, and two September 2007. Yi-Feng TCSC makes it possible to improve the
Yuanba lines, the generated power of the fourth-phase Tuoketuo transmission capacity of the Yi-feng transmission lines, meeting
plant can be delivered outward and the security and stability level the needs of power outward delivery, increasing the damping of
of the North China Power Grid can be greatly improved. low frequency oscillation, and effectively eliminating SSR risk. This
project is currently under construction.
7.3. SVC, TCSC, and other FACTS equipments
7.4. High voltage CSR
For AC or AC and DC parallel long distance bulk transmission
corridors, the power grids dynamic reactive power supporting CSR resolves the conict between over voltage limitation and
capability under major fault disturbance not only restricts the reactive power compensation. The installation of CSR at a long
transmission capacity of the interconnected network but also impacts distance extra high-voltage line can not only exibly adjust the
the voltage stability level and safety margin of the interconnected system reactive power according to different operating modes and
systems. Using the dynamic reactive compensation, it is possible to ensure the voltage safety of transmission line at various times; but
regulate the reactive power rapidly in response to the system needs also reduce network losses, improve network dynamic stability in
and maintain the bus voltage around rated value. SVC has been widely certain degree, and increase transmission capacity.
utilized as a dynamic reactive compensation technology. CSR can be categorized into two types based upon the magnetic
The application of SVC in the power grid can quickly change the control principle and high impedance transformer principle,
reactive power generation, providing dynamic reactive power respectively. Currently, two sets of CSR have been applied in China.
supply for power systems, and regulating system voltage. In 2006, As the rst 500 kV CSR with high impedance transformer
three SVC equipments with a total capacity of 420 Mvar were put principle, Xinzhou 500 kV CSR in Shanxi was put into operation on
into operation at the east corridor of Chuanyu Power Grid, with one September 19, 2006. The CSR installed at the bus bar of the Xinzhou
120 MVar SVC installed at the Chenjiaqiao 500 kV substation, is rated at 150 Mvar.
one 120 Mvar SVC installed at the Honggou 500 kV substation, The Jingzhou CSR project employed a 500 kV magnetic
and one 180 Mvar SVC at the Wanxian 500 kV substation. The controlled CSR for the rst time in China. The reactor located at the
transmission capability of Chuanyu network interface was Jianglin side of the Three Gorges right bank to the Jianglin line (the
improved by 300 MW and damping ratio of oscillation increased as 130 km Three Gorges right bank to the Jianglin single circuit line is
well. As a result, the systems transient and dynamic stability was part of the Three Gorges transmission and substation project) has
considerably improved. Additionally, the corridors fourth set of a designed capacity of 3  40 Mvar. Two sets of 100 Mvar reactors,
SVC, 500 kV Yongchuan substation SVC, rated at 120 Mvar, is one xed and one controlled will be installed at the right bank of
currently under construction. At present, China has completed the the Three Gorges and the Jianglin side, respectively. The magnetic
localization of a large capacity SVC for 500 kV transmission systems controlled reactor enables the effective regulation of system voltage
that costs around RMB 300 Yuan/kvar. by rapidly and continuously adjusting reactance and capacity.
The thyristor controlled series compensation technology (TCSC) Furthermore, in case of emergency this CSR can offer forced
is a new FACTS technology developed in recent years. In addition to compensation to mitigate the power frequency over voltage. CSR in

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conjunction with neutral reactor can restrain secondary arc current oscillation modes and ve weak damping oscillation modes after
and decrease recovery voltage to ensure the success rate of single- the interconnection. To address these low frequency oscillation
phase re-closure in order to improve the reliability of transmission issues, Chinese researchers have conducted research and found
system. This project is currently under construction. that to restrain the weak or negative damping inter-area mode
oscillation between a group of generators and another group of
7.5. High speed protection and special control systems generators, a great number of PSSs as opposed to only a few are
required to be installed. Currently, there are more than 200 PSSs
Based on the design principal of Three Defense Lines, installed in the Northeast China Power Grid, the North China
advanced automation systems, relay protection devices, and special Power Grid, and the Central China Power Grid. The conguration
protection system have ensured the security of Chinas power grid of these PSSs is to ensure that the lag of excitation system
under the condition of relatively weak grid structure. response at low frequency can be compensated in the range of
At present, these high-speed protections have showed good 0.12 Hz.
performance in reliability and fast response. From the perspective
of reliability, in 2004, the ratio of correct protection in 220 kV or
above lines and transformers is 99.21%; the ratio of fast response is 8.2. PMU applications for monitoring and control purposes
99.33%, and 96.04% protection devices are micro-computer based
protections. From the perspective of fast response, the fault clearing The phase measurement technology was introduced to China
time of relay protection used in 220 kV or above lines is about 30 in the early 1990s. CEPRI established two sets of dynamic moni-
50 ms. In addition, new technologies of ultra high-speed protection toring and recording systems with the WAMS functions in the East
devices are being adopted in order to meet the need of EHVAC and China Power Grid and the South China Power Grid, respectively.
UHVAC power grids. The system can be used to monitor the power-angle stabilization
In addition to high-speed protection systems, inter-regional and record complex disturbance process. In 2002, Beijing Sifang
security and stability control systems, lighting strike spot location Automation Co. Ltd. and Tsinghua University cooperatively
systems, wide area measurement systems, and fault location launched their rst generation WAMS product named CSS-2000.
systems for transmission lines are widely used in Chinas power At the end of 2002, CSS-200 was put into use in the Jiangsu Power
grids. These systems have ensured the security and stability of Grid. After 2003, the State Grid Control Center, the North China
Chinas power system, and lower the risk of large-area blackouts. In Power Grid, the Northeast China Power Grid, and the South China
the future, China will conduct research on security protection Power Grid established their own WAMSs independently, and
systems with abilities of self-adaptability, inter-regional coordina- each system adopted CSS-200. In 2004, the program of Wide Area
tion and forecast, real-time dynamic security assessment tech- Measurement Analysis Protection (WAMAP) of which WAMS is
nology, real-time data platform combining functions of SCADS/EMS a part of adopted PAC-2000 PMUs by CEPRI and SMU-1 PMUs by
and WAMS, new EMS with abilities of real time monitoring, NARIs Corporation [28-30]. In 2004, the Henan Power Grid
dynamic security assessment and pre-warning, auxiliary decision Control Center and Hehai University cooperatively completed the
making, automatic voltage control systems, etc. development of a WAMS and the system is deployed in Henan
Power Grid. In the future, large scale WAMSs will be deployed in
8. Technologies of stabilizing interconnected the Three Gorges Power Grid, the East China Power Grid, the
power grid operation Northeast China Power Grid, and the South China Power Grid.
Table 4 illustrates WAMSs which were put into operation from
At the initial stage of interconnecting large regional power grids, 2002 to 2004 in China [30].
many stability issues will occur because of weak interconnection,
such as inter-regional or inner-regional low frequency oscillation,
8.3. HVDC control
decrease of transient stability limit of some corridors within
regional power grids, and voltage instability of receiving power
The HVDC transmission is gradually becoming the most
systems. Additionally, because AC and DC hybrid interconnection is
important way of transmitting large amount of power from the
used, the inter-action between AC and DC systems may also affect
remote hydropower stations. The stability of an AC/DC system is
the stability level of power systems. To address these issues, a series
relative to the short circuit ratio (SCR) of the connected AC systems
of researches have been conducted. Several methods are being used
and the control strategy. AC/DC coordinated control can improve
to address the stability issues, including installation of many PSSs
the transient and voltage stability of the AC power systems at both
and WAMS, adoption of HVDC control, etc.
sending and receiving end.

8.1. PSS installations

Research indicates that installing PSSs [21] is the best way to


restrain low frequency oscillation. Table 4
At the initial stage of interconnecting Chinas large regional WAMS put into operation in 20022004 in China.
power grids, the interconnections all include only several 500 kV WAMS main station Number of PMU Number of PMU
AC lines. In the process of building interconnections, weak or even in substations in power plants
negative inter-regional damping was found. For instance, the State grid control center 6 2
power system analysis indicated that after the AC interconnection South Power Grid control center 5 0
between the North China Power Grid and the Northeast China North China Power Grid control center 3 3
Power Grid, there are not only several local mode oscillations, but Northeast China Power Grid control center 10 2
East China Power Grid control center 8 7
also an inter-area mode oscillation with an oscillation frequency of
Jiangsu Power Grid control center 6 8
0.3043 Hz and damping ratio of 0.0994. The calculation of Guangdong Power Grid control center 5 2
interconnection between the Chuanyu Power Grid and the Central
Total 43 24
China Power Gird indicated that there are two negative damping

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Please cite this article in press as: Xiaoxin Z, et al., An overview of power transmission systems in China, Energy (2009), doi:10.1016/
j.energy.2009.04.016