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Unit – 5

Transmission and Distribution

Electricity is most often generated at a power station by electromechanical generators,
primarily driven by heat engines fueled by chemical combustion or nuclear fission but
also by other means such as the kinetic energy of flowing water and wind. There are
many other technologies that can be and are used to generate electricity such as solar
photovoltaics and geothermal power.
It has three main components
• Electricity generation
• Transmission system
• Distribution system

Structure of Electric power system

Electricity is transmitted at high voltages (110 kV or above) to reduce the energy lost in
long distance transmission. Power is usually transmitted through overhead power lines.
Underground power transmission has a significantly higher cost and greater operational
limitations but is sometimes used in urban areas or sensitive locations. Transmission lines
mostly use three phase alternating current (AC), although single phase AC is sometimes
used in railway electrification systems. High-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology is
used only for very long distances (typically greater than 400 miles, or 600 km); undersea
cables (typically longer than 30 miles, or 50 km); or for connecting two AC networks that
are not synchronized.

Electricity generation is the process of creating electricity from other forms of energy.
For electric utilities, it is the first process in the delivery of electricity to consumers. The
other processes, electricity transmission, distribution, and electrical power storage and
recovery using pumped storage methods are normally carried out by the electrical power
industry.There are seven fundamental methods of directly transforming other forms of
energy into electrical energy:
• Static electricity, from the physical separation and transport of charge (examples:
triboelectric effect and lightning)
• Electromagnetic induction, where an electrical generator, dynamo or alternator
transforms kinetic energy (energy of motion) into electricity
• Electrochemistry, the direct transformation of chemical energy into electricity, as
in a battery, fuel cell or nerve impulse
• Photoelectric effect, the transformation of light into electrical energy, as in solar
• Thermoelectric effect, direct conversion of temperature differences to electricity,
as in thermocouples, thermopiles, and Thermionic converters.
• Piezoelectric effect, from the mechanical strain of electrically anisotropic
molecules or crystals
• Nuclear transformation, the creation and acceleration of charged particles
(examples: betavoltaics or alpha particle emission)

Hydro Electric power plant Natural gas power plant

Wind power plant Nuclear power station

Coal fired power plant

Electric power transmission or "high voltage electric transmission" is the bulk transfer
of electrical energy, from generating power plants to substations located near to
population centers. This is distinct from the local wiring between high voltage substations
and customers, which is typically referred to as electricity distribution.
The transmission system is the bulk power transfer system between the power generation
station and the distribution center from which power is carried to customer delivery
points. The transmission system includes step-up and step-down transformers at the
generating and distribution stations, respectively. The transmission system is usually part
of the electric utility's network. Power transmission systems may include sub-
transmission stages to supply intermediate voltage levels. Sub-transmission stages are
used to enable a more practical or economical transition between transmission and
distribution systems.

Transmission is further divided into

• Primary transmission and
• Secondary transmission

Primary => Transmission begins from the power station to a large receiving
station (or also known as a Sub-station) at or near to the load centres.

Secondary => Transmission begins from receiving station to the terminates of the
various main substation located at the strategic points inside the load

The transmission voltage is to a very large extent, determined by the economic

consideration. Typical transmission voltage are 66kV, 230kV, 400kV. High voltage
transmission required smaller sized conductors which resulted in economy of copper and
aluminum. But, at the same time, the cost of insulating the lines and other expenses are
increased. Hence, the economical voltage of transmission is that for which the saving in
conductor material is not offset by the following:

• Increased cost of isolating the line;

• Increased size of transmission in the structures and;
• Increased size of generating stations and sub-stations.

The secondary transmission voltage will be lower as the transmission distance is shorter.

Distribution system The transmission system voltage is stepped-down to lower levels by

distribution substation transformers.
Distribution is further divided into
• Primary distribution and
• Secondary didtribution
Primary => The primary distribution system is that portion of the power
network between the distribution substation and the utilization transformers. The
primary distribution system consists of circuits, referred to as primary or
distribution feeders, that originate at the secondary bus of the distribution
substation. The distribution substation is usually the delivery point of electric
power in large industrial or commercial applications.
Secondary => The secondary distribution system is that portion of the network
between the primary feeders and utilization equipment. The secondary system
consists of step-down transformers and secondary circuits at utilization voltage
levels. Residential secondary systems are predominantly single-phase, but
commercial and industrial systems generally use three-phase power.


The distribution system begins after the Main Substations. Its transmission components
may be divided into 3 parts:

• Feeders
• Distributors
• Service Mains

Feeders => Conductors which connects the Main Substations to the various
distribution substations. There is no tapping from the feeders. In other words, the current
loading of a feeder is the same along its entire length.

Distributors => Conductors that radiate out from distribution substations to their
allotted consumer areas. Various tappings are taken from the Distributors. Hence, a
distributor has distributed current loading along its entire length.

Service Mains => The connecting links between the distributor and the consumer

A substation is a high-voltage electric system facility. It is used to switch generators,
equipment, and circuits or lines in and out of a system. It also is used to change AC
voltages from one level to another, and/or change alternating current to direct current or
direct current to alternating current. Some substations are small with little more than a
transformer and associated switches. Others are very large with several transformers and
dozens of switches and other equipment. There are three aspects to substations:
Substations are designed to accomplish the following functions, although not all
substations have all these functions:

• Change voltage from one level to another

• Regulate voltage to compensate for system voltage changes
• Switch transmission and distribution circuits into and out of the grid system
• Measure electric power qualities flowing in the circuits
• Connect communication signals to the circuits
• Eliminate lightning and other electrical surges from the system
• Connect electric generation plants to the system
• Make interconnections between the electric systems of more than one utility
• Control reactive kilovolt-amperes supplied to and the flow of reactive kilovolt-
amperes in the circuits

Typical substation

Transformer substation: A step-up transmission substation receives electric power from

a nearby generating facility and uses a large power transformer to increase the voltage for
transmission to distant locations. A transmission bus is used to distribute electric power to
one or more transmission lines. There can also be a tap on the incoming power feed from
the generation plant to provide electric power to operate equipment in the generation

A substation can have circuit breakers that are used to switch generation and transmission
circuits in and out of service as needed or for emergencies requiring shut-down of power
to a circuit or redirection of power. The specific voltages leaving a step-up transmission
substation are determined by the customer needs of the utility supplying power and to the
requirements of any connections to regional grids. Typical voltages are:

High voltage (HV) ac: 69 kV, 115 kV, 138 kV, 161 kV, 230 kV
Extra-high voltage (EHV) ac: 345 kV, 500 kV, 765 kV
Ultra-high voltage (UHV) ac: 1100 kV, 1500 kV
Direct-current high voltage (dc HV): ±250 kV, ±400 kV, ±500 kV
Direct current voltage is either positive or negative polarity. A DC line has two
conductors, so one would be positive and the other negative.

Step-up AC transmission substation Step-up transmission substation to

AC transmission lines

Step-down transmission substations are located at switching points in an electrical grid.

They connect different parts of a grid and are a source for subtransmission lines or
distribution lines. The step-down substation can change the transmission voltage to a
subtransmission voltage, usually 69 kV. The subtransmission voltage lines can then serve
as a source to distribution substations. Sometimes, power is tapped from the
subtransmission line for use in an industrial facility along the way. Otherwise, the power
goes to a distribution substation.

Step-down transmission substation

Step-down power transformer

Distribution substations are located near to the end-users. Distribution substation
transformers change the transmission or subtransmission voltage to lower levels for use
by end-users. Typical distribution voltages vary from 34,500Y/19,920 volts to
4,160Y/2400 volts.

34,500Y/19,920 volts is interpreted as a three-phase circuit with a grounded neutral

source. This would have three high-voltage conductors or wires and one grounded neutral
conductor, a total of four wires. The voltage between the three phase conductors or wires
would be 34,500 volts and the voltage between one phase conductor and the neutral
ground would be 19,920 volts.

From here the power is distributed to industrial, commercial, and residential customers.

Distribution substation Distribution substation

Distribution substation

Distribution substation

Underground distribution substations are also located near to the end-users. Distribution
substation transformers change the subtransmission voltage to lower levels for use by
end-users. Typical distribution voltages vary from 34,500Y/19,920 volts to 4,160Y/2400

An underground system may consist of

these parts:

• Conduits

Underground Distribution Substation

• Duct Runs
• Manholes
• High-Voltage Underground Cables
• Transformer Vault
• Riser
• Transformers

From here the power is distributed to industrial, commercial, and residential customers.

Components of a Substation

The substation components will only be considered to the extent where they influence
substation layout.

Circuit Breakers

There are two forms of open circuit breakers:

1. Dead Tank - circuit breaker compartment is at earth potential.
2. Live Tank - circuit breaker compartment is at line potential.

The form of circuit breaker influences the way in which the circuit breaker is
accommodated. This may be one of four ways.

• Ground Mounting and Plinth Mounting: the main advantages of this type of
mounting are its simplicity, ease of erection, ease of maintenance and elimination
of support structures. An added advantage is that in indoor substations, there is the
reduction in the height of the building. A disadvantage however is that to prevent
danger to personnel, the circuit breaker has to be surrounded by an earthed barrier,
which increases the area required.
• Retractable Circuit Breakers: these have the advantage of being space saving
due to the fact that isolators can be accommodated in the same area of clearance
that has to be allowed between the retractable circuit breaker and the live fixed
contacts. Another advantage is that there is the ease and safety of maintenance.
Additionally such a mounting is economical since at least two insulators per phase
are still needed to support the fixed circuit breaker plug contacts.
• Suspended Circuit Breakers: at higher voltages tension insulators are cheaper
than post or pedestal insulators. With this type of mounting the live tank circuit
breaker is suspended by tension insulators from overhead structures, and held in a
stable position by similar insulators tensioned to the ground. There is the claimed
advantage of reduced costs and simplified foundations, and the structures used to
suspend the circuit breakers may be used for other purposes.

Current Transformers

CT's may be accommodated in one of six manners:

• Over Circuit Breaker bushings or in pedestals.

• In separate post type housings.
• Over moving bushings of some types of insulators.
• Over power transformers of reactor bushings.
• Over wall or roof bushings.
• Over cables.

In all except the second of the list, the CT's occupy incidental space and do not affect the
size of the layout. The CT's become more remote from the circuit breaker in the order
listed above. Accommodation of CT's over isolator bushings, or bushings through walls
or roofs, is usually confined to indoor substations.


These are essentially off load devices although they are capable of dealing with small
charging currents of busbars and connections. The design of isolators is closely related to
the design of substations. Isolator design is considered in the following aspects:

• Space Factor
• Insulation Security
• Standardisation
• Ease of Maintenance
• Cost

Some types of isolators include:

• Horizontal Isolation types

• Vertical Isolation types
• Moving Bushing types

Conductor Systems

An ideal conductor should fulfil the following requirements:

• Should be capable of carrying the specified load currents and short time currents.
• Should be able to withstand forces on it due to its situation. These forces comprise
self weight, and weight of other conductors and equipment, short circuit forces
and atmospheric forces such as wind and ice loading.
• Should be corona free at rated voltage.
• Should have the minimum number of joints.
• Should need the minimum number of supporting insulators.
• Should be economical.

The most suitable material for the conductor system is copper or aluminium. Steel may be
used but has limitations of poor conductivity and high susceptibility to corrosion.

In an effort to make the conductor ideal, three different types have been utilized, and
these include:

• Flat surfaced Conductors

• Stranded Conductors
• Tubular Conductors


Insulation security has been rated very highly among the aims of good substation design.
Extensive research is done on improving flashover characteristics as well as combating
pollution. Increased creepage length, resistance glazing, insulation greasing and line
washing have been used with varying degrees of success.

Power Transformers

EHV power transformers are usually oil immersed with all three phases in one tank. Auto
transformers can offer advantage of smaller physical size and reduced losses. The
different classes of power transformers are:

• o.n.: Oil immersed, natural cooling

• o.b.: Oil immersed, air blast cooling
• o.f.n.: Oil immersed, oil circulation forced
• o.f.b.: Oil immersed, oil circulation forced, air blast cooling

Power transformers are usually the largest single item in a substation. For economy of
service roads, transformers are located on one side of a substation, and the connection to
switchgear is by bare conductors. Because of the large quantity of oil, it is essential to
take precaution against the spread of fire. Hence, the transformer is usually located
around a sump used to collect the excess oil.

Transformers that are located and a cell should be enclosed in a blast proof room.

Overhead Line Terminations

Two methods are used to terminate overhead lines at a substation.

• Tensioning conductors to substation structures or buildings

• Tensioning conductors to ground winches.

The choice is influenced by the height of towers and the proximity to the substation.

S.no D.C. - A.C.


1 Line construction is simple and Line construction complex

2 Power transmitted per conductor is - More conductors required.
more hence lesser number of
conductor is required.
3 Charging currents is totally absent. - Charging current increases with length
Hence no distance limit of line, which imposes a limit on
4 Current is uniformly distributed - Due to skin effect current is
concentrated to perifery
5 Reactive power compensation is not - Long distance transmission is possible
required. Line operation at unity p.f only if reactive compensation is done.
charging currents are absent. Line
drop is purely resistive.
6 Corona loss in proportional to (f+25). - Corona loss is more
Hence for D.C. corona loss in less.
7 Switching surges are less - Switching surges are more
8 Stability problems do not arise since it - Due to stability problem distance is
is in asynchronous operation of the limited.
9 Contribution of D.C. Line to short In AC system short current is more
circuit current is less.
10 Power control is fast and accurate - Power control is slow
since there is less inertia due to the
absence of rotating parts
11 Unlimited power can be transmitted
12 The converters required at both ends Investment in terminal equipment is
are very expensive. Hence D.C lines less.
are economically viable only of the
distance of the line is more.
13 The converters absorb reactive power - No such problem
which must be supplied locally. Since
D.C. blocks the transmission of
reactive VA. the receiving end must
be capable of supplying the whole of
reactive component of power required
by load.
14 Suitable for point to point transmission - Suitable for inter connected system

Types of D. C. Links
H.V.D.C. links (D.C. link = converter+ D.C. lines+ Inverter system) can be
classified as follows:
1 Monopolar link
In this configuration one conductor (usually negative) is used and earth is used
as the return path. Negative polarity is used since it reduce radio interference.
2. Bipolar Link
This configuration has two conductors one positive and one negative. At each
terminal two converters of equal voltage ratings are connected in series, the neutral points
being earthed- Two poles can operate independently, when both neutrals are grounded.
When the current in the two conductors are equal, the ground current is zero. Even if one
conductor is faulty the remaining one conductor can continue with 50% load. The
voltage rating of a bipolar link is usually expressed as ± ... volts.
3. Homopolar link
It has two conductor but having the same polarity (usually negative). The link
operates with ground return. In case of a fault in one conductor the converter can be
connected to deliver power through the other conductor.


An insulator, also called a dielectric, is a material that resists the flow of electric current.
In insulating materials valence electrons are tightly-bonded to their atoms. These
materials are used in parts of electrical equipment, also called insulators or insulation,
intended to support or separate electrical conductors without passing current through
themselves. The term is also used more specifically to refer to insulating supports that
attach electric power transmission wires to utility poles or pylons.

Some materials such as glass, paper or Teflon are very good electrical insulators. A much
larger class of materials, for example rubber-like polymers and most plastics are still
"good enough" to insulate electrical wiring and cables even though they may have lower
bulk resistivity.

Pin Type Insulators

Pin type insulators are used for the typically used for straight-running
transmission of lower voltages. A single transmission lines.
pin type insulator is used to transmit
voltages up to 11 kV (kilovolts) and
higher voltages require two-, three- or
four-piece pin insulators. They are not
economically feasible for 33 kV and
higher transmission lines. Pin type
insulators are secured with steel or lead
bolts onto transmission poles. These are

Suspension Type Insulators

Suspension type transmission line porcelain discs, with each individual unit
insulators suspend and support high designed to support a particular voltage.
voltage transmission lines. They are cost Together, a system of these discs is
effective for higher voltage transmission, capable of effectively supporting high
typically replacing multiple pin type voltages. There are three types of
insulators. Suspension type insulators suspension insulators: cemented cap
have a number of interconnected suspension insulators; interlinking or
Hewlett suspension insulators; and link
or core suspension insulators.

Strain Type Insulators

Strain type insulators are horizontally
suspended suspension insulators. They
are used to handle mechanical stresses
and take the pressure off a conductor at
the end of a transmission line, at a sharp
corner or curve or over long river
crossings. Strain insulators are typically
used for higher voltage transmissions.

Shackle Type Insulators

Shackle type insulators, similar to strain
type insulators, are used on sharp curves,
end poles and in section poles. However,
unlike strain insulators, shackle
insulators are designed to support lower
voltages. These insulators are single,
round porcelain parts that are mounted
horizontally or vertically.

Stay Insulators
Stay insulators, also called egg insulators, are primarily used to prevent stay wires from
becoming energized from accidentally broken live wires. They, therefore, function to
provide insulation between stay clamps and transmission poles. Stay insulators are
mounted at a height of at least 3 meters (118 inches) from ground level.

A power cable is an assembly of two or more electrical conductors, usually held together
with an overall sheath. The assembly is used for transmission of electrical power. Power
cables may be installed as permanent wiring within buildings, buried in the ground, run
overhead, or exposed.
A high voltage cable designed for 400
kv. Large center conductor carries the
current, smaller conductors on the
outside act as a shield to equalize the
voltage stress in the thick polyethylene
insulation layer.