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Wide Area Protection Coordination Studies Study Methodology, Benefits, and ConEd Experience


Authors: Majida Malki, Jorge Velez, Kevin Judd, Hibourahima Camara, and David G. Hart


It has been the standard practice at utilities to periodically perform wide-area protection coordination (WAPC) studies. A WAPC study systematically evaluates protective relay coordination using utility-defined scenarios and criteria to identify latent issues that can impact protection performance. The scope of the study can range from an entire utility transmission system to a smaller subset such as a region or voltage level. However, the power grid of the 21st century is rapidly changing. Many utilities have already or are planning retirements of coal plants, increased deployment of renewables and battery storage, and continued capital investments. These changes are affecting the short circuit fault current levels and locations. In addition, the PRC-027 standard is requiring utilities to examine the changes on the system to ensure proper operation of the protection systems.

All of these factors create an urgent need to perform WAPC studies; however, the protection groups that would be responsible for such studies are typically overburdened. While a comprehensive WAPC program may seem like an overwhelming task, proven automation techniques can be applied to break it down into manageable steps and ensure a successful result. This white paper provides an overview of the methodology for WAPC studies, as well as some results from a study performed by Consolidated Edison (ConEd).

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