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A Practical Guide to Performing Wide-area Coordination Analysis

By Bipasha Barman, P.E.; Jason Clack, P.E.; and Vernon Padaca, P.E.


A wide-area coordination study systematically
reevaluates protective relay coordinated elements with
standardized protection coordination criteria to identify
means to improve protection performance. The scope of
the study can range from an entire utility transmission
and distribution system to a smaller subset that may only
include a few terminals.

Some unique challenges that may arise when performing
a wide-area coordination study are described in this
paper. These challenges include: defining what parts of
the electrical system to include in the wide-area
coordination study, system operations and contingencies
to consider, relays/protection elements to include in the
study, and what data is needed for the study. Defining a
systematic approach to the coordination study can also be
a challenge in itself. The study can be performed on a
protection element-by-element basis or be divided into
system subsets such as operating voltage levels or
geographic areas.

This paper serves as a guide for developing a systematic
approach to performing a wide-area coordination study.
It presents considerations and choices the protection
engineer may be faced with, and gives examples of tradeoffs
made when coordination cannot be met. The paper
also discusses specific topics such as utilizing engineering
software tools for automated coordination checking and
strategies for resolving coordination time margin
violations in looped systems under tight coordination

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