High-Frequency Signature-Based Fault Detection for Future MV Distribution Grids: Preprint

Yaswanth Nag Velaga, Kumaraguru Prabakar, Akanksha Singh, Pankaj Sen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Increased deployment of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and microgrids are significantly changing the operation of distribution grid. Increasing penetration of power electronics based DERs also raise several operational problems such as protection coordination issues, voltage raise, recloser synchronization, stability, and frequency control. Legacy systems are designed for unidirectional power flow. Bidirectional power flows, and varying short circuit levels are some of the major challenges in implementing these legacy protection schemes for future power grid with high penetration of power electronics based DERs. Inverter based DER’s can contribute to a maximum of 2 p.u. fault current. Interconnection standards might require even lower fault current contribution. If these protection related challenges are not addressed, it will result in limiting the penetration of DERs in distribution feeders. In this paper, the feasibility of high frequency signature generated by transients is evaluated to identify and locate faults in a distribution system. The paper will discuss the need for an accurate line modeling approach to accurately capture the high frequency signatures. These high frequency signatures are naturally occurring electromagnetic transients for events such as switching events in the network, faults events, etc. This is different than that implemented in transmission systems as the proposed approach utilizes advanced signal processing techniques to retrieve valuable information from the high frequency signatures generated during faults and does not just rely on time delay measurements between reflections of the high frequency signals. In the full paper, information of a modified IEEE distribution feeder test system to accurately model the high frequency signatures will be provided. The distribution lines will be modeled using universal line modeling (ULM) technique in an electromagnetic transients program (EMTP) modeling platform. Different test cases will be simulated and these test cases will include different fault types, multiple fault locations, capacitor bank switching, etc. The feeder system modeled for these simulations will also include power electronics based DERs. Additionally, experimental results demonstrating the high frequency signatures generated due to a transient event in a medium voltage (13.8 kV) distribution line will also be presented in the full paper. Furthermore, the analysis combined with simulation and experimental results in the full paper will help demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of the proposed protection scheme. The developed protection scheme will not just help solve problems generated by bidirectional current flow, varying short-circuit current capacity, but also help in proliferation of DERs in distribution systems.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2020
Event56th IEEE Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Technical Conference (I&CPS) -
Duration: 29 Jun 202028 Jul 2020


Conference56th IEEE Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Technical Conference (I&CPS)

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5D00-77974 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-74785


  • distribution line modeling
  • distribution system protection
  • electromagnetic transient program
  • EMTP
  • fault analysis
  • fault detection
  • high-frequency signature
  • traveling wave


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