Fault Protection And Control For the 21st Century Utility

ABB’s Relion 670 IED series offers a complete solution for utility protection and control applications.
Published: Mon 21 Sep 2015

Ageing infrastructure and growing demand are driving much of the changes in the energy sector in countries across the world. Smart grid and other infrastructure upgrades are bringing increased digitization and interconnections that both demand and enable new approaches to managing the system, from power generation, across the grid and down to the customer level.

With this come new demands for protection and control, both at the virtual and physical levels. With cyber threats on the increase, new comprehensive security strategies are needed, such as those discussed in our webinar, Cyber security care: ABB’s three phased approach to smarter system protection. Similarly physical threats require new strategies and technologies that are able to meet the demands of this new system, which are highlighted in the above mentioned webinar.

“Protection and control is like an insurance policy,” says Joseph Menezes, Global Product Manager for Relion 670 IED series at ABB, in an interview with Engerati. “On a blue sky day power is generated and transmitted with no problem but an unforeseen fault can occur within a fraction of a second, which can lead to equipment damage or harm to personnel and outages.”

Transmission faults are most common

Joseph Menezes says that the majority of such problems occurs on the transmission system and can range from something as simple as the effects of a lightning strike to a tower, a tree falling on a line causing an earth fault or some equipment malfunction.

With transmission systems being increasingly interconnected between countries and transmitting high levels of power to meet demand, the impacts of such a fault could potentially be very widespread, requiring a rapid response to detect and isolate the problem.

“Typically utilities demand a fault clearance time of faster than one electric frequency cycle, or less than 20 ms,” says Joseph Menezes.  Meeting such high demands of fault clearance enables utilities to transfer higher amount of electric power on existing transmission networks. It will always be more cost effective to maintain existing transmission systems by protecting them than to build new systems.

Fault protection and control

Joseph Menezes says “ABB’s approach to protection and control is its Relion product series, which offers a complete solution of basic to high level Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) for all power system applications.

“Based on the IEC 61850 standard for substation automation, which ensures interoperability with systems from different vendors, the flagship 670 series IED is now in Version 2, which incorporates IEC 61850 Edition 2 and other new functionalities.

“The Relion 670 series is based on a platform with product applications that we have developed based on specific requirements from generation to transmission and complete substation automation installations. Together with an accompanying suite of tools, users may adapt and configure these to their own applications.”

Why Relion 670?

Joseph Menezes says that the current 670 family has an installed base of more than 100,000 devices, more than 1,000 engineers working at development and customer support levels and is based on more than 100 years of experience in the field.

He adds another key feature as “The power of one” common hardware base and common set of tools which means that “learning for one is learning for all.”

“As we have evolved the Relion 670 series with the evolving IEC 61850 standard, we are protecting the investment that customers have made, as well as opening new opportunities both for current customers as well as utilities that want to integrate to larger systems,” Joseph Menezes says. “For example, typically utilities use several different protection philosophies and the 670 family can suit all of these. It also supports the move to the digital substation, enabling utilities to migrate to more fibre-based communication or stay with conventional communication, or to go to a hybrid solution.”

In conclusion, Joseph Menezes advises utilities to update to a latest generation protection and control technology such as the Relion 670 IED family. “The technology has evolved. With old technology a utility is limited in its fault analysis when a fault occurs, however with the latest generation Relion 670 series IED technology, faults can be analyzed faster and more accurately, which allows preventive actions to avoid such faults in the future.”

For more on the Relion 670 family, see the webinar ABB Relion® 670 Version 2 – The power of one solution for protection and control.

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