Dynamic loading of substation distribution transformers: an application for use in a production grade environment
Recent trends in the electric power industry have led to more attention to optimal operation of power transformers. In a deregulated environment, optimal operation means minimizing the maintenance and extending the life of this critical and costly equipment for the purpose of maximizing profits. Optimal utilization of a transformer can be achieved through the use of dynamic loading. A benefit of dynamic loading is that it allows better utilization of the transformer capacity, thus increasing the flexibility and reliability of the power system. This document presents the progress on a software application which can estimate the maximum time-varying loading capability of transformers. This information can be used to load devices closer to their limits without exceeding the manufacturer specified operating limits. The maximally efficient dynamic loading of transformers requires a model that can accurately predict both top-oil temperatures (TOTs) and hottest-spot temperatures (HSTs). In the previous work, two kinds of thermal TOT and HST models have been studied and used in the application: the IEEE TOT/HST models and the ASU TOT/HST models. And, several metrics have been applied to evaluate the model acceptability and determine the most appropriate models for using in the dynamic loading calculations. In this work, an investigation to improve the existing transformer thermal models performance is presented. Some factors that may affect the model performance such as improper fan status and the error caused by the poor performance of IEEE models are discussed. Additional methods to determine the reliability of transformer thermal models using metrics such as time constant and the model parameters are also provided. A new production grade application for real-time dynamic loading operating purpose is introduced. This application is developed by using an existing planning application, TTeMP, as a start point, which is designed for the dispatchers and load specialists. To overcome the limitations of TTeMP, the new application can perform dynamic loading under emergency conditions, such as loss-of transformer loading. It also has the capability to determine the emergency rating of the transformers for a real-time estimation.