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Power System Analysis Software Tools Computer Science Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Computer Science
Wordcount: 2768 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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This paper is a review of few Power System Analysis software tools available in electrical industry (ERACS, EDSA and PSCAD), that provides the study of proposed and actual systems under a variety of possible operating conditions. The main intention is to present the information, application, features, models, procedure and also comparing specific elements of available software tools in power engineering.

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Power system analysis tools, were first developed during 1960’s and 1970’s. Power system analysis software tools are used to study the ‘life’ and ‘behavior’ of power systems. The studies are essential to support the design of the system or to determine the operational performance that can be expected from an existing system, the scope and complexity of these studies can vary greatly depending on tool used and also on system it is operating.

The electric industry is one of the most rapidly changing and demanding needs of the nation. For expansion and operation of electric infrastructure, (efficiency, environment and economy) play vital role in the sustainability of utilities and electric companies. The fundamental need of a power company is efficient planning and accurate prediction of equipments life. Modeling power system requirements for generation, transmission and distribution of electric power is vital regarding capital investment and management. Using efficient analytical tool in modeling power systems increases productivity, reduces capital investment, reduces repairs in equipments, and improves services. The power system analysis software tools (ERACS, EDSA, PSCAD) mentioned in this review possess some main features of a tool includes: Power Flow, Short Circuit, Stability, Protection and Coordination, DC System Analysis, Optimal Power Flow, Reliability, Contingency, Availability of Components Models, Database/Reporting/Integration Capabilities.

Software tools overview: This section presents an overview of Power system analysis software tools that are available in the market. Product details can be found on the reference mentioned.


ERACS was first released in the early 1970’s. ERACS is commercially available Power System Analysis software. It allows the user to simulate electrical power system network timely operation with quality, reliability, accuracy, ease of operation and adaptability to the developing market needs. In 1974 it was the only power system analysis software available with load flow, Short circuit and Transient programs working in a common file structure.

ERACS is PC-based fully integrated and supplied with a graphical interface. It has large library of equipment data to make operations user-friendly. It is extensively used in generation, transmission, distribution, utilities, marine, mining and quarrying, CHP schemes, renewable energy, academia and industrial training.

i) ERACS Programs and Options:

Graphical user interface controls the ERACS network databases

Load flow calculates the steady state conditions of power system network.

Fault calculation simulates the application of fault conditions.

Fault IEC 909 is implementation of the IEC standards and simulates the application of fault conditions using IEC 909 techniques.

Harmonic injection calculates the effects of harmonic sources and both graphical and numerical results are formatted.

Harmonic impedance calculates harmonic impedance between selected bus bars and also identifies resonance condition.

Transient stability to study the dynamic system behavior (e.g. motor starting, fault application, generator).

Protection co-ordination analyses the application of protection devices and their interaction under fault conditions.

Universal dynamic modeler allows AVR, Governor and controlled shunt models to be built and configured to use within loadflow or transient stability.

Arc flash hazards assessment assesses the severity of arc flash hazards in the electrical network and warning labels can be generated from the tabulated results.

Network versions

Bus bar versions 10,50,100,150,300,500 and 1500.

ii) ERACS Enhancements:

Version 3.9.0 – Released 19/02/10

The copy library key facilities have been improved.

Diagram refresh time has been improved.

Tutorial guide 1 and 2 has been updated.

Library description field has been increased.

Windows remote desktop connection has been modified.

ERACS Cable and fuse reference library data has been updated.

Version 3.8.0 – Released 18/02/09

In line with European standards phase identification and color coding has been updated.

Web security key diagnostics has been updated.

To enables text to be added to a diagram, a button has been added to toolbar.

Motor mechanical load and measured voltage distortion symbol has been added to network diagram.

Arc flash hazard assessment program has been to ERACS.

A wizard facility has been added to for a new ERACS Network.

Version 3.7.2 – Released 02/01/08

The ‘copy keys’ has been added to library.

Fuse library has been updated.

The series elements labels has been changed from +/-/Zero Sequence to Pos, Neg and Zero


iii) ERACS Toolbar:

Help toolbar

Result toolbar

System toolbar

View toolbar

Zoom toolbar

Calculation toolbar

This toolbar gives easy access to calculation in ERACS, such as Loadflow, Fault calculations, IEC909, harmonic injection, etc. Clink on any one of the option from above calculation toolbar we can perform corresponding calculation in ERACS.

iv) Example of Fault calculation:

The fault program of ERACS enables user to calculate currents and voltages around a network immediately after fault occurs. The program provides simulation facilities for the following fault condition; phase-to -earth; two phase-to-earth; phase-to-phase; and three phase-to-earth. Fault may occur at the terminals of any system elements including busbars and at any point along the line. The program also has an option allowing user specified faults to be calculated for each bar in the system.

In the example below the location of fault is shown in the (Fig.1) in a ‘result box’ and arrows indicate the direction of the power flow with user selected result shown.

Fig.1. Fault location in a network

b) EDSA:

EDSA is electrical power system design, simulation, and power analytics software. EDSA was founded in 1983; since then EDSA has been the leading pioneer in electrical distribution systems design, simulation and advance maintenance solution. It is also extensively used by thousands of commercial, industrial, government, and military customers worldwide, to protect customer assets. EDSA products have been certified by International Standards Organization (ISO), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), NATO and others.

Paladin DesignBase is Power System Design and simulation software. Provides user power system model “Perfect on Paper”, it is the most comprehensive electrical power systems design and analysis platform. It allows user to perform accurate simulation of their infrastructure design, under all unlimited range of operating conditions and system parameters.

i) Features:

Master model-based architecture for design and analysis.

Specialized programs, dozen core programs and 30 + optional programs.

800-component symbols catalog.

Easy-to-navigate user interface.

Deployable Design for Diagnostics.

ii) Applications:

Fault Analysis calculates the effect of fault in three phase, single phase and DC power distribution systems.

Arc Flash Simulation based on test results from IEEE-1584 and recommendations of NFPA-70E.

Protection Coordination for protective devices in three phase, single phase, and DC power systems.

Power Flow Analysis enable users to perform balanced three phase and single phase load flow on almost in all network configurations.

Power Quality Analysis and Mitigation harmonic analysis is performed on power system.

Power System Optimization

Sizing Optimization

Reliability and Capacity

iii) EDSA Short Circuit Analysis:

Fig.2. Network under Short circuit analysis

The network shown in Fig (2) consists of three generators supplying power to six induction motors fed through bus B1 and B2.

Generator Data (All): Motor Data (All):

Rating: 1 MVA / 450 Volts Rating: 212.5 Sh-KW / 450 Volts

T”: 20 ms T”: 20.5 ms

T’: 400 ms Tdc: 10 ms

Tdc: 40 ms


Step 1: Load the pre-built file as indicated in the above screen-capture (Fig.3).


Step 2: Assign the Generator Time constant information for Generator G1 as indicated in the above screen-capture (Fig.4) and repeat this step for G2 and G3. This information is identical for all three generators.


Step 3: Assign the Motor Time constant information for Motor M1 as indicated in the above screen-capture(Fig.5). Repeat this step for motor M2 to M6. This information for all six motors is identical.


Step 4: Invoke EDSA interface. As indicated in the above screen-capture (Fig.6).


Step 5: Define the scope of the study and other reporting options, as indicated in the above screen-capture (Fig.7).

Step 6: Select the Run command and Run the analysis.


Step 7: Once the calculations are completed, the results are shown in the output screen (Fig.8)

C) PSCAD/EMTDC (Manitoba HVDC Research Centre):

PSCAD (Power System Computer Aided Design) was first released in 1993 on UNIX operating system. PSCAD is fast, accurate and easily accessible power system simulation for the design and evaluation of all types of power systems. It is a powerful and flexible design tool and graphical user interface to EMTDC. PSCAD users include engineers from utilities, manufacturers, engineering consulting firms, and research and academic institutions. It is also used effectively in the areas of power quality analysis, protection and electricity utility system planning studies.

i) Applications of PSCAD:

Insulation coordination of AC and DC equipments.

Power system studies, including fault, reclosure, and ferroresonance.

Distribution system design, including transient overvoltage, with custom power controllers and distributed generation.

Design of modern transportation systems using power electronics.

Design, control coordination and system integration of wind farms, diesel system, and energy storage.

Design power electronic system and control including FACTS devices, active filters, low voltage series and shunt compensation devices.

Variable speed drives, their design and control.

Power quality analysis and improvement, including harmonic in non-linear loads.

Multiple-run optimization techniques can be applied to both control system and electrical parameters.

Relay testing (waveforms) and detailed analysis of the CT/VT/CCVT responses and their impact on operation.

ii) Features:

Powerful and dynamic controls, User friendly interface with Windows, Advance plotting technique, High quality simulation performance, Data import and export facilities, Powerful, visual tools, Online help connects the user with industry leaders, Complex systems can be quickly organized from basic building blocks.

Model library is one of the important features of PSCAD, possess wide range of custom components and tested models. This master library with over 280 flexible components allows user to built nonlinear models of the power system combining generation, transmission, distribution, power electronics and control circuits in to one or several models. (See Fig. 9)

Fig.9. Model library (PSCAD).

Model library components:

Fixed and variable resistors, Inductors, Capacitors, Transformers winding, Controllable current and voltage sources, Transmission lines and cables, Switches, Diodes, GTOs, IGBTs, thyristors, THD meters, Analog and digital control functions, AC and DC machines, Power electronics converters, HVDC, and Programmable faults.

iii) Example Simulation on PSCAD:

Wind Farm simulation.

Load simulation screen from PSCAD to do wind farm simulation as shown in Fig. 10.

Fig.10. Wind farm under study

Navigate the master library and brief view the contents.

Navigate a module from the canvas.

Both runtime input control and output graphs are embedded on the schematic pages which allows easy to control and help in understanding of results.

Look at components parameters and modify the settings as shown in Fig.11.


Explain the interactive controls.

Add components need for simulation from the master library. PSCAD allows the user to change many parameters, components and settings during the simulation so user can see an immediate change in result.

Fig.12. Selecting components from master library.

Run the simulation.

Comparison of ERACS, EDSA, and PSCAD:





Early 1970’s



Operating system

Windows 2000 and Windows XP

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or Windows 2000

Windows 2000 and Windows XP

Key programs

Load flow

Fault Analysis

Harmonics Injection

Protection Co-ordination

Fault Analysis

Protection Co-ordination

Power Quality Analysis and Mitigation

Dynamic Simulation

Design and Sizing Optimization

Insulation coordination

Designing power electronic systems

Power quality analysis

Industrial systems

Transient studies

Areas of implication

Generation, Transmission, Distribution, Utilities, Offshore, Marine, Mining, Transport, and Academic

Aerospace, Data centers, Energy, Government, Manufacturing, Military, Transportation, and Petrochemical

Industrial planning, Transportation, Generation, Transmission, Education and Research


Graphical user interface

User interface

Both MATLAB/Simulink


ISO 9001 and TickIT

International Standard Organization (ISO), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Department of Defense (DoD), NATO, Det Norske Veritas (DNV).


Released Version

ERACS Version 3.9.0 in Feb 2010

ERACS Version 3.8.0 in Feb 2009

ERACS Version 3.7.2 in Jan 2008

EDSA Paladin DesignBase 3.1 in July 2010

EDSA Paladin DesignBase 3.0 in Feb 2010

EDSA Paladin DesignBase 2.0 in Jan 2009

PSCAD/EMTDC Version X4 in March 2010

PSCAD/EMTDC Version 4.2.1 in May 2007

PSCAD/EMTDC Version 4.2.1 in early 2006

Future Project



Research and development project called nexus.


Power system analysis software tools such as ERACS, EDSA, and PSCADs applications, features, models, procedures and information of these packages were discussed and also specific elements has been compared in this review.

Power system analysis software discussed in this paper has wide range of programs and features. It is user responsible to do suitable study to ensure safe, economically and efficient operation of power system. It is challenging and time consuming to learn and work efficiently with these programs and also user should have a thorough knowledge and base experience in power system engineering to correctly interpret the results of computer applications.


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