Fault current controller (FCC) technology, also frequently referred to as fault current limiter (FCL) technology,has been identified as a potentially viable solution for expanding the capacity of the transmission system and its service life to meet the growing demand for electricity, by addressing the impacts of the resulting higher fault currents. This document reports on the program supported by the California Institute for Energy and Environment under the California Energy Commission in the development of distribution class FCC technology. The project focused on test plan development, prototyping, laboratory test, and field demonstration, with a view toward potential further technical development and application of the technology in transmission-level systems. The University of California Irvineled the project with overall responsibility for project management, administration, coordination, and technical guidance, with the support of the California Institute for Energy & Environment (CIEE) at the University of California, Berkeley. Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) was the host utility for the field demonstration, providing on-site engineering personnel, expertise and support. Zenergy Power and the EPRI/Silicon Power team were engaged to prototype a passive type FCC and an active FCC, respectively, for laboratory testing and field demonstration.
A full-size three-phase distribution level high temperature superconductor (HTS) FCC prototype was designed, built, and field tested by Zenergy Power, plc. The prototype FCC went through several iterations of extensive testing at Powertech Labs Inc., Surrey, BC, Canada and at the High Voltage Laboratory of SCE’s Westminster facility prior to field installation. It was then installed at SCE’s Avanti “Circuit of the Future” for field demonstration from March 2009 through October 2010.
The EPRI/Silicon Power team has completed an initial design for asolid-state based FCC. Due to design changesthat were necessary to improve the thermal management of the prototype but were beyond the scope of this project, this design did not advance to the laboratory and field test stages during the project period.
This report provides a technology survey of FCC technology, including both the saturable core and solid-state types represented by this project, followed by detailed design considerations, laboratory test procedures and results, field test installation and metering, and field demonstration outcomes. The report concludes with a summary of the lessons learned and recommendations for future research efforts