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Overview of Grounding Schemes for Solid-State Transformers in Distribution Networks

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Author: Zang, Jiajie
Proposed to be the critical enabling component for future distribution networks, solid-state transformers (SSTs) have drawn much attention lately. They have a massive potential to help reduce size and weight, improve efficiency, integrate microgrids, renewables and energy storages in distribution systems, and can fulfil multiple grid functions such as bidirectional power flow control, fault isolation, system reconfiguration, and post-fault restoration. The introduction of these power electronics devices in distribution systems, however, also brings new challenges to the grid. Extra levels of electromagnetic interference, stray current, and personnel safety are among the most prominent practical issues that proper grounding arrangements can address. In this paper, considerations that should be factored into the grounding scheme design for SST ports with different voltage forms and levels are thoroughly reviewed and summarised. The characteristics of various grounding schemes used in AC and DC distribution systems are evaluated and compared in detail from different perspectives. Based on the comprehensive review, several combinations of grounding schemes are recommended for typical SSTs. In addition, the inclusion of new relay protection devices in the SST grounding scheme design, considering their characteristics and unique requirements, to enhance protection and reliability is also discussed.
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