A Computer-aided Methodology for Modelling Thermal Behavior of Underground Power Cables

M.A. El-Kady and A.A. Al-Ohaly (Saudi Arabia)


Modeling and Simulation, Underground Distribution, Power Losses, Computer-Aided Tools


The interconnected Saudi electricity power transmission grid is characterized by an extensive use of underground power cables. Significant amounts of design and operating cost reductions as well as energy loss savings could be achieved via optimizing cable performance under various loading and soil conditions. In this regard, advanced computer-aided tools for power cable analysis can be used to assist cable engineers in making the right choices regarding cable installation designs and operating scenarios which will achieve minimum energy losses. This paper describes an efficient method for computer-aided cable analysis and optimization of power cables which combines the ease of the traditional Neher-MacGrath and IEC methods with the more advanced and accurate ladder network analysis techniques. The paper also discusses and compares the usefulness and effectiveness of existing power utility methods of evaluating the cable ampacity and energy losses. The results of many relevant practical applications have demonstrated that, while a minimum cost of cable installation is desirable, some installations may produce unnecessarily large energy losses than others during the actual operation. The traditional trade-of between minimum cable design cost and minimum operating energy losses is therefore an important issue in practical cable design applications.

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