Power System Safety

Project ID: 613
Principal Investigator: Jim DeHaan
Research Topic: Improved Power Generation
Priority Area Assignments: 2015 (Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation), 2016 (Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation)
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015, 2016 and 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

Power system safety is formulated to develop solutions for personnel safety in Reclamation electrical power generation and other supporting facilities. The research is aimed at preventing personnel injuries and reducing/eliminating potential damage to equipment.

Need and Benefit

The program research goal is to improve the safety and reliability of Reclamation power plants and potentially bring solutions to industry via technology transfer. Avoiding personnel injury(s) or death(s) is the highest priority of any organization.

Improving personnel safety and reducing facility operation and maintenance (O&M) costs are all an evolving problem set. To date, no guidance has been provided by industry regarding DC arc flash requirements for personnel safety. This research project addresses the DC arc flash concern by the development and deployment of a device that can remove the potential for DC arc flash before it develops.

The protection of employees while they work on de-energized power equipment is another high priority for plant managers. Past research has been performed that dramatically improves the industry's ability to predict the safety of personal protective grounds. The publication of this information into a peer reviewed technical publications will help in the adoption of these new methods into IEEE safety guides and for these new methods to be accepted in the industry. These guides are used to develop utility safety programs including those at Reclamation.

The recent burn injury at Grand Coulee Powerplant helps demonstrate that there is room for improvement in Reclamation safety program. The prevention of this type of incident in the future requires improvements to Reclamation maintenance program as well as additional engineering barriers to prevent mis-operation of equipment.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Temporary Protective Ground Cable Impedance K-Factors for Predicting Worker Touch Voltage (final, PDF, 1.9MB)
By Philip Atwater, James DeHaan
Publication completed on March 15, 2016

Development of this book is based on years of research performed by the Hydropower Diagnostics and SCADA Group and onsite testing performed at various Bureau of Reclamation and Western Area Power Administration facilities. Support and funding was provided through the Bureau of Reclamation Science and Technology Program.

Power System Safety (final, PDF, 956KB)
By James DeHaan
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Power System Safety (final, PDF, 956KB)
By James DeHaan
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17