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High-Performance Grounding for Power Systems

The importance of high-performance grounding for power systems is often misunderstood and underappreciated. Proper grounding is a crucial aspect of protecting power equipment and utility personnel while also minimizing system downtime. A properly engineered grounding system allows for the operation of safety mechanisms such as surge arresters and will also limit ground potential rise (GPR) and touch & step voltages to acceptable levels defined by IEEE-80.

SAE assesses each grounding project as an independent case since the grounding requirements can vary between locations due to unique environmental and geological characteristics. In order to engineer and install a high-performance grounding system, the SAE team measures soil resistivity and gathers data on soil types and features that can affect a grounding system. This can include nearby agricultural areas, wetlands, and impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) systems.

By utilizing SES CDEGS software, SAE can create an accurate soil model based on site-specific resistivity data. This is then used to calculate the required grounding at each site to meet target resistance-to-ground values. After installation, resistance-to-ground is measurable by fall-of-potential testing or using a clamp-on resistance meter, but offers minimal insight to the actual performance of a grounding system. SAE Conducrete® has been proven to reduce the resistance and impedance of a grounding electrode by up to 80%. A lower impedance ground is better suited for mitigating high magnitude current surges from lightning strikes or line-to-ground fault events.

Take a look at the table below to see the performance benefits of a Conducrete® enhanced counterpoise electrode.