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Overview Of Power System Architecture
Overview Of Power System Architecture (Switchboard For Wind Farm Vessel Tokai; photo by By Gary Williams at Flickr)


The various components of a power system can be arranged in different ways. The complexity of the resulting architecture determines the availability of electrical energy and the cost of the investment.

Selection of an architecture for a given application is therefore based on a trade-off between technical necessities and cost.

Architectures include the following:

  1. Radial systems
    • Single-feeder
    • Double-feeder
    • Parallel-feeder
    • Dual supply with double busbars
  2. Loop systems
    • Open loop
    • Closed loop
  3. Systems with internal power generation
    • Normal source generation
    • Replacement source generation

The table below lists the main characteristics of each architecture for comparison. Illustrations are provided below table.

Architecture Use Advantages Drawbacks
Single-feeder radial Processes not requiring
continuous supply
E.g. a cement works
Most simple architecture
Easy to protect
Minimum cost
Low availability
Downtime due to faults may be long
A single fault interrupts supply to the entire
Double-feeder radial Continuous processes: steel,
Good continuity of supply
Maintenance possible on busbars
of main switchboard
Expensive solution
Partial operation of busbars during
Parallel-feeder Large power systems
Future expansion is limited
Good continuity of supply
Simple protection
Requires automatic control functions
Double busbars Processes requiring high
continuity of service
Processes with major load
Good continuity of supply
Flexible operation: no-break transfers
Flexible maintenance
Expensive solution
Requires automatic control functions
 Loop systems
Open loop Very large power systems
Major future expansion
Loads concentrated in
different zones of a site
Less expensive than closed loop
Simple protection
Faulty segment can be isolated during loop
Requires automatic control functions
Closed loop Power system offering high
continuity of service
Very large power systems
Loads concentrated in
different zones of a site
Good continuity of supply
Does not require automatic control
Expensive solution
Complex protection system
 Internal power generation
Normal source
Industrial process sites
producing their own energy
E.g. paper plants, steel
Good continuity of supply
Cost of energy (energy recovered
from process)
Expensive solution
Replacement source
(source changeover)
Industrial and commercial
E.g. hospitals
Good continuity of supply for priority
outgoing feeders
Requires automatic control functions

Examples of Power System Architectures

Examples of power system architectures
Examples of power system architectures

Resource: Electrical network protection guide – Schneider Electric

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Edvard Csanyi

Electrical engineer, programmer and founder of EEP. Highly specialized for design of LV/MV switchgears and LV high power busbar trunking (<6300A) in power substations, commercial buildings and industry facilities. Professional in AutoCAD programming.


  1. Ogunmola sulaimon
    May 26, 2015

    It is interesting and educative

  2. chandra shekhar
    Oct 01, 2014


    I want to know about the design aspects of power system components and the grid systems .
    please give me suggestions that how can I enhance my knowledge in this field.

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