(Difference between revisions)
 Revision as of 13:00, 5 January 2009 (view source)SHH (Talk | contribs)m (Protected "John Chadwick Oral History" [edit=sysop:move=sysop])← Older edit Revision as of 19:34, 23 January 2009 (view source)Nbrewer (Talk | contribs) Newer edit → Line 661: Line 661: Very, very little. In the past hundred years the voltage transformers have. On lower voltages, it’s inexpensive, but if you go up in voltage... For example, at 161 kV the percentage of a voltage transformer and a current transformer to the price of a protective relay terminal was maybe four or five to one. When you go to 500 kV, the ratio becomes much higher. In dead-tank circuit breakers, the CTs only cost four or five hundred dollars each. So you put three of them per phase to protect the line. Go to 500 kV or 765 kV, and you have to have free-standing current transformers. You can't employ bushing CT's because it's a hot-tank breaker and so forth. A hot-tank breaker feeds a free-standing CT, and a free-standing CT is about ten to twelve percent of the cost of the breaker! Very, very little. In the past hundred years the voltage transformers have. On lower voltages, it’s inexpensive, but if you go up in voltage... For example, at 161 kV the percentage of a voltage transformer and a current transformer to the price of a protective relay terminal was maybe four or five to one. When you go to 500 kV, the ratio becomes much higher. In dead-tank circuit breakers, the CTs only cost four or five hundred dollars each. So you put three of them per phase to protect the line. Go to 500 kV or 765 kV, and you have to have free-standing current transformers. You can't employ bushing CT's because it's a hot-tank breaker and so forth. A hot-tank breaker feeds a free-standing CT, and a free-standing CT is about ten to twelve percent of the cost of the breaker! − Now at 1000 kV I've done projections, or estimates of cost, and it jumps to twenty-five percent of the cost of the breaker. So you've got to find another way to do this — you're getting too expensive. This is where you'll see the change to transducers first. Then it'll come down to the lower voltage levels. The Faraday effect will be used for current transformation. The Pockel effect and the Kerr effect will be used for the voltage transducer. It will come down, fed by fiber optics from the base, and it will be a completely passive device; there will be no moving parts and no power needed in the switchyard. It will do away with the transient problems in the switchyards, which are a major, major consideration in high voltage stations. It's a very dirty electrical environment. In the switchhouse you will transform the light beams, which are analog, into whatever you need to feed by feeding an A-to-D converter. Once you've got it digital, Whoosh! You spread it all over the place by ethernet or whatever local area network you happen to have in the station. + Now at 1000 kV I've done projections, or estimates of cost, and it jumps to twenty-five percent of the cost of the breaker. So you've got to find another way to do this — you're getting too expensive. This is where you'll see the change to transducers first. Then it'll come down to the lower voltage levels. The Faraday effect will be used for current transformation. The Pockel effect and the Kerr effect will be used for the voltage transducer. It will come down, fed by fiber optics from the base, and it will be a completely passive device; there will be no moving parts and no power needed in the switchyard. It will do away with the transient problems in the switchyards, which are a major, major consideration in high voltage stations. It's a very dirty electrical environment. In the switchhouse you will transform the light beams, which are analog, into whatever you need to feed by feeding an A-to-D converter. Once you've got it digital, Whoosh! You spread it all over the place by [[Ethernet|ethernet]] or whatever local area network you happen to have in the station. '''Aspray:''' '''Aspray:'''

## Contents

Chadwick grew up in North Carolina and graduated from North Carolina State College in 1947 with a major in Electrical Engineering. He went to work immediately for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and spent his entire 40+ year career with them. He spent two years in the engineer training program, five years as a field test engineer in Bowling Green, KY, was area supervisor at Bowling Green till 1960, then transferred out of the field and to an office job in the Electrical Engineering and Design Branch in Chattanooga. This change overlapped with the end of the era at the TVA of building dams and steams plants, when maintenance and improvement of the existing infrastructure became more important. (He also notes that the TVA workforce of ca. 50K declined to 30K when the construction era ended.) He remained in this job for the rest of his career, refusing promotions that would have involved him in paperwork-heavy supervisory positions.

While there he worked with very large power generators, which were the leading edge of the technology sector. He notes the shiftover from electromechanical technology to solid state technology in the course of the 1950s and 1960s; the individual characteristics of very large generators; that he and his office had input on improving the basic equipment design, although the basic design was done at Westinghouse, GE, etc.; and that the TVA purchased a fair amount of equipment overseas, both because it was cheaper and because Westinghouse and GE were slow to adapt their products to fit TVA requirements. He spent some time observing the Soviet power industry, and notes the differences due both to isolation and to climate. He spent some time in CIGRE, IEEE, and the Power System Relaying Committee. He predicts that the power industry will be increasingly driven by customers, not by manufacturers, and that digitization will affect every part of the industry. He notes as a loss that many corporations are firing older workers en masse, and so losing their corporate memory.

JOHN W. CHADWICK, JR.: An Interview Conducted by William Aspray, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, 1 February 1994

Interview #186 for the, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

John W. Chadwick, Jr., an oral history conducted in 1994 by William Aspray, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

## Interview

INTERVIEW: John W. "Jack" Chadwick Jr.
INTERVIEWER: William Aspray
DATE: February 1, 1994

### Early Life

Aspray:

Why don't you simply begin by telling me where you were born, and something about your early education through college?

I was born in New Bern, North Carolina. It's a small eastern North Carolina town. My parents moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina when I was at a very early age. I went through my elementary school and high school in Rocky Mount, and then decided to try to go to college, and did so, and graduated from North Carolina State (at that time it was North Carolina State College) in 1947, finally.

Aspray:

When you were growing up, did you have hobbies, interests in things that were related to engineering? Ham radio or building things?

No, but a curious coincidence — someone that lived near me worked for an electric motor rewind company, and I went to work there very early, in the summers and so forth, and worked in motor and transformer rewinding. This was small equipment, not big equipment! But it gave me an interest. I even took an extension course at North Carolina State one year, at night. It was interesting, and I decided to try it.

Aspray:

Were you a good student in school?

Fairly good. I enjoyed math very much, and I also enjoyed history very much. Those were the two subjects that I thoroughly enjoyed.

### North Carolina State University

Aspray:

How did you choose to go to North Carolina State?

Because it was cheaper! It was a state-supported college! I couldn't have gone to a private school.

Aspray:

But you could have chosen to go to Chapel Hill, for example.

Yes, but they didn't teach electrical engineering or any of the technical subjects there.

Aspray:

I see.

You're right. The State of North Carolina supports quite an extensive educational system.

Aspray:

What did you major in in college?

Electrical engineering.

Aspray:

Was it a training in power?

Power. It's still taught there, I think, but it's one of the few that still teaches power.

Aspray:

What were the courses like? What kinds of things did you learn?

Well, the basic courses, and not many of what you would consider advanced courses now. There was one in power transmission, which they had just started. In fact, we were the guinea pigs, I think, in the course. We calculated by hand and by formula the inductances and capacitances, and we used the 287-kV line from Hoover Dam to Los Angeles. That was a pretty good-sized project. We also did such things as circle diagrams, near-end voltage, far-end voltage, far-end power, this type of thing. Very elementary, now. There was also a course in transient analysis of electrical circuits, and it was fascinating, but very very laborious. In the first place, they didn't teach LaPlace transforms and some of the mathematical techniques that they do now, so you used operational calculus and some very awkward means to do that. If you'd had computers then, they would have had to have found something else for us to do, instead of doing all this laborious. . .

Aspray:

Calculation.

Yes.

Aspray:

Did some of the students in the program have trouble with the mathematical side of this?

Yes, but most of them were weeded out in the freshman and sophomore years, particularly the sophomore year.

Aspray:

I see. So most of the people who graduated, then, had some capacity in mathematics, you'd say?

Yes. Particularly in electrical. The math requirements weren't as stringent for any of the other majors. For example, I took some mechanical engineering courses that included hydraulics and fluid mechanics and also strength of materials and another course on thermodynamics. But the math requirements were much less stringent than the ones for electrical.

Aspray:

Did you take any courses along the way in control theory?

No, no. That's something that's been added completely since then.

Aspray:

Were there telephone courses offered at the time?

No, there weren't.

Aspray:

That's interesting.

There were a couple of radio engineering courses, which used F. E. Terman's book, Radio Engineering. When I moved recently, I took the opportunity to look at a few things before I threw them away. The books were filled with vacuum tubes and the like. I enjoyed it when I took the course, but it didn't live very long.

Aspray:

No, I enjoyed it and it was an entirely different lifestyle. I was reluctant to leave that environment. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

### Decision to Join TVA

Aspray:

What was the job market like when you were getting ready to graduate?

Real good, I'd say: excellent.

Aspray:

This was what year?

1947.

Aspray:

So there was a boom after the war,...

Yes, that's correct, and everything was being built or rebuilt, or improved or expanded or whatever word you want to use.

Aspray:

Right. And how did you go about finding a job?

Aspray:

### TVA Training Program

I had already made a decision and I wasn't going to rethink that at all. I came to work with TVA in the graduate engineering training program, and it involved field work as well as office work, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The program simply consisted of one year in the field and one year in —

Aspray:

In the classroom?

In the classroom. Now, the classroom time was segmented — you had about seven or eight segments. When you were in those particular segments, you would be assigned to various offices, to acquaint you with the structures and relationships within the organization, which was most helpful. You would spend two days in class and three days in the office, or something like that. It required homework and various other things. The tests were quite a challenge. A bunch of us would get together to study for them, and it was a lot of fun. We were young and eager, and so forth.

Aspray:

What kinds of things did you learn that you didn't learn in college? Was it more practically oriented in the TVA training course?

It was a whole new life which you didn't hear a thing about in college. For example, I chose to stay in what was called the Electrical Laboratory and Test Branch, which was the field engineering units. At that time, they used graduate engineers to do most of the test work, (installation and test requirements to prepare equipment for service). This was all the way from transformers, the size of which I had never thought existed, straight out of college, even though I had been exposed to that rewind plant which I worked in. There, you were talking then about 100 kVA or something like that! Here, I run into things that are thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of kVA. It was a real shock to see that they made things that large! Three of us went out one afternoon to a substation, and one of the fellows had just reported to work. It was typical that the circuit breakers were 161 kV. The three tanks looked almost like three transformers, and the guy assumed they were transformers, and he said, "I've never seen so many transformers in my life!" We had to show off our knowledge real quickly and tell him they were not transformers. It was an entirely new environment, and you had to acclimate yourself not only to the equipment, but also to the circuitry and controls involved.

Aspray:

Was there training that wasn't technical in nature but letting you understand the nature of the organization?

In some ways they tried to do that by rotation, mainly. We did not have any courses in structure and responsibilities and assignments and this type of thing which was later added to the course. That's desirable, but I tell you: for a new person in an organization, that doesn't really do much good. You have to get around and get your hands dirty in the organization before you can really realize the structure and benefit from instructions or explanations of the structure of the company.

### TVA Size & Employee Opportunities

Aspray:

How large was TVA in terms of number of employees? Do you have any idea?

No. It depends on what you mean by employees, because TVA did their own construction, and engineering. They did all of it, from making the drawings to purchasing the equipment from the list of drawings, to hiring the people to build the substation and constructing it and checking it out and placing it in service — it was all done by employees. At that time, there were several dams under construction, and two or three other things, so it was quite a large number — maybe 50,000 to 60,000 or something like that. After the construction of the dams and so forth, it dropped down considerably, to thirty or forty thousand. You had a big variation in the number of employees all the time.

When they started construction on the steam plants in the middle 1950s, then the employment jumped back up again. I have no idea what the top employment was, but it was over 50,000, I'm sure. It was very interesting to follow something from the ground up: I got to check out some generators and transformers. Entire control systems and protective systems were the main focus, but you did all the other things — meters, checking out the transformers, the operation of the tap changers, and the automatic controls on the generators. You made stage fault tests on the generators to check out the protection before you ever connected it to the system. A whole series of very interesting things: I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got a lot of education, or "feel" for power systems, that I don't think I could have gotten any other way. Although, I later knew some people, in Chattanooga, the main office, who had an equal feel. Some of them had an even better feel — and they'd never worked in the field.

Aspray:

How they got that kind of knowledge —

That's correct. They must have gotten it by osmosis or something. There were some mighty fine people, some good engineers who did not have college educations, too. I saw a number of those. They were extreme exceptions, but they existed.

Aspray:

Would you say that the quality of the young engineers TVA hired out of college was generally good? Was TVA an attractive place to go, and did they get really top engineers?

Well, no. They got some mighty good engineers, but for that type of job, I don't think you can keep a real brilliant guy busy enough to keep him happy, quite frankly.

Aspray:

Hmm, that's interesting.

So I think you need a certain level for different things. Well, there's a broad range of requirements, like there would be in any large organization. I knew at least four or five people whom I would consider geniuses, and I am sure they had at least a genius IQ if not knocking the top out. But with those people you had a hell of a time keeping them busy. If they didn't get the right kind of supervisor or something, it was most unfortunate, and I saw that happen in three or four instances.

Aspray:

How did the company prepare its most talented people? Was there an orchestrated movement of people through the company in some way?

No. You're talking about things that you dream about or read about. Not only didn't TVA have it, but I don't know of any organization that really does, even today. They talk about it, and say they do, and they may do it for selected people. I know one or two people in TVA who were always talking about being on the fast track. But most of the time they would end up sidetracked somewhere, and you have still got to fight the battle of the "politics" of the organization, whatever word you want to use for it. A lot of those people just can’t; you're either oriented that way, or you're not. The only industry I know of that really does that in the direct manner is the aircraft industry, because there you can have a manager who's making only a third or 25% of the pay of a number of people who are under him.

Aspray:

Interesting.

Yes, it is. That grew up during the war, and I know how it grew up, and it never was duplicated in any other industry that I know of. They talked about it being so in the nuclear industry, but it wasn't. That's a joke.

### Early Career with TVA

Aspray:

I see. Why don't you track your own career for me?

Well, as I said, I started and spent two years on a training program, and moved around within the Tennessee Valley a little bit. Mainly, I was located in Jackson, Tennessee, after reporting to work in Chattanooga and then going to Columbia, Tennessee for a little bit and then going to Jackson. But that was just a place to stay, really, because we worked in substations and in generating plants all the way from Paducah, Kentucky down to Memphis. I enjoyed it: good people, very good people to work for. The construction people were very knowledgeable about their job. The electricians were very good electricians; they could put up bus work or they could do control wiring behind the switchboard. I early learned that one of the things you had to do if you were going to stay with it was to learn to read the elementary diagrams and be able to picture the wiring from the elementaries, and various things like that. It was a challenge, and I enjoyed it. At the end of the first year I moved into Chattanooga and did a year there of combined classwork and dispersed work assignments. At the end of the two year work period, I went from there to Bowling Green, Kentucky as a field test engineer. I went by myself: I was the only TVA person located in Bowling Green. It was a challenge, and a very interesting thing to do. It was a separate office which I established, and I got to do a lot of things that I never would have done any other way, I'm sure.

Aspray:

What kind of responsibilities did this office have, and did you have?

The responsibilities included testing and maintenance of all the control systems, the protective systems, and the metering. The verification of repairs to transformers and breakers, timing breakers, seeing that they were operating correctly.

Aspray:

So this was already a constructed facility?

But there was a large amount of construction going on, too, and in less than six months they sent two trainees to work with me. It was kind of like the blind leading the blind, but we got to learn in a hurry and meet schedules and cut-in dates. We were forced to put in a lot of hours. There were a lot of hours going in, and overtime was pretty cheap, like it is today. It's cheaper to work a man overtime than it is to hire another person because of overheads.

Aspray:

Sure!

### Electrical Engineering & Design Branch

I had been with TVA less than five years when I was promoted to area supervisor, and by that time I had seven engineers under me at that location. It was still the same area, but a lot less hours. A lot fewer things were breaking down because people were able to do more complete maintenance jobs and so forth. I stayed there until 1960, when I transferred to the Electrical Engineering and Design Branch in Chattanooga. It was a parallel move. It was not an increase in responsibilities or pay. Actually it was a decrease because I no longer had any overtime or some other things. It was a real change to move from field work into an office where you were responsible for the design and purchasing of the equipment.

Aspray:

Is this something you chose to do or were you told to?

I chose to do it. I got tired of the job.

Aspray:

I see; you got tired of the job and so you wanted to move.

That's correct. The transfer to Chattanooga was a major lifestyle change as far as I was concerned, because office work is entirely different from being out and moving around in the field, traveling from substation to substation. I found it very stimulating. When the boom, so to speak, was beginning to get over and you were catching up to meet the demands that were there, except as far as generation was concerned, TVA substation construction and line construction slowed down considerably. The need for generation was there, and TVA received permission to build steam plants rather than dams. This was a major change in the philosophy and had to be approved by Congress and all that stuff. With those large steam plants came another boom line construction, because you had to get the power out, get it into the system, all this good stuff. The change in technology was not quite there yet — by change in technology I mean from electromechanical to solid-state and so forth. It was just prior to that, because this was the middle 1950s. So from the middle 1950s to the middle 1960s, you had this large construction program, and we followed it.

Chattanooga was responsible for the transmission lines, the protection, building the substations and so forth. Knoxville had an engineering unit which was responsible for the generating plant construction. We had to work closely with them on a number of projects of course, and it was very interesting. In the protection and control field, even for transmission lines, you had to learn something about generation anyway, and know the reactions to the system, (the generator systems as well as the transmission systems) of certain faults, certain outages and certain conditions which could arise. It led to very interesting work. So many ramifications to a lot of the things you did were not easily apparent, and it was very interesting to try to keep up with that kind of thing. I worked in protection design, working with manufacturers to modify and design new systems. This was just GE and Westinghouse at this time, in the 1960s.

Aspray:

Not Allis Chalmers also?

### Relationship with Manufacturers

Allis Chalmers never went into the protective relaying field: they would stay strictly in generation. I had very little contact with them. We did buy large Allis Chalmers breakers and some transformers, but that —

Aspray:

But that was it. I see. So what would your working relationship be between TVA and Westinghouse, say?

It was a very close relationship, and almost a day-to-day relationship when you had a big project. The Westinghouse people were most helpful, and you almost considered them TVA employees, frankly. It was necessary in order to transfer the information. After all, we were using equipment that was on the end of the extrapolations — the largest circuit breakers, the largest transformers, and this type of thing. It was what now they call the cutting edge of technology. Whatever you call it, it was very interesting.

Aspray:

So would you actually participate in the design of some of this equipment?

Oh, not the design per se, but the application and modifications of the design to meet what we perceived as actual needs. There’s a gray area when you get a designer that thinks he's meeting a need, and the systems and operations people don't see that as the need. The need is a little different from that, and you have to make these sometimes big changes. However most of the time it's shades of change, and this type of thing.

### 500kV and Solid-State Equipment

Aspray:

At the top end, this equipment is pretty much custom-made, isn't it?

All large equipment is. They have individual personalities of their own! Generators, in particular. This is very true of large generators. Although they're designed with identical requirements, and cut out of the same pieces of steel, maybe, they're still very different when you start bringing them up to speed and putting them on the line. It's quite common to see an operator think it through as he brings a unit up. As an older operator brings a unit up, he knows where the mechanical resonant points are, and where to improve the steam conditions, or change the steam conditions. You could automate it, but it would take a hell of a lot of work to automate it. The same is true to a much lesser degree with a lot of the equipment we bought. I was involved in the purchase of the later 500 kV equipment, [when] the TVA elected to go to 500 kV. I was privileged to be involved in a lot of those design decisions.

I got to move around a little bit in what was called the engineering construction organization — the Power Engineering and Construction Division in Chattanooga, and do some varied work. For three or four years I moved; I would work in a place one or two years and then I'd move to another. It was all in the area of protection and control. It was expanded with the advent of the 500 kV system to also include system problems, because when bringing up a new level of voltage above another, in its infancy, you just have to nurse it along for a while! The impedances are too high, and the charging currents are tremendous on 500 kV long lines. You have to plan for this and tie it in with the excitation of the machines, so as not to have the machines lose their excitation when you energize a long 500 kV transmission line. Then, too, there was not an operating 500 kV system in the Western world. There was behind the iron curtain, in Russia, but not in the West. There were several in the design stages at the same time. Westinghouse had a lock and key job for VEPCO, and I know that there were various decisions being made by AEP on whether to go to 500 kV or 750 kV — they eventually elected to go to 750 kV. They were about a year behind, mainly because of that decision. We were buying equipment which had not been made before at that voltage level.

We soon found out that you could not extrapolate from the 161 kV and the 230 kV and the 345 kV up to the 500 kV level — it would have been too expensive. We had to reduce insulation levels — BIL. This required a lot of compromises, as always, reflected in the protection and control. You wanted to make use of extremely fast clearing times, because of the shock to the rest of the system, although we had an extremely "stiff" 161 kV system underlying this 500 kV system. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm glad I lived through it and wouldn't take anything for the experiences. This went on for some time; I did a lot of working with General Electric and Westinghouse on protection schemes for the 500 kV system. I got to know their design engineers quite closely — the design engineers for their protection and control systems — and got to know a lot of the new things that were coming along through them. In fact, with the first 500 kV system we installed, we elected not to install completely solid-state relays. We elected to install redundant relays, one electromechanical and one solid-state. This is quite an indicator, I believe, of the conservative approaches taken in the utility industry. It has to be, because reliability is a big factor in the utility industry.

Aspray:

How long was it before people would rely completely on solid-state?

There's one company that does not buy solid-state today — quite a large company. They have gone to digital, but they bypassed solid-state. There was quite a learning curve on the solid-state equipment, and remember that this was discrete components: it was not integrated circuits and so forth as it later developed. For the first five or ten years, there were a lot of growing pains with the solid-state relays. In fact, they stayed out of service as much as they stayed in service.

Aspray:

What kinds of problems would you have?

Mainly transient problems. Remember that a solid-state device is so fast that it can see things the electromechanical relay, due to its inherent bulk in size (inertia), and the inductance of the units (time delays) did not see and did not react to. A solid-state relay would see something in a microsecond or two. Some of the elements were designed not with that in mind, but they would react in a microsecond or something. You didn't want anything like that; I mean, my gosh! After this was discovered to be a real problem, it was easy enough to use filters or whatever method to slow it down. Usually filters did a better job than the others, with an intentionally added time delay.

There were a number of other problems that developed. Remember, with 500 kV you're capable of transmitting a tremendous amount of power. The increase is roughly the square of the change in voltage. We had a 161 kV system which was capable of transmitting quite a bit of power, but then when you go to 500 that's roughly a three-to-one ratio, so you get a ten-to-one ratio of power increase. Pressure is put on you to make use of that line and to make sure that it doesn't false trip, as well as trip fast when it's got to trip. The two are diametrically opposed to one another, the two requirements, and you'd have to compromise and come up with some workable solutions. The manufacturers were more than willing to work with you, and they sent excellent people, their top engineers, to the field to make tests. We made a hell of a lot of field tests the first four, five, six, years (until the TVA had their 500 kV system completely operational). TVA did have the first commercially used 500 kV system in the country.

Aspray:

To what degree did the power engineers have to learn about some of the details of the solid-state devices? How much of an expert did you have to become in those things yourselves?

Well, I don't know that you had to become one: it's a matter of wanting to understand what is going on, I think. You had to be capable of figuring out what was happening and knowing what the circuit was doing and following in detail what was going on when you had a case of trouble, an incorrect operation, particularly if it was traceable back to your solid-state relays.

Aspray:

Was this something that caused difficulties for, say, some people who had been around for a long time and had older education and such?

Yes. The newer graduates had a definite advantage over me and a lot of the other people, and I appreciated it! I had no hesitation to ask them how something worked, what it did, "Tell me what I need to know to get this thing working." But I do know that there were a lot of people who wouldn't do that. You know that!

Aspray:

Oh, sure, it's very common.

Extremely common! They tell you, "If it's not invented here, or if I don't know it then you don't know it," or something. But it's a changing world, and until you recognize this, you're going to be in bad shape!

Aspray:

Right!

There were a number of changes derived from stage tests and field tests on the TVA system that were used to improve the designs of the solid-state relays, both at GE and Westinghouse. For a while, the solid-state relays had quite a bad name at TVA and some of the adjacent power systems, because of the false operations that occurred, and there was a big push to get them corrected. GE and Westinghouse both recognized this and worked very hard and very diligently to get it corrected.

Aspray:

And those problems were eventually largely overcome?

They were overcome, yes, by surge protection — by shielding, by filtering, various ways. Then, too, you've got to remember that when you go to 500 kV not only do you have a large amount of power being transmitted over one transmission line, but the voltage source to the relays changes. In the case of TVA we went from wound-type electromagnetic voltage transformers to coupling-capacitor voltage transformers. You had a capacitance divider, you tapped the divider and so forth, and derived a voltage from that. Capacitance voltage dividers have definite characteristics, some of which are not desirable at all, but you have to overcome them by improved transient response and ferroresonance suppression, or various devices on which we worked with the European manufacturers at the time. TVA bought a lot of equipment overseas, strictly because they were the only ones which would meet the requisition requirements. Although there were penalty clauses in the bidding documents to give American manufacturers preference, prices were still lower overseas. It was quite common to see a twelve percent differential, or six plus six — six percent for buying overseas, and six percent for inspection overseas on all the equipment that was bought overseas. And still, in spite of the twelve percent differential —

### Purchase of Overseas Equipment

Aspray:

They still outbid the American firms.

Yes. This led to involvement in international standards and other things by TVA, and I feel quite happy to have been in a small way involved in that.

Aspray:

Did TVA actually buy a very large percentage of its equipment overseas?

One day we were preparing for some field tests, and a GE fellow says, "You know, it's just like a smorgasbord, going into a store someplace and having all this stuff — you've got Brown Boveri, Elin, ASEA, Haefely, Cogenel, Westinghouse; various manufacturers from all over the world, in one substation!

Aspray:

In one substation, I see. So you really did see all sorts of things.

You did, yes, because we elected to go with some design configurations, both primary and control-wise, which were quite revolutionary for TVA and in some cases different than the equipment that had been provided. For example, we went with vertical-reach disconnecting switches, which meant you had a scissors arrangement to go up and grab the bus. The long blade wasn't really practical to use, in some cases. It took up too much real estate to allow you to do that, when you could reach right up from the CT and grab the overhead bus by a scissors arrangement, on your disconnecting switches. We got two European manufacturers to provide those switches.

Aspray:

Was it that there was so much innovation coming out of TVA's designs that it would have been beyond the capacity of a company like GE or Westinghouse to put all the work?

No. Frankly, the whole thing was that the major manufacturers in this country wanted to sell you what they had, not what you wanted.

Aspray:

I see.

Not just in major equipment. But in control equipment and relays, they were more flexible, and they continued to supply the relays. We never bought any overseas relays, except auxiliary control relays, from anybody except GE and Westinghouse until digital or quasi-digital came out in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Aspray:

When you moved to 500 kV, what parts of the system stayed the same? What isn't innovated from the smaller systems?

Well, there's very little reflection into the 161 system, in the case of TVA. Therefore, you were just building a new system and overlaying it on the other system. There was no attempt made to make the 161 kV system a back-up for the 500 kV system. That was not practical: why would you build a 500 kV if you were going to back it up with a 161 kV? So from the very beginning the emphasis was on reliability and for it to be an entity unto its self. Eventually we would break up the 161 kV system and turn it into a distribution system, the transmission system would be the 500 kV. TVA only generates and transmits. They do not distribute power. They sell their power, and deliver it to about 165 kV distributors, which are co-ops and municipalities. That's another interesting facet of the work that I got to do, dealing with them — that's a whole other ball game.

Aspray:

You want to talk about that?

No, I don't think so. I've said enough! It was a very interesting way of doing things — I was very lucky, in the right place at the right time in a lot of cases. I had a ball.

### Rejection of Promotions

Aspray:

What happened with your career over time?

I probably stuck my nose into a lot of things I shouldn't have. I had two forced promotions which I later rejected and went back to the working level, rather than do all the paperwork. The paperwork gets horrendous in an organization like that. It's unfortunate, but that's what happens.

Aspray:

Is it because it's so large, or because of government regulation?

No, it's the structure of the organization. It could be changed. The reason is that they said in order to get more money I had to take supervisory responsibility. I didn't mind handling people, but I didn't want to mess with all the paperwork involved in handling people! I flatly refused to do it. I would think nothing of picking up the phone and calling to talk to a superior at two or three levels above me or walking into their office. A lot of people didn't understand or appreciate that, I reckon! I felt very strongly that I was not going to bother them until I had something to say, and when I went in to say it, I didn't want to go through ten people to say it, and I wasn't going to. I had some very good relationships with a lot of people in TVA, and I thoroughly enjoyed the people. The people were the reason for the organization, I feel. I think they did a hell of a lot of good engineering work at one time. Later, it got more political, I'm sad to say.

Aspray:

So you stayed your entire career with TVA?

Yes. Forty-one, forty-two years. And if I had to do to again, I would probably do it the same way. I enjoyed it.

### Intl. Contacts & Soviet 750 kV System

Aspray:

I see on your resume that you have observed the Soviet 750 kV system. You want to tell me about that?

I progressed through the Power System Relaying Committee to the chairman's job, in 1979 and 1980. Stan Horowitz was the preceding chairman before me in the Power System Relaying Committee. He's one of my best friends and a fine gentlemen. A top-notch engineer. He had taken the job as the U.S. representative to CIGRE Study Committee 34 (Power System Protection and Local Control). Now, he had only been on it for about a year, and at our Power System Relaying Committee meeting in New Orleans, the chairman of SC34 asked if Stan would consider being chairman of SC34 for the next six-year period. At that time I wondered why I was there, and then Stan says, "We'll get Jack to take the job I've got." I enjoyed hearing that, but I told him, "You don't know what kind of bureaucracy you have to go through to get permission for me to travel overseas! That requires board approval." But it worked out, and I became the U.S. representative to SC-34 . There is one official U.S. representative on each of the fifteen study committees of CIGRE. They have a bunch of advisors who assist in dealing with problems as they see them.

As part of the Soviet exchange program, I had been working with several people at AEP and with other people. Some kind of exchange program that Nixon initiated was playing its way through. One of the items was to measure voltages in the field, those generated during switching operations on high voltages systems, the 500 kV and the 765 kV (AEP called their systems 765 kV); it was 500 in Canada, and 750 kV in the Soviet Union. As the Soviets always do, they do their thing first and then you get to do yours. So they came over here first — brought two people — and spent just over three weeks. We staged fault tests at three or four locations — they were mainly interested in the 765 kV, and so we made some of them with the AEP system. We were going to make some on the TVA system at 500 kV, but it got canceled, and we made some at Bonneville. I got to travel with the two Russian engineers that came over here, one male and one female. The male was Dimitry Savvaitov, who is now director of the AC Institute for High Voltage Studies in Moscow. Has been for some years. The woman was Kira Kuzmitcheva, who was a very knowledgeable person on lightning arresters. At that time, it was before the general use of metal-oxide arresters. Japan had developed them and GE had the rights for this country, but the Russians had them. I don't know how they got them, but they had metal oxide arresters. They were having trouble on the 750 kV system, and a lot of it revolved around the control of switching surges. They witnessed a test over here, and it was most enjoyable to get exposed to them, and to see some of the things — to see the amazement on their faces, in most cases, when they saw some things in this country. Now this was in 1979, well before the changes that came about later in Russia.

As the counterpart to that, two people from this country went to Russia to witness the field test on their 765 kV, and I was lucky enough to be involved in it. One person from TVA and one person from AEP (Jim Beehler), who was a fine breaker specialist and making measurements of field tests on their system. I'd been involved in quite a number of them for TVA. We spent three weeks over there, traveling to witness tests. We initially went to Moscow, of course, for a sales pitch from all the bigwigs, and then went out in the field with a group of six Russians, who stayed with us most of the time, from site to site. To be set down unceremoniously, so to speak, in the middle of that very different environment was, to say the least, a culture shock. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Aspray:

What did you learn?

Well, I found out for sure that there are smart people everywhere. I knew that from the few contacts I'd had with other countries, but most of those were English-speaking countries, and I'd been limited to that mainly. This was before I really got involved in CIGRE work. You can't go into a society like that and appreciate from-whence-he-speaks, because all of his background knowledge and all of his preceding experience have a definite bearing on what he does and how he reacts to things and so forth. The same goes for me. The first seven or eight days I was in Russia, I made up reasons why I thought they were doing this and that, but it was through my background that I thought they were doing this. I had to change a tremendous number of thoughts and reasons, because they had been doing them for other reasons of their own. At that time there was a large argument within the high voltage people in this country and overseas about field strengths and the effect of high field strengths on humans and this type of thing.

The Russians had written two papers in CIGRE of which I was aware. I'd been a member of CIGRE for a number of years and had gotten all the papers that they'd put out for presentation to CIGRE. Those people had written quite stringent requirements that they were going to meet, and I do not believe it was appreciated how they came about. They were building what amounted to a framework over all their walkways and stringing iron wire over it to protect the operators from the high field strengths — or they said they were. However, after we got over there and Jim Beehler and I got talking to some of them, we finally found that this was being forced by some of their supervisors. When we got to asking them for data, what kind of strengths did they read and this type of thing, they couldn't produce it. They just hemmed and hawed about it for two or three days, and then finally one of them off to the side told me, "You're asking for things which are technically justified and reasonable, and there is no technical justification for installing all this garbage over the top of the walkway."

Aspray:

I see.

But it had been reported and taken quite seriously by a large number of people. This was written in 1974, I believe, the paper in CIGRE. From 1974 on there has been a continuous environmental study. How does the environment affect your body? You can prove anything with numbers, I know, and I think some people have gone to great extremes to illustrate this.

Aspray:

How would you characterize the differences, though, between the Soviet systems and the European and American systems? Was there a difference in philosophy about the way you would construct these systems? Was there a difference in the components that were used, or quality, that kind of thing? Can you speak to those issues?

Yes. I saw more imitation Brown Boveri relays in substations! Circuit breakers were extensions of the Brown Boveri philosophy of older circuit breakers. They had extrapolated them and various other things. Brown Boveri and ASEA were extensively copied in the Russian system. You've got to remember that the Russians were very isolated, and chose to be that way, so you see a lot of developments that you wouldn't otherwise see. They did it differently, to a degree. And for different operating conditions, too. For example, I walked out in the substation and noticed that all the structures weren't done on small footings, but up on high footings. After a while I kept insisting that there must be a good reason for that. Finally it got to him. He said, "Oh, I see what you're after. That's the hard snow depth of this area!" I said, "What?! You can hardly see over the structure!" He said, "Well, you notice the transmission lines are the same way!" We were going from Kiev to L'vov I think, and all these telephone poles were sitting on concrete foundations, imitation poles, whatever you want to call it. I said, "Why is that?" He said, "Same reason as the substation; that's the normal snow height that we have around here — not the exceptional, but that's what hard-packed snow will be, and we have to put the wood above that so it won't get frozen!" There were a lot of other things. For example, when you put fire protection around in a large transformer, to contain the fire in case of an explosion and so forth, most of the American designs that I am familiar with and that I've seen throughout the country will take the water up to a header. The header is located above the transformer and it sprays down, essentially. The Russians did it the other way. They put the header at the bottom and had long pieces going up to spray the transformer over head. Any two engineers are going to come up with different solutions. You saw a lot of that in Russia.

Aspray:

Whereas, if you went to Germany or Sweden, you would see it much more like it was in the United States?

Oh yes, yes. They're more closely tied and had influences back and forth on each other, and the Russians did not. You see the same thing to a large degree in Australia, for example, which is isolated and separated from the rest of the world. I've been down there a couple of times. A lot of Australians came through TVA when they were getting ready to construct their 500 kV system, and spent a month or two months working with various groups in TVA, and I got to know quite a few Australians. When I was down there, they were very gracious, and took me to a lot of places. They had done a lot of things for a different reason, but still it was isolation that caused it. They can't pick up the phone or go to see a major manufacturer to talk about their equipment, because there are no major manufacturers located in Australia! The same goes not only for the manufacturing approach and so forth, but they have also used their colleges and universities to teach extensive courses for their utility engineers. In other words, you get advanced training beyond school and every few years you get a chance to go and attend some of these courses. It's quite an extensive thing, and there are cases where some of the courses lasted as long as a year. I got quite involved in this and tried to get data on it because I thought it was novel and a good way to get the two communities, the colleges and the utilities, involved together. It reflects back into the utility and reflects back into the colleges.

In England they do it a different way. They have swap-outs, between the colleges and the manufacturers, where you work for a year or two. In the case that I know more intimately in relaying and protection control, you go work with a number of the colleges, and you're in England to swap out for a year or two years.

So you see there are various ways to do things, and I taught some in-house courses on different things, and I enjoyed knowing the various methods that other people had used. It was quite useful, I think. There are a lot of benefits that you don't realize which are available in a country where you have major manufacturing. You have to think about it a while, but you can see it all makes sense, as it should.

### CIGRE and IEEE

The work I did with CIGRE was most interesting. You found that there were a number of different groups involved in CIGRE: the study committees are limited to twenty-four members. You can have observers in addition to that, but twenty-four countries are represented. The Russian representatives, quite frankly, never did contribute in the study committee I was associated with.

Not only did you find people who made major contributions — Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland — but those countries usually had major manufacturers or major electrical systems. Countries like Spain, Italy, and others contributed considerably less to that particular study committee, although they contributed to other study committees in CIGRE quite handsomely. A lot of it had to do with the fact that these are very nationally-oriented operations, and you don't know who the national committee is going to approve for that position. You get people that are politically oriented, and come and do not completely participate or listen either, really. You get people that are interested in other fields, and why they're there is beyond me. I don't know. So, out of the twenty four you may have eight or ten real participants: Brazil was a strong participant. There were others. Japan was a very strong contributor. But more than half the committee do not heavily participate.

Aspray:

How would you compare what went on at CIGRE with what goes on in IEEE?

To a degree, they are similar organizations. But, don't carry that comparison too far. The IEEE technical committees: there are fourteen of those I believe, so they've taken the spectrum of electric industry and broken it up into fourteen areas. In CIGRE it's fifteen, and the areas do not include distribution. Another European organization called CIRED covers distribution. All generation and transmission is covered by CIGRE. I'm using the word "covered" very loosely. They have what they call study committees — both CIRED and CIGRE. A study committee identifies and investigates what they perceive as a problem, or what somebody really wants to push. They do this, and they come up with a report. That report is just a report. It has no further meaning, no further path. It is normally turned over to IEC, which is the standardization arm for ISO, for all things electrical. You may already be aware of all this.

Aspray:

No, no — that's fine. I know some of it, but not all of it.

From the standpoint of the process of proceeding from one place to another, it is possible that the study committee could initiate a program, issue a report which was taken by IEC, and processed through its technical committees. TC95 is the new number for the protective relaying area and control area of IEC. TC95 could take that and I assure you they would not use what it said. They would use it as a base on which to start changes, and from there they would go on to issue an IEC standard.

In IEEE you would go from the Power System Relaying Committee, which is a part of the technical committee structure. There you could develop a consensus standard, and that standard could be accepted by ANSI so you might say they're roughly parallel, because ANSI standards are accepted in a large area of the world. But I feel quite strongly that if IEEE doesn't get off its duff it will lose what little recognition it has, because it is not a world-wide organization, in spite of all its transnational claims and all this. They need very very strongly to get some working relationships with IEC. It's an IEC world, whether we recognize it or not, because of the buyouts of the utility manufacturing companies in this country. ABB and a lot of other European companies have come into this country and made quite an inroad. There's not a high voltage breaker manufactured in this country now. Extremely large power transformers are not manufactured in this country now. They've just gone out of business. GE and Westinghouse went out of the business, and Allis Chalmers long before them. It's a sad world, I think, to see this happen, because I know the expertise is available, the manufacturing expertise, the technical expertise to design the equipment...

Aspray:

When did the United States companies go out of these businesses?

In the 1980s.

Aspray:

In the '80s?

Yes. It's quite sad, I feel. I was involved in evaluating some overseas manufacturing, and the costs for labor and designs and so forth are lower in this country, and the productivity is higher yet the price is higher in this country! It is very interesting!

Aspray:

Do you see any positive signs of change in IEEE?

No, I do not. I would like to see some.

Aspray:

What do you think could be done? Do you know?

Yes! They could get a good working relationship with IEC! It's hard to justify participation in IEEE and IEC and CIGRE and all of these. For a utility to do that is a major, major undertaking — you're talking about a lot of money. Well, you might be being short-sighted, because you may have standards forced on you which you don't want, and that's all that's available! Participation is absolutely necessary, but I don't see how companies are going to justify it, and if it comes down to choosing between IEC participation and IEEE participation, I think they're going to choose IEEE and think it's cheaper, whereas in reality you can travel to Europe just as cheaply as you can travel to the West Coast. I'm an exception because I travel on senior citizen tickets and a bunch of other things, but unless you really plan for it, you can't travel that cheaply. If you really plan for it, buy tickets well in advance and all this stuff, you can travel to Europe as cheaply as you can to the West Coast.

### Digitization

Aspray:

Let me change topics quite radically. Looking back over your almost fifty years in the industry, can you give me some major themes or changes that occurred in your area of power engineering and control and protection?

Well, there's one in particular that strikes me, and that's [that] the emphasis used to be on manufacturers. The manufacturer would design, develop, and pretest equipment, whether it's breakers, relays, transformers, generators, and then go into the marketplace and sell these devices. That's no longer going to be true! The marketplace is going to be driven by the user, not by the manufacturer any longer. It's coming about pretty rapidly. The utilities have got to recognize this. The minute you go to digital equipment, where you can have a common platform, it results in providing what you want and how you're going to control, protect and monitor. All this is going to have to be user-driven. To a lesser degree, that is going to appear in major equipment such as breakers and transformers and generators, too. But it's not going to be as recognizable. What you've got to realize is that this major change is coming about along with another change — the utilities are downsizing and losing their corporate memory! They don't remember that they tried this twenty years ago, and there's a lot of reinventing the wheel going on. That is due largely because of the smaller number of people and the fact that they let off horizontal layers of people by age rather than by cutting another way. There are a lot of consultants who are really wheeling and dealing from this, and I think that you're going to end up with people who are not well oriented and well associated with the system in particular. They're going to go in and say, "We can do this," and they are not going to do the job that was done years ago because of the in-house ability of people to do it. You just can't do it! It's not that they are not capable, but they don't know all the ramifications. It's a new world.

Aspray:

You alluded to digitization.

Yes, that is the major change that has come about. That's the second thing I would list. Digitization has created a whole new world, and it's too bad you can't take advantage of it immediately. But you've got equipment you've bought and paid for which has a thirty- or forty-year lifetime, or whatever it is, and you aren't going to take that and chuck it just to say you've got new digital equipment. But in future substations and in future generating plants, there's a lot to be done. Who is going to be brave enough to do this all in one fell swoop? I don't know, but somebody will do it. It's going to take a brave soul to undertake the whole move at once, because you've got to digitize the whole thing for it to be really effective. You can't do just part of it. Now, you can get experience and do some portions. In TVA, just before I left, we installed a large system which digitized the control center and the telemetering and load control. It was a major undertaking and forced some manufacturers to do a lot of things they were not ready to do at that time, because the contracts were signed in the early 1980s. It worked out; but you have to remember that technology is moving so damn fast that you stop and blink and you've missed it!

This has brought about a major change in thinking. Electromechanical devices last for thirty or forty years. Solid-state devices last about fifteen to twenty or twenty-five years. The reason they have to be replaced is not because they wear out, but because the components are no longer available! It's the tail wagging the dog! They use so few in the utility industry, so few of these items compared to the tremendous volume used in communications and so forth. When you go to digital, I say that the lifetime will be reduced by another major factor, so that the lifetime will be five years, maybe seven years. So you're going to have to change your way of thinking. You're going to have to buy spares when you initially buy the equipment, because they're no longer going to be available. This is a major change, and it's brought about by digital equipment. Your hardware is going to be throw-away; your software has got to be portable, to move it from place to place so you don't have to redo the horrendous test work that's got to be done to check out a system of that type. I don't think most people realize that there's a horrendous amount of test work to test the operation of digital systems every way from Sunday to find out if it's not misoperating, because if it can happen, it will happen, I assure you! This has got to be checked out digitally.

It's a very wonderful world, and I think that people have a lot to look forward to and some interesting roads ahead. Very interesting. I'd like to participate, but I'm getting too old! There are other things that you could go into. The sensors, which are used today, the voltage transformers and the current transformers. I think if you go in a substation ten years down the road, you won't see those. You'll see transducers of another form, perhaps magneto-optic. Fiber optics didn't do it as far as the transducers go, although it's been tried in a number of places.

Aspray:

How have they changed over the past forty years?

Very, very little. In the past hundred years the voltage transformers have. On lower voltages, it’s inexpensive, but if you go up in voltage... For example, at 161 kV the percentage of a voltage transformer and a current transformer to the price of a protective relay terminal was maybe four or five to one. When you go to 500 kV, the ratio becomes much higher. In dead-tank circuit breakers, the CTs only cost four or five hundred dollars each. So you put three of them per phase to protect the line. Go to 500 kV or 765 kV, and you have to have free-standing current transformers. You can't employ bushing CT's because it's a hot-tank breaker and so forth. A hot-tank breaker feeds a free-standing CT, and a free-standing CT is about ten to twelve percent of the cost of the breaker!

Now at 1000 kV I've done projections, or estimates of cost, and it jumps to twenty-five percent of the cost of the breaker. So you've got to find another way to do this — you're getting too expensive. This is where you'll see the change to transducers first. Then it'll come down to the lower voltage levels. The Faraday effect will be used for current transformation. The Pockel effect and the Kerr effect will be used for the voltage transducer. It will come down, fed by fiber optics from the base, and it will be a completely passive device; there will be no moving parts and no power needed in the switchyard. It will do away with the transient problems in the switchyards, which are a major, major consideration in high voltage stations. It's a very dirty electrical environment. In the switchhouse you will transform the light beams, which are analog, into whatever you need to feed by feeding an A-to-D converter. Once you've got it digital, Whoosh! You spread it all over the place by ethernet or whatever local area network you happen to have in the station.

Aspray:

Are there other things you'd like to talk about?