A design of a fully composite pylon has been proposed for new-generation 400 kV transmission towers to save line corridors and to reduce visual impact. Correspondingly, a method of external down-leads is proposed to bring grounding potential to the shield wires, together with a plan that not all pylons are grounded called partially grounded transmission lines (PGTLs). This paper investigates backflashover performance of a partial grounding scheme of overhead lines (OHLs) supported by composite pylons. The transient analysis was carried out in PSCAD based on Monte Carlo method. For OHLs with every pylon grounded, reducing footing resistance and soil resistivity can improve backflashover performance effectively, but for PGTLs, these two methods do not have obvious effect and increasing insulation distance has limited effect. When lightning strikes at PGTLs, overvoltage is mainly dependent on the distance to the nearest grounded pylon and a longer distance will cause overvoltage with larger amplitude and longer wave front duration. Therefore, backflashover rate also increases along with the distance to the nearest grounded pylon until reaching a value limited by the inceptive condition of flashover. A coefficient recommended by CIGRE TB 63 to estimate backflashover rate is discussed and modified when using in PGTLs.
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