Master Course Description

No: EE 457


Credits: 4

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: Course is not presently offered, but may be in 2013

Goals: The goal of this course is to help students learn the ability to understand, analyze and design electrical distribution systems.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the course, the students should be able to

  1. Understand basic structure of distribution apparatus and systems.
  2. Solve power distribution system problems
  3. Complete a final project to perform a distribution system design task and summarize the problem and project results in a report.
  4. Calculate distribution feeder reliability indices

Textbook: W.H. Kersting, Distribution System Modeling and Analysis, CRC Press, 2002; Notes prepared for the course.

Reference Texts: L. Faulkenberry and W. Coffer, Electrical Power Distribution and Transmission, Prentice Hall, 1996. T. Gonen, Electrical Power Distribution System Engineering, McGraw Hill, 1986.; J. Burkek, Power Distribution Engineering: Fundamentals and Applications, Marcel Dekker, 1994. Distribution System Protection Manual, Cooper Power Systems.

Prerequisites by Topic:

  1. Elementary power and energy concepts
  2. Basic power system analysis
  3. Basic transformer theory


  1. System Structure and Characteristics
  2. Load Modeling
  3. Distribution Transformer Schemes
  4. Three-Phase Power Flow for unbalanced systems and Fault Studies
  5. Voltage Regulation, Power Factor Improvement
  6. Distribution Feeder Protective Devices
  7. Protective Device Coordination
  8. Reliability Analysis
  9. Distribution Automation

Course Structure: The class meets for two lectures a week, each consisting of two 50-minute sessions. There is weekly homework due and a final project. The course includes a field trip to a local utility facility.

Computer Resources: Homework and software project can be done on a PC using C or C++ language.

Grading: Homework 25%, Final Project 25%, Midterm Exam 25%, Final Exam 25%.

Outcome Coverage:

(a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. This course has an extensive component of distribution system modeling and analysis. Mathematical models of distribution system components are integrated into a system. Students are asked to use circuit analysis techniques to calculate the voltages, currents, and power flows on a distribution feeder. Distribution system power flow algorithms are iterative numerical methods developed for the power flow problems. (M)

(c) An ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability. Students are required to learn the protective device characteristics and coordinate the settings of multiple devices on a distribution feeder. With the instructor's approval, students can select a final project that involves an important design task for distribution systems. The project requires an extensive level of effort and report writing. (H)

(e) An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems. The class includes various examples of power system operational problems such as feeder overload and voltage violations. Students are asked to identify problems from the system operating conditions (e.g. low voltage profiles) and develop solutions such as capacitor placement on a feeder. In the final project, the students are asked to survey the state of the art and identify critical engineering problems associated with their project. (H)

(g) Ability to communicate effectively. Two written reports are graded on the written presentation of their ideas as well as on the technical content. The first is a one-week homework assignment on a contemporary issue concerning the distribution of power. The second is the report for the final project, a rather extensive project in which they must design a method and software to solve the general power flow problem in a radial, multi-branch system. About 30% to 40% of the project grade depends on report organization and clarity. (H)

(h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context. This course includes discussions on the recent regulatory reform of the power industry throughout the world. This class also has a component on the characteristics of load for industry, commercial and residential users. (M)

(k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. Students use a state-of-the-art software programming tool for the distribution power flow project. The state-of-the-art of distribution automation tools is discussed in class. (M)

Prepared By: Mark J. Damborg

Last revised: 10/10/12 by Richard D. Christie