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The aim of this course is to increase the understanding

of the dynamic stability phenomena in the power systems by providing practical insights into the operation of the power grid and the vital grid operator’s functions and actions. The course includes a brief review of the fundamentals of power systems and reexamines  power system components including frequency and voltage concerns, control and protection of frequency load shedding (UFLS), real and reactive power flows and their control, Phasor measurement units/Synchrophasors (PMU) roles of the Independent System Operators (ISO) such as the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) in the operation of the California grid. Students will review actual case studies utilizing Root Cause Analysis (RCA( of blackouts from around the globe. Details of power outages that affected millions of people in which the instructor acted as the principal investigator will be covered. Students will have access to materials used in the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) certification of power system operators. Students will acquire a solid working knowledge of the physical aspects of the grid phenomena and challenges that system operators face on daily basis to avert power interruptions and widespread blackouts.

Course Highlights:

  • Fundamentals of power systems and review of the power system components
  • Grid frequency and voltage concerns for the grid
  • Smart transmission systems including high voltage direct current (HVDC) and Flexible Alternating
  • Current Transmission Systems (FACTS) applications in the grid
  • Transmission system flexibility
  • Phasor measurement units/Synchrophasors (PMU) and applications and Wide Area Monitoring Systems (WAMS)
  • Root Cause Analysis (RNA) of blackouts from around the globe
  • Impact of low (or no inertia) renewable energy on the grid stability
  • Training of power system operators

Course Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of balancing load and resources for keeping the frequency at the rated frequency (60 or 50 Hz)
  • Understand the need for under-frequency protection of the synchronous generators on the grid
  • Identify the nature of a frequency deviations
  • Grasp the specifics of real and reactive power flows in the grid and the governing equations for power transfer
  • Learn about the surge impedance loading of transmission lines and their loadability
  • Realize the symptoms of voltage instability and voltage collapse
  • Cognize the different parts and applications of phasor measurement units
  • Perform analysis of real system investigations to the response of the grid to disturbances

Course Typically Offered: Online in Spring and Fall quarters.

Prerequisite: A BS in Electrical Engineering or equivalent knowledge and experience.

Next Step: After completing this course, consider taking other courses in the Power Systems Engineering certificate program to continue learning.

Contact: For more information about this course, please email

Course Number: ECE-40313
Credit: 3.00 unit(s)
Related Certificate Programs: Power Systems Engineering