Structured M.Eng in Smart Grid Technology

This is a new course offering by the Dept of E & E Eng, in response to worldwide evolutional processes in the electrical energy domain. These are seen to be technologically very exciting, but will also have a considerable impact on conventional networks, in the near to medium future.

You can also download the full course specifications for more information and also the detailed course schedule for 2021.

One, or two years; Full time basis or part-time basis. One week block per module with 45 hours of contact and additional work via distance education. Successful completion of all modules is followed by a thesis project of which more detail is available here). Each block carries 15 credits and the project 60 credits.

The course is composed of various modules as set out in the course specifications, which includes the following E&E modules:

Advanced PV Systems

The aim of the course is to provide attendees with the understanding and tools to design grid-tied (including hybrid configurations with backup power) PV systems within the South African solar resource, technical and legislative contexts.

The underlying design criteria will be to optimise the energy yield versus lifecycle costs of the PV system within the given resource, technical and legislative constraints, i.e. the optimising the financial viability of the system.

Specifically, the following topics will be covered:

  • Solar resource & irradiation data sources
  • Different solar PV technologies
  • Photo-voltaic panel: electrical characteristics, maximum power point, influence of shading and diffuse irradiation, etc.
  • Photo-voltaic array: impact of positioning & tracking, string design and DC cable sizing, etc.
  • Connection to the distribution grid: power electronics basics, earthing and circuit-breaker design, system sizing, AC cable sizing, South African regulations & standards, etc.
  • Financial viability: understanding tariffs, payback, etc.

 

Energy Storage Systems

The objective of the module is to enable participants to understand the concepts and technologies used for electric Energy Storage (ES). The course highlights Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries as the dominant technology in new projects and addresses the complex safety, performance and life issues of this technology.

The technical and financial parameters that drive the project designs of grid-connected and off-grid ES will be discussed.

The participant will become familiar with the major factors that determine ES selection and sizing, and be provided with various case studies to use as benchmark.

The module therefore aims to provide professionals with sufficient understanding to establish the key requirements and financial benefits of ES in various grid-connected and off-grid applications.

Contents:

  • Introduction: The need for Energy Storage; Proliferation of Renewable Energy => intermittent generation; Load variability; The utility’s challenge: balancing IN and OUT in real-time; How storage can help
  • Large Scale Energy Storage services and benefits: Key parameters of Energy Storage; 15 individual benefits; Stacked benefits
  • Global storage project examples and statistics: Energy Storage Technology cost, performance and maturity; Macro overview and comparison of available technologies; Anatomy of a battery; Top 5 storage types in more detail; Examples of specific products available
  • Energy Storage sizing and selection: Use of an open source tool; Understanding storage Life-Cycle Cost; The selection and sizing of Energy Storage for certain applications; Large off-grid hybrid
    PV/storage worked example; Small-scale Energy Storage applications; The economic impact of adding Energy Storage to certain applications; The regulations and safety issues related to Energy Storage systems

 

Integrated Demand Side Technologies

The perspective of this course is a view from the energy demand, or user, side of a network.

The field-specific knowledge considered and applied in this module is:

  • Quality of supply
  • Load models and modelling strategies
  • Short-term load forecasting
  • Load growth modelling for network planning
  • Demand side management (load shifting, energy efficiency, demand response)
  • Concepts within measurement & verification
  • Advanced metering infrastructure and data management
  • Tariff design (pricing signals, real-time pricing, reseller scenarios)
  • Mini- and microgrids (topologies, control, optimisation)

The problems considered in this module mostly require analysis and/or synthesis, and have the predominant nature of (a) routine application of the available technology and (b) a critical, engineering sciences-based evaluation of the suitability of alternative solutions and technologies. The students’ problem-solving ability is further developed in homework and tutorial assignments, through discussing pertinent experience from application practice, evaluating the application of empirical data and presentation of illustrative examples.

 

Integrated Supply Side Technologies

This course presents the problems and options from the viewpoint of the energy supply side.

A prime component of the course is energy load flow modelling, simulation and analysis.

The field-specific knowledge considered and applied in this module is:

  • Basic electrical / mechanical power system concepts
  • Long-term load forecasting as input to IRPs.
  • Power delivery characteristics (ramp rates, minimum on/off requirements, efficiencies under different loading conditions)
    of conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, nuclear, gas and solar thermal, presented within the context of the various thermodynamic cycles used in these power stations.
  • The power delivery characteristics of intermittent renewable power stations such as wind farms and large, grid-connected PV systems, presented within the context of temporal and geographic solar and wind resource availability, and plant technical constraints.
  • The power delivery characteristics of utility-scale energy storage.
  • Economic dispatch
  • Utility-scale energy storage scheduling optimisation
  • Load-frequency control and inter-area power flow
  • Dynamic system stability and the concept of inertia
  • Overview of applicable network codes and regulations.
  • Introduction to fault calculation and protection strategies.
  • Business models for the future utility
  • Power system modelling and simulation software
  • Grid code compliance

Students will be further required to solve problems via tutorial assignments and discussions of applications and illustrative examples.

 

Smart Grid Technology Overview

This module will provide a broad overview of all components and technologies associated with, and connected to, the new Smart Grid.

The field specific knowledge to be covered would be:

  • Renewable Energy Systems and characteristics
  • Grid code compliance
  • PV components and sizing
  • Storage components, eg. batteries
  • Microgrids and power flow
  • Network dynamics and stability
  • Economics of SG installations
  • Communications technology and selection

Smart Grid Communications

This course will cover the fundamentals of communications, before proceeding to the various techniques of transferring data from A to B.

Concepts such as bandwidth, network capacity, performance metrics, data integrity, and communications media will be covered. Subsequently the different communications technologies, both wireless and cable based, will be introduced, followed by their characteristics and application areas.

Smart Grid networks and their specific requirements, will be a focus area.

The course will cover:

  • Overview of course
  • What is information
  • Data transmission media intro, ie. Cu cable, radio, optical
  • Waves, Spectrum and Units
  • Information Transfer
  • Modulation and demodulation fundamentals
  • Noise and SNR
  • Antennas, quick and simple
  • Digital Transmission, ie ASK, FSK, PSK, Spread Spectrum
  • Data Transfer – Radio: Technology overview: VHF, UHF, Microwave, Microwave links, GSM / GPRS, 3G / LTE, WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Data Networking Basics, Switches & Routers, Network topologies, Protocols overview
  • Smart Grid Specific Technology
  • Industrial interfaces & protocols
  • Switchgear / electrical control interfaces
  • Network performance
  • Performance criteria for distributed SG comms
  • Data transfer integrity
  • Wide area network types and principles
  • Telemetry for SG
  • Rural network options

Project 884

Prerequisite:
Admission to the MEng (Structured) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and completion of all the other required modules in the program.
Total credits of module: 60

Content:
A project that entails formulating objectives, planning the project, surveying the relevant literature and applying what was learned in the modules, as well as from the literature review and own research, to an electrical engineering research project. Critical evaluation of the research results will also be required. The project is individually supervised.

Students wishing to apply for the new Structured Masters Programme in Smart Grid Technology, should take note of the following:

Prerequisite: To qualify for admission to our MEng (structured) program in Smart Grids Technology, the applicant must hold at least a BEng, a BSc Hons, another relevant four-year bachelor’s degree, an MTech, or a PGDip (Eng).

Application Steps:

    • Step 1: Potential MEng Structured students must apply electronically to the University first by completing the Electronic Application Form online and attaching the relevant documents (as requested on the Application Form).
    • Step 2: Download and complete the Departmental application form and submit to Mr Larry Morkel (lmorkel@sun.ac.za) together with all supporting documentation regarding qualifications, study record and CV if applicable. (note that you need to include your student number obtained from your on-line application).

Closing dates:

  • Closing dates for South African students (including SA permanent residents): 1 December of the preceding year
  • Closing dates for International students: 30 September of the preceding year
  • Students must adhere to the closing dates to complete applications.

Communicating with applicants:

  • Applicants who do not qualify for admission will be notified as soon as their applications are processed.
  • Applicants who comply with all the admission requirements will be duly informed by an official letter and/or email of the success of their applications.
  • For enquiries about MEng Structured studies, please contact Mr Larry Morkel at lmorkel@sun.ac.za
General

This is a new course offering by the Dept of E & E Eng, in response to worldwide evolutional processes in the electrical energy domain. These are seen to be technologically very exciting, but will also have a considerable impact on conventional networks, in the near to medium future.

You can also download the full course specifications for more information and also the detailed course schedule for 2021.

Duration and Teaching Load

One, or two years; Full time basis or part-time basis. One week block per module with 45 hours of contact and additional work via distance education. Successful completion of all modules is followed by a thesis project of which more detail is available here). Each block carries 15 credits and the project 60 credits.

Course Module and Descriptions

The course is composed of various modules as set out in the course specifications, which includes the following E&E modules:

Advanced PV Systems

The aim of the course is to provide attendees with the understanding and tools to design grid-tied (including hybrid configurations with backup power) PV systems within the South African solar resource, technical and legislative contexts.

The underlying design criteria will be to optimise the energy yield versus lifecycle costs of the PV system within the given resource, technical and legislative constraints, i.e. the optimising the financial viability of the system.

Specifically, the following topics will be covered:

  • Solar resource & irradiation data sources
  • Different solar PV technologies
  • Photo-voltaic panel: electrical characteristics, maximum power point, influence of shading and diffuse irradiation, etc.
  • Photo-voltaic array: impact of positioning & tracking, string design and DC cable sizing, etc.
  • Connection to the distribution grid: power electronics basics, earthing and circuit-breaker design, system sizing, AC cable sizing, South African regulations & standards, etc.
  • Financial viability: understanding tariffs, payback, etc.

 

Energy Storage Systems

The objective of the module is to enable participants to understand the concepts and technologies used for electric Energy Storage (ES). The course highlights Lithium Ion (Li-ion) batteries as the dominant technology in new projects and addresses the complex safety, performance and life issues of this technology.

The technical and financial parameters that drive the project designs of grid-connected and off-grid ES will be discussed.

The participant will become familiar with the major factors that determine ES selection and sizing, and be provided with various case studies to use as benchmark.

The module therefore aims to provide professionals with sufficient understanding to establish the key requirements and financial benefits of ES in various grid-connected and off-grid applications.

Contents:

  • Introduction: The need for Energy Storage; Proliferation of Renewable Energy => intermittent generation; Load variability; The utility’s challenge: balancing IN and OUT in real-time; How storage can help
  • Large Scale Energy Storage services and benefits: Key parameters of Energy Storage; 15 individual benefits; Stacked benefits
  • Global storage project examples and statistics: Energy Storage Technology cost, performance and maturity; Macro overview and comparison of available technologies; Anatomy of a battery; Top 5 storage types in more detail; Examples of specific products available
  • Energy Storage sizing and selection: Use of an open source tool; Understanding storage Life-Cycle Cost; The selection and sizing of Energy Storage for certain applications; Large off-grid hybrid
    PV/storage worked example; Small-scale Energy Storage applications; The economic impact of adding Energy Storage to certain applications; The regulations and safety issues related to Energy Storage systems

 

Integrated Demand Side Technologies

The perspective of this course is a view from the energy demand, or user, side of a network.

The field-specific knowledge considered and applied in this module is:

  • Quality of supply
  • Load models and modelling strategies
  • Short-term load forecasting
  • Load growth modelling for network planning
  • Demand side management (load shifting, energy efficiency, demand response)
  • Concepts within measurement & verification
  • Advanced metering infrastructure and data management
  • Tariff design (pricing signals, real-time pricing, reseller scenarios)
  • Mini- and microgrids (topologies, control, optimisation)

The problems considered in this module mostly require analysis and/or synthesis, and have the predominant nature of (a) routine application of the available technology and (b) a critical, engineering sciences-based evaluation of the suitability of alternative solutions and technologies. The students’ problem-solving ability is further developed in homework and tutorial assignments, through discussing pertinent experience from application practice, evaluating the application of empirical data and presentation of illustrative examples.

 

Integrated Supply Side Technologies

This course presents the problems and options from the viewpoint of the energy supply side.

A prime component of the course is energy load flow modelling, simulation and analysis.

The field-specific knowledge considered and applied in this module is:

  • Basic electrical / mechanical power system concepts
  • Long-term load forecasting as input to IRPs.
  • Power delivery characteristics (ramp rates, minimum on/off requirements, efficiencies under different loading conditions)
    of conventional power stations, such as coal-fired, nuclear, gas and solar thermal, presented within the context of the various thermodynamic cycles used in these power stations.
  • The power delivery characteristics of intermittent renewable power stations such as wind farms and large, grid-connected PV systems, presented within the context of temporal and geographic solar and wind resource availability, and plant technical constraints.
  • The power delivery characteristics of utility-scale energy storage.
  • Economic dispatch
  • Utility-scale energy storage scheduling optimisation
  • Load-frequency control and inter-area power flow
  • Dynamic system stability and the concept of inertia
  • Overview of applicable network codes and regulations.
  • Introduction to fault calculation and protection strategies.
  • Business models for the future utility
  • Power system modelling and simulation software
  • Grid code compliance

Students will be further required to solve problems via tutorial assignments and discussions of applications and illustrative examples.

 

Smart Grid Technology Overview

This module will provide a broad overview of all components and technologies associated with, and connected to, the new Smart Grid.

The field specific knowledge to be covered would be:

  • Renewable Energy Systems and characteristics
  • Grid code compliance
  • PV components and sizing
  • Storage components, eg. batteries
  • Microgrids and power flow
  • Network dynamics and stability
  • Economics of SG installations
  • Communications technology and selection

Smart Grid Communications

This course will cover the fundamentals of communications, before proceeding to the various techniques of transferring data from A to B.

Concepts such as bandwidth, network capacity, performance metrics, data integrity, and communications media will be covered. Subsequently the different communications technologies, both wireless and cable based, will be introduced, followed by their characteristics and application areas.

Smart Grid networks and their specific requirements, will be a focus area.

The course will cover:

  • Overview of course
  • What is information
  • Data transmission media intro, ie. Cu cable, radio, optical
  • Waves, Spectrum and Units
  • Information Transfer
  • Modulation and demodulation fundamentals
  • Noise and SNR
  • Antennas, quick and simple
  • Digital Transmission, ie ASK, FSK, PSK, Spread Spectrum
  • Data Transfer – Radio: Technology overview: VHF, UHF, Microwave, Microwave links, GSM / GPRS, 3G / LTE, WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Data Networking Basics, Switches & Routers, Network topologies, Protocols overview
  • Smart Grid Specific Technology
  • Industrial interfaces & protocols
  • Switchgear / electrical control interfaces
  • Network performance
  • Performance criteria for distributed SG comms
  • Data transfer integrity
  • Wide area network types and principles
  • Telemetry for SG
  • Rural network options

Project 884

Prerequisite:
Admission to the MEng (Structured) in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and completion of all the other required modules in the program.
Total credits of module: 60

Content:
A project that entails formulating objectives, planning the project, surveying the relevant literature and applying what was learned in the modules, as well as from the literature review and own research, to an electrical engineering research project. Critical evaluation of the research results will also be required. The project is individually supervised.

Application

Students wishing to apply for the new Structured Masters Programme in Smart Grid Technology, should take note of the following:

Prerequisite: To qualify for admission to our MEng (structured) program in Smart Grids Technology, the applicant must hold at least a BEng, a BSc Hons, another relevant four-year bachelor’s degree, an MTech, or a PGDip (Eng).

Application Steps:

    • Step 1: Potential MEng Structured students must apply electronically to the University first by completing the Electronic Application Form online and attaching the relevant documents (as requested on the Application Form).
    • Step 2: Download and complete the Departmental application form and submit to Mr Larry Morkel (lmorkel@sun.ac.za) together with all supporting documentation regarding qualifications, study record and CV if applicable. (note that you need to include your student number obtained from your on-line application).

Closing dates:

  • Closing dates for South African students (including SA permanent residents): 1 December of the preceding year
  • Closing dates for International students: 30 September of the preceding year
  • Students must adhere to the closing dates to complete applications.

Communicating with applicants:

  • Applicants who do not qualify for admission will be notified as soon as their applications are processed.
  • Applicants who comply with all the admission requirements will be duly informed by an official letter and/or email of the success of their applications.
  • For enquiries about MEng Structured studies, please contact Mr Larry Morkel at lmorkel@sun.ac.za