This unit of study covers applied and creative knowledge and skills in the areas of electric energy systems protection and communication. The unit is delivered in two parts:

Part A - Protection: Part A investigates the planning, design and operation of protection systems in electrical generation, transmission and distribution systems. Design standards and performance requirements are critically reviewed and different principles and types of protection systems (over-current, impedance, differential, backup, fuses) are hypothesised. Application of protection systems to generators, motors, transmission lines, transformers, busbars, and distribution networks will be diagnosed. Sources of overvoltages and lightning impact on transmission and distribution networks will be debated. Surge propagation theory, circuit interruption theory and operation of instrument transformers will be assessed.


Part B - Communication: Part B deconstructs the relationships between power system automation, control, and communication concepts and technologies, as integral elements of a state of the art power system network, i.e. a smart grid informed by the IEC 61850 protocol. Power system automation, protection and control concepts will be explored with examples from real world applications such as SCADA technologies. Part B will also revise the communication technologies, network topologies, and standardization efforts in the power systems communication arena, and analyse the effectiveness of the relevant standards, communication architectures, and protocols developed for use in these networks. Security concerns in power system communication networks will be outlined and the importance of developing and maintaining a secure network against cyber-attacks will be further substantiated.  

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Hypothesise and adapt different protection schemes applicable to generation, transmission and distribution systems and evaluate the effectiveness of the adaptation;  
  2. Design contemporary protection systems including relay settings and protection coordination to meet emerging challenges;  
  3. Design communication media and architectures for protection applications in power systems;  
  4. Deliberate upon recent innovations in power system communications to generate insights into the operation of modern protection schemes;  
  5. Investigate communication standards, protocols and architectures most commonly employed in power system protection and distribution networks for a reliable and secure network; and  
  6. Collaborate with others with responsibility and accountability for own learning in planning, problem solving and decision making in professional practice.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test One Mid-Semester Test (1 hour duration) 15%
Laboratory Work Two Laboratory Group Reports (Team of two, 1500 words) 15%
Project Team Project Report (Team of two, 2500 words) 20%
Examination Final Examination (3 hours closed book) 50%

Required reading

Lecture and tutorial handouts will be distributed as required.

System Protection and Communications. 1st ed.
Kalam, A. and Kothari, D.P. (2010)
New Age International (P) Ltd.

Practical Power System Protection. 1st ed.
Hewitson, L. G. (2005)

Where to next?

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