ECE 498 HZ - Power Distribution Systems Analysis

Distribution System AnalysisECE498HZ63783LEC31400 - 1520 T R  4026 ECE Building Hao Zhu

Official Description

Subject offerings of new and developing areas of knowledge in electrical and computer engineering intended to augment the existing curriculum. See Class Schedule or departmental course information for topics and prerequisites. Course Information: 0 to 4 undergraduate hours. 0 to 4 graduate hours. May be repeated in the same or separate terms if topics vary.

Section Description

Prerequisites: ECE 476 (Power System Analysis) or permission of instructor. Fundamental techniques for analyzing power distribution systems, including an overview of distribution grids, their loads, components, typical topologies, operational strategies, and the three-phase power flow analysis. Emerging topics in power distribution systems include distributed generation, electric vehicles, demand response, and new metering devices.

Course Director


This course covers the fundamentals of electric power distribution systems and electric loads. Most power system courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels focus on transmission systems. With increased deployment of distributed generation, controllable loads and metering devices, it has become more and more important for researchers and power industry professionals to understand power distribution systems. We will start with an overview of distribution networks, including their components, typical topologies, and operational strategies. The characteristics and representations of electric loads will be introduced in the context of distribution systems. We will then study the modeling of key components in distribution grids, including unbalanced line segments, voltage regulators, and three-phase transformers. These topics will be further integrated into the power ow analysis for unbalanced distribution networks. Additionally, we will also discuss some special topics such as substation physical- and cyber-security, load control, microgrids, as well as integration of renewables, electric vehicles, and distributed generation in distribution systems.

Detailed Description and Outline

Bi-weekly Homework 30%
Paper Review Report 5%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 35%

Course Outline:
1. Introduction to distribution systems (3 hours)

  • Typical components and topology
  • Operations and policy
  • Differences and similarities with transmission systems

2. Electric Loads (7 hours)

  • Definitions, characteristics, and uniform/nonuniform distribution models
  • Static ZIP load modeling
  • Three-phase induction machine

3. Unbalanced distribution line segment modeling (7 hours)

  • Series impedance and shunt admittance of overhead and underground lines
  • Ground effects
  • Exact and approximate line segment models

4. Three-phase system component modeling (7 hours)

  • Voltage regulators and feeder voltage regulation
  • Three-phase transformer models
  • Shunt capacitors

5. Unbalanced distribution system power ow (10 hours)

  • Approximate method based on voltage drop
  • Three-phase power ow analysis
  • Alternative approaches: DistFlow and branch current ow

6. Special topics (10 hours)

  • Renewable integration
  • Microgrids
  • Substation protection and cyber-security
  • Impacts of electric vehicles
  • Enhanced load models and load control

Computer Usage

Scientific computing proficiency (such as Matlab) to develop power flow solvers.


W.H. Kersting, Distribution System Modeling and Analysis, 3rd Edition, CRC Press, 2012. Available through UIUC Library Catalog

Course Goals

The goals are to impart basics of distribution systems and their components, including line segments, transformers, electric loads, and capacitors. This course prepares the students to be engineers working in the electric utility industry.

Instructional Objectives

  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  2. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  3. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  4. a knowledge of contemporary issues
  5. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice

Last updated

3/13/2017by Hao Zhu