The steady modernization of electric power distribution systems has included the installation of smart grid enabling technology such as intelligent electronic devices (IED) equipped with their own internal sensors, mini-RTU's (remote terminal units) which measure network flows, and Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) for sensing network loads. While these devices have increased the level of digital control available within power distribution networks, they use varied communication protocols. In addition, significant efforts to increase the amount of renewable and distributed energy sources/storage have been made by state and local governments, yet in some areas, network limits have been reached.
The proposed power distribution system curriculum is designed to educate students in the operation and planning of smart electric power distribution systems. The curriculum centers around a reconfigurable distribution automation and control (RDAC) laboratory coupled with software programs to visualize collected data and to control the distribution system. Project tasks include teaching and lab materials development, implementation and evaluation as well as faculty development.
The project will create mature versions of previous work by making necessary adaptations for implementation and testing at multiple academic institutions. The subsequent evaluation procedure for these enhanced materials will create a process such that new learning materials developed under this project are expected to also yield successful course and laboratory modules that could be widely distributed. The project will contribute to the effort to modernize the curriculum on power distribution system in the nation's universities.