Transmission & Distribution Courses

TADP courses incorporate knowledge civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers typically use in modern electrical grid design. The courses are taught by a combination of full-time faculty and industry experts. These courses can be used to obtain both the Certificate and Master's of Engineering, Transmission & Distribution within the prescribed rules.

TADP Courses & Sessions

Plan your T&D courses with the academic year course schedule.

More course information is provided below, listed by semester session. The courses are fully online, 3 credit, graduate classes. Spring and Fall offerings tend to stay the same; Summer courses rotate.

Spring I 2022

January 10 - March 4

This course is the first of two line design courses, and is intended to teach students the basic process for designing an overhead transmission (or distribution) line. Modules include:

  • Terrain and Alignment
  • Loading
  • Conductors
  • Structures
  • Foundations
  • Structure Spotting
  • Line Design & Analysis
  • Construction Package

Course assignments begin with fundamental exercises to establish a line route. After the line route is established, an actual line design will be developed and loads based on design criteria, standards, wire tensions, and weather inputs will be applied. Structure and foundation evaluations will then be performed from the load data. Once the structures and the foundations are evaluated, students will then spot (or locate) structures along the alignment.

Finally, clearance analysis and other verifications of an acceptable line design will be performed and the resulting design artifacts will be produced to complete a simple construction package. Course assignments will involve the use of survey data, drawings, mathematical formulas, and manufacturers' data.


The course begins with a review of basic concepts of power systems, their components and how they are inter-related. Then an overview to the topology and players of the North American power grid will be covered. The main portion of the course will refer to modeling of power systems, short circuit calculations, and load flow algorithms and methods. Students will learn how to apply these fields with theory and case studies in topics such as voltage regulation, VAR control, and relay setting and coordination. The course wraps up with a brief segment on harmonic analysis and filter design.

Units include:

  • Power system general review and current situation: Components of an electric power system, how they are inter-related, and how the North American power grid is structured.
  • Power System modeling: Modeling the elements that make up a power system in order to carry out the different type of studies like load flow, short circuit, transient stability, harmonics and other relevant studies.
  • Fault types and short circuit calculations: Nature of faults, how they are classified, and concepts of symmetrical components. Calculate short circuit voltages and currents when symmetrical and asymmetrical faults occur.
  • Load flow concepts: Basic load flow concepts of Power Systems and the different algorithms to solve them. Use software program to analyze load flow scenarios and find out measures to improve the operation condition of power systems.
  • Voltage regulation and VAR control: Use components to improve power factor and voltage profile of any power system. Solutions increasing VAR generation, location of capacitors, operation of load tap changers and voltage regulators will be examined.
  • Electrical relays and protection coordination: Protecting generators, transformers, motors, busbars and lines. Get criteria and perform calculations to achieve proper relay coordination throughout an entire system and in particular related to overcurrent and distance protection.
  • Harmonic analysis and filter design: Ways to measure and calculate harmonics, performing basic calculations to design filter to eliminate undesirable harmonics present in the system.

This course is an introductory course to alternative energy sources and systems. It covers briefly the traditional power generation systems, then it moves to cover the basics of alternative energy generation sources. Modules include:

  • Introduction to electricity generation
  • Advantages, challenges and supporting factors of renewable energy generation
  • PV & concentrated PV systems
  • Wind energy conversion systems
  • Energy storage systems
  • Other emerging renewable energy sources such as geothermal, biomass, solar thermal, ocean thermal, etc. 
Updated January 13, 2021

Spring II 2022

March 14 - May 6

This course is an introduction into the world of communications, with an emphasis on applications in the electrical utility space. The course is intended for those whose specialty is not communications engineering but need an overview of the evolving communications technology as a pre-requisite for the future Smart Grid; this includes power-track engineers, project managers, etc.

Modules include:

  • Introduction to Communication Systems - History of Communications, Networks and Data Transmission Media, Transmission Grid and Substation Communications, Need for Modernization and Smart Grid
  • Communications Fundamentals - Analog and Digital Communications Fundamentals, Data Networks, Transmission Network Topologies, Communication Networks and Systems in Substations
  • Introduction to Fiber-Optic System Design - Units of Measurement, Logarithms and Decibels, Fiber-Optic Communication Theory, Fiber-Optic System Components, Fiber-Optic Link Budget Calculations, Fiber-Optic Systems in Electric Utility Space
  • Introduction to Radio System Design - Radio Systems and Frequency Spectrum, Radio Propagation Theory, Microwave Point-to-Point Systems, Radio Path Engineering, Radio Systems in Electric Utility Space
  • Utility Communications Network Performance and Reliability Considerations - Network Performance, Availability and Reliability, System Protection, Redundancy, and Diversity, Special Communication Requirements of Protection Relays, NERC, FERC, WECC
  • Regulatory Issues and Safety - Licensed and License-Exempt Radio Systems, Air-Traffic Safety and FAA Regulations, Telecommunication Circuits Interfacing High Voltage Environment, Equipment and Methods to Resolve Ground Potential Rise
  • Installation, Testing and Commissioning - Communication Equipment Installation, Cables, Connectors, and Waveguides, Communication Towers - Design and Erection, Practical Aspects of Project Management, Testing and Commissioning of the Communication System
Updated January 13, 2021

Students will learn the basics of substation design. Units include:

  • Intro to Substation Design: Overview of the distribution system and how substations fit into the overall grid. Students will learn where to obtain information regarding what type of substation is needed, what it will be used for and what components it will need.
  • Design Principles: defining a project, what information an engineer needs to create a project plan. Examples of real world substation design plans and how site, time and equipment issues can impact a design project.
  • Major Equipment: Voltage involved in a design and transformer specifics. Overview of safety enclosures, metering, and protection.
  • Transmission/Generation Substations: Design aspects of each substation, how its purpose differs, and how that purpose impacts design. Students will also study the issues of reliability and security for these substations and view drawings of each type.
  • Distribution Substations: Equipment, layout, bus layout, fencing, and related reliability issues. Students will be introduced to drawings for distribution substations.
  • Control Houses: Permitting process, elements of AC & DC power systems, and how different systems impact substation design. Students will also learn about SCADA and safety and communication issues for control house design.
  • Physical Design: Civil engineering aspects of substation design, tools and information needed, basic structural design elements. Students will also cover grounding issues in the design plan

It is highly recommended that students take TADP 641 Power System Analysis before attempting this course.

Modules include:

  • Voltage and Current Transformers for Protection
  • Classification and Functionality of Relays
  • Overcurrent Protection
  • Distribution Feeder Protection
  • Transmission Line Protection with Communications Independent Distance Relaying
  • Introduction to Differential Protection
  • Disturbance Analysis

The course begins with an overview of system protection requirements and definitions by Charles Henville, an engineer with more than 30 years experience in applying and setting system protection schemes. He uses his extensive experience of real world protective relay applications and modeling, to offer students a comprehensive introduction to the topic.

The next two weeks are taught by Tarlochan Sidhu, an Electrical Engineering Department Chair at a major North American University with extensive industry experience. His research experience and interests are specifically in the fields of power system protection and monitoring. His work involves the design, implementation and testing of relays and power system instrumentation that uses digital signal processing, artificial intelligence techniques and other novel methods. Students will learn how to calculate currents and voltages during balanced and unbalanced short circuits with this instructor.

Juan Gers, a design engineering consultant will lead weeks four and five. He has more than 25 years experience designing distribution and protection systems. He has shared his consulting activities with academic work in several universities in the American Continent and has coordinated research activities in different fields of protections and power systems. Students will study distribution feeder protection and overcurrent protection before moving onto the final two weeks. State of the art topics will be introduced in distribution automation and adaptive protection.

Charles Henville returns to provide an in-depth study of high voltage transmission line protection with directional, and distance relaying and plus an introduction to differential protection and disturbance analysis.


Other Upcoming Courses

Students learn economic benefits, reliability, safety, equipment costs, communication, transmission automation, distribution automation, under frequency load shedding, radial overhead, radial loop underground, demand-side management, remote connect/disconnect, SmartGrid, consumer automation, and network design aspects.

Modules include:

  • Automation: Why Automate (Economic Benefits, Reliability, Safety); Why now (where have we come from); Technology, History; What are our Options (Schemes)
  • Reliability (SAIDI, SAIFI, CAIDI, MAIFI, etc); Detailed Explanation of: Industry Standards/Benchmarks, Trend Analysis, System versus Feeder, Commission Report Examples; Varies Depending Tools used to track outages; Outage by Type; Calculation Examples; Case Studies-Transmission & Distribution
  • Transmission Automation: Overview Requirements, Design Schemes (SCADA, Communication/Protocol, Fiber, PLC), Real-time flow, Automatic vs Manual Remote control, RAS (Remedial Action Scheme), Under Frequency Load shedding
  • Distribution Automation, Radial Overhead, Design Aspects, Equipment Needed; Radial Loop Underground, Design Aspects, Equipment Needed; Equipment Costs,
  • Communication: Radio line of sight, Mesh, PLC, BPL, Fiber
  • Computer Network considerations: DMS/OMS/GIS; Operator Training/Buy-in
  • Economic Justification with Case Studies
  • Customer Automation: Distribution Generation, Connection Requirements, <25kW, >25kw, <100kW, >100kW, <3MW, >3MW. Protection & Control Considerations
  • Demand Side Management (Demand Response, Control of customer appliances, Customer Load Information to affect usage/peak); Remote Connect/Disconnect; AMR/AMI
Updated January 13, 2021
This course further develops the strategies that were learned in the Introduction course (TADP 540) and introduces advanced concepts for designing transmission lines.

Modules include:

  • Sag & Tension & LiDAR Survey Technology
    • Derivation of the Catenary Hyperbolic equation
    • Calculation of conductor tension with survey points.
    • Adding / changing a structure.
    • Adding / removing conductor.
    • Moving structures.
    • Thermal Ampacity Ratings of Transmission Lines
    • Upgrading of Transmission Lines
  • Lattice Towers
    • Lattice tower families, anatomy of tower geometry
    • Analysis of truss members, two dimensional and three dimensional, Matrix methods of analysis, Tower analysis details
    • Buckling capacity of compression members, Euler's Theory, Buckling modes
    • Compression capacity of angle members, Global and local buckling, K factors, ASCE 10-97 code
    • Tension capacity of angle members
    • Connection capacity under shear and bearing
    • Tower weight calculations, testing and analysis
  • Poles
    • Analysis and Design of wood poles, NESC code requirements, Illustrated examples 
    • Design of steel poles, polygonal tubular members and round members, ASCE 48-05
    • Design consideration of anchor bolts, Wood equivalent steel poles: Wood vs. steel poles: economic considerations, life-cycle costs
  • Guyed Structures
    • Configurations of guyed structures: Single poles (Steel poles, Wood poles), Stub poles, Multi-pole structures
    • Analysis and deign of guyed structures, Compression capacity       
  • Foundations
    • Geotechnical properties
    • Bearing capacity theories
    • Footings and Grillages
    • Lateral capacity theories: Broms and Brinch-Hansen theories, Elastic analysis
    • Concrete Pier foundations
    • Direct Embedment foundations
    • Uplift capacity theories
  • Conductor stress, galloping, and vibration

As exercises, students will be given data on a line segment and will be required to compute the conductor temperature, do a clearance assessment, and be given a task of upgrading the line to a greater MVA rating using the several techniques presented.