University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Interconnection of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) to Utility Systems See upcoming dates

Course Overview

Participants will learn how to safely and reliably interconnect Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) to electric utility systems. You will learn current distribution planning methods involving DERs so that the interface designs will not compromise feeder performance objectives established by the planner. You will also learn the protection aspects of DER integration. Included is a section with a microgrid case study detailing its integration to the power grid.

Who Should Attend?

This course will benefit those involved in system protection, planning, substation design, operations or distribution engineering such as:

  • Electric utility engineers
  • Project managers and consultants

Additional Information

Earn 2.0 CEUs, 20 PDHs with this course.

Course Outline

Course overview

  • Overview of traditional power system operations and protection
  • Value of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs)
  • Impact of the DERs on power system power quality, transmission and distribution protection

 Planning and Operating with DERs

 Introduction to Distribution Systems

  • North America Distribution System
  • European-style Distribution System
  • Low-Voltage Network Distribution System
  • Fault-clearing Practices
  • Reclosing
  • Network Protectors

Distribution Planning with DERs

  • Typical Planning Process
  • Planning Techniques
  • Reasons for Connecting DERs
  • DER Siting
  • Incremental Capacity
  • Hosting Capacity

Analysis Tools for DER Planning

  • Types of Analysis in DER Planning
  • Power Flow Analysis
  • Quasi-static Time series
  • Reliability Analysis
  • Dynamics, Harmonics, and Transients
  • Introduction to OpenDSS

Application Issues

  • Islanding
  • Voltage Regulation
  • Interaction with Voltage Regulators
  • Interference with Fault-clearing and Reconfiguration
  • Intermittent Generation and Storage
  • Transformer Connections
  • Grounding
  • Ungrounded primaries
  • Ferroresonance
  • Harmonics

 Distribution System Protection and Challenges with DER Penetration:

  • Limited fault current contribution from inverter based resources and the impact on overcurrent protection
  • Ground fault overvoltage on ungrounded systems
  • The DER’s frequency and voltage protection

Interconnection transformer and grounding:

  • Interconnection transformer winding configurations

Impact of Renewable Generation Intermittency on System Power Quality:

  • Impact of DER switching on/off on the power system quality
  • DER flicker and harmonics

IEEE 1547

  • An overview of the recently published IEEE 1547 standard
  • Standard mandates for DER capabilities i.e. voltage regulations, frequency regulations, interoperability, ride through, etc.
  • Performance of these capabilities and the impact on the power system
  • Examples of standard adoption processes by utilities

Microgrid Case Study

  • Ameren Microgrid Overview
  • Interconnection of microgrid to utility grid (protection, backfeed)
  • Seamless no-outage transitions from grid-tied to islanded and back
  • Adaptive Relaying when transitioning
  • Utilizing IEC-61850 GOOSE messaging for protection and control
  • Distributed Microgrid Controller Design
  • Integrating Energy Storage, Solar, Wind, and Natural Gas
  • Islanding microgrid with energy storage and renewables
  • Using different communication protocols for different purposes (DNP3, MODBUS, SEL, GOOSE)


Shalini Bhat

Shalini Bhat, PE, is a program director at the Office of Interdisciplinary Professional Programs at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She has over 15 years of experience in the power industry. Previously, she has worked at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and Cooper Power Systems. Most recently, she was a Senior Distribution Protection Engineer for seven years at WE Energies in Wisconsin.

Roger Dugan

Roger Dugan, Life Fellow, IEEE, is a Sr. Technical Executive with EPRI in Knoxville, Tennessee USA. He has over 45 years of combined experience in distribution engineering with EPRI, Electrotek Concepts, and Cooper Power Systems. He holds the BSEE degree from Ohio University and the Master of Engineering in Electric Power Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Roger has worked on many diverse aspects of power engineering over his career because of his interests in applying computer methods to power system simulation. Beginning with a student internship with Columbus and Southern Ohio Electric Co, his work has been focused on Distribution Engineering. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE for his contributions in harmonics and transients analysis. Recently, he has been very active in distributed generation, particularly as it applies to utility distribution systems and distribution system analysis. He was the 2005 recipient of the IEEE Excellence in Distribution Engineering Award. He is coauthor of Electrical Power Systems Quality published by McGraw-Hill, now in its 3rd edition. He serves on the IEEE PES Distribution System Analysis Subcommittee and is active in the Distribution Test Feeders WG.

Babak Enayati

Babak Enayati received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University, USA in 2009. He joined New Leaf Energy in 2022 and is currently the Director of Electrical Engineering. Prior to joining New Leaf Energy, Babak worked in the utility industry for 13 years holding various engineering and managerial positions. 

He joined Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2006 and currently is a Senior IEEE Member. Babak currently serves as the Vice President of Education on the IEEE Power and Energy Society (PES) Governing Board. He is the current chair of the IEEE PES Transmission Subcommittee. Babak serves as the Vice Chair of the IEEE Std 1547 Standard for Interconnecting Distributed Energy Resources with Electric Power Systems, and IEEE P2800 Standard for Interconnection and Interoperability of Inverter-Based Resources Interconnecting with Associated Transmission Electric Power Systems. Babak is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Massachusetts.

Michael Higginson

Michael Higginson is a Principal Engineer at S&C Electric Company with over ten years of experience in the electric power industry.  Michael has lead power system design, consulting, and analysis for distribution systems and microgrid development.  His work has focused on distributed resource integration, power system protection, and automation.  Michael has led power system analysis and protection efforts for award-winning distribution-integrated microgrid systems and renewable generation projects. He is active in the IEEE Power & Energy Society and CIGRÉ organizations, receiving several awards for his contributions and leadership. He has authored several papers on microgrid design, operation, and smart inverter system impacts on power systems.  Michael is currently leading the development of IEEE P2030.12 Guide for the Design of Microgrid Protection Systems and led the development of its predecessor which won the 2022 IEEE PES Outstanding Working Group Recognition Award.  He has been awarded patents based on innovative solutions applied in microgrid projects. 

Upcoming dates