Introduction to Power System and Substation Grounding

Upcoming dates (2)

Dec. 4-7, 2023


Course Overview

We will introduce you to the fundamentals of utility power system grounding. You will learn the different system configuration methods and the theory behind common methods. Your expert instructors will walk you through the step-by-step process of substation grounding optimization studies and corresponding design and construction drawings.

Course Outline

Power System Grounding Fundamentals

  • Introduction
  • System grounding vs. equipment grounding vs. lightning protection
  • Transformer configurations and system-neutral connections
  • Neutral to earth connections
  • Ground-return current impedance and paths
  • Impedance-grounded systems and neutral-ground line reactors
  • Introduction to voltage gradients and ground potential rise

System Applications

  • Substation grounding principles
  • Utility primary distribution grounding
  • Key differences between utility and facility-grounding practices

Lightning Protection

  • Arrester and grounding coordination
  • Underground system considerations
  • 60Hz vs. high-frequency surge impedance

Substation Grounding Electrodes and Ground Resistance

  • Ground potential rise
  • Voltage gradients
  • Impacts of soil resistivity
  • Applications of different grounding electrodes
  • Materials and grounding components
  • Fences and pre-cast screening/security walls
  • Corrosion prevention
  • Earth resistivity measurement applications and methods

Substation Ground Grid System Optimization Studies

  • Design criteria
  • Design input
  • Fault current and fault current split factors
  • Distribution vs. transmission substations
  • Initial layout model
  • Soil resistivity reports
  • Overview of soil modeling
  • Iterative step and touch-potential mitigation strategies
  • Understanding deliverables (reports and drawings)
  • Software options

Overview of NESC Grounding Requirements

  • Industry terms and NESC definitions
  • Exposure of public to electrical hazards
  • Underground shielded cable (sheath-bonding options)
  • Fences
  • Grounding electrodes and methods of connection
  • Interconnection to customers and joint-use utility structures
  • Equipotential and safety ground requirements for work
  • Sizing protective grounds (examples)

Project Grounding Drawing Examples

Class Exercises to Review Concepts


"This course was exactly what I was missing from a grounding engineer perspective. This explained the theory behind several factors in design that I needed clarification on."
—John L., Avista Utilities, 2019

"I’ll recommend to my team of engineers. Very good for utility engineers and employees."
—Ryan H., Senior Substation Engineer, 2019

 "I think Electrical Engineers will or should know all about this.  For Civil Engineers and all designers, this class is (also) great...  One of the best classes I've taken."  
—Matt R., Dairyland Power Cooperative, 2020


Steven Blume

Steve is a registered professional engineer with a master’s degree in electrical engineering specializing in power systems, a bachelor’s degree specializing in telecommunications, and a NERC certified reliability coordinator. Steve’s 40 years in engineering and operations includes generation, transmission, distribution, protection, safety, and high voltage testing. He is active in IEEE and has published two books. Steve is the founder of Applied Professional Training and APT College.

Adam Zook

Adam Zook is a project manager for Burns and McDonnell’s Substation Department in Chicago, IL. He is responsible for managing all aspects of substation client services and varying projects across the U.S. Prior to moving into project management, Adam was a consulting substation engineer, where he was the subject matter expert and process owner for grounding design and analysis studies. Adam began his career as a distribution engineer for ComEd, and he received his BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with a concentration in power systems engineering.

Upcoming dates (2)

Program Director

Kevin Rogers

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