University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Interdisciplinary Professional Programs

Principles of Substation Design and Construction See upcoming dates

Course Overview

Whether you're working on a substation design project yourself or with a project manager, this course will give you the tools and skills to successfully complete a design from start to finish.

Who Should Attend?

  • Substation design engineers and technicians 
  • Industrial, utility, or plant engineers 
  • Transmission line design engineers and technicians 
  • Project managers 
  • Construction supervisors 
  • Managers of design engineering departments

Course Outline

Substation Types and Purposes

  • Fundamentals of power system operation
  • Objectives of substation design

Overview of the Substation Design and Construction Process

  • Establishing the need for substation facilities 
  • The project scope document: what it is and what it should contain 
  • Site selection and environmental issues
  • Engineering design: equipment specifications and drawings
  • Construction 
  • Testing, start-up, and commissioning

Initial Steps in the Design Process: Setting the Bounds for the Overall Project

  • Reviewing and understanding the project scope document
  • Information to gather before the first site visit 
  • What to look for on the initial site visit 
  • Determining site adequacy for initial and future requirements 
  • Environmental, zoning, and public perception issues 
  • Construction and construction outage requirements: access for construction and O&M equipment
  • Ordering material/delivery date issues

Site Selection and Design

  • General requirements
  • Environmental and permitting issues 
  • Site preparation
  • Drainage and erosion protection
  • Surface materials
  • Roads and access

Permitting and Environmental Issues

  • Acquiring necessary permits
  • Zoning and ordinance restrictions 
  • Longterm site impacts
  • Impacts during construction: runoff/stream pollution

Foundation Design

  • The site visit and what to look for 
  • Understanding soil test reports

Bus Designs for Reliability

  • Bus configurations and 1-line diagrams
  • Forced and planned outage performance 
  • Cost-reliability comparisons

Substation Layout: Converting 1-line Diagrams to Physical Layouts

  • Substation components and required code clearances 
  • BIL, insulation coordination, and surge arresters 
  • Future expansion
  • Access for O&M
  • Design exercise

Grounding and Ground Grid Design

  • Purpose of grounding
  • Field-testing ground grid resistance and soil resistivity
  • Materials and installation

Major Substation Equipment

  • Circuit breakers
  • High-voltage and low-voltage switches 
  • Design exercise

Secondary Substation Equipment

  • Surge arresters

Auxiliary Equipment and Systems

  • AC/DC station power and control system supplies
  • Design exercise

Protective Relaying and Control

  • System protection objectives and philosophies 
  • Protective relaying schemes for major substation equipment 
  • Typical relay types and applications

Expansion and Upgrade of Existing Substations

  • Feasibility and limitations


"This is the fourth course I've taken from UW and I would recommend their courses to anyone. Always very helpful, especially the practical examples and real-world issues presented. Sheldon Silberman is very knowledgeable and personable! Kevin Borgmeyer is a great teacher; I hope some day I'll know as much as he does (or even half that much)!"
—Annette Jessen, Stations Structural Designer, Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho

"I can't imagine that any organization could prepare a better introductory substation design course. All of the instructors were excellent."
—Dennis C. Spencer, Substation Designer, Lee County Electric Coop, North Ft. Myers, Florida

"I especially enjoyed the in-class exercises that put the student in the design environment."
—George Guirguis, Substation Engineer, City of Lake Worth Utilities, Lake Worth, Florida

"The substation layout session and the associated in-class exercise were excellent."
—Rick Borkowicz, PE, Engineering Manager, RMF Engineering, Baltimore, Maryland


Kevin Borgmeyer

Kevin Borgmeyer, PE, is Senior Manager of Electrical Engineering at Alliant Energy in Madison, Wisconsin. In this role Kevin manages the departments of Substation Engineering, System Protection Engineering, CAD Engineering Services, and Relay, SCADA, and Telecommunications Technical Support for Wisconsin Power and Light operating company. He has been with Alliant Energy/WPL for more than 30 years, during which he has worked in a variety of engineering management positions. Kevin also has extensive design experience as a substation and transmission engineer and senior system protection engineer. Borgmeyer received a BSEE degree with electric power emphasis from Iowa State University.

Sheldon Silberman

Sheldon I. Silberman, PE, Retired as Senior Manager of Engineering and Design Outsourcing Transmission Services after 46 years at Xcel Energy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In this role, Silberman managed all consulting services for the engineering and design of Northern States Power (NSP) substation and transmission line projects. In his career with Xcel Energy/NSP he held various engineering and management positions related to substation design, construction and maintenance. Silberman received a BSEE degree in electric power systems from the University of Minnesota.

Upcoming dates (1)