Last Updated S012019


Unit Code MEE503
Unit Duration 1 Term (online) or 1 Semester (on-campus)

Graduate Diploma of Engineering ( Electrical Systems )

Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering  ( Electrical systems )

Duration ( 2 years )

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Prof. Trevor Blackburn
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24

(3 credit x 8 (units))

Master total course credit points = 48

(3 credit x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis ))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours  per week

lecture - 1 hour

tutorial lecture - 1 hours

Practical / Lab -  1 hour ( where applicable)

Personal study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

The predominant means of electrical power transfer is by the overhead line. Overhead lines range in voltage from the basic distribution levels of 110 and 230 V up to the highest modern transmission voltages of 1000 kV. While overhead lines have been almost always AC, HVDC is now an emerging force in OH line systems. However, this Unit will concentrate primarily on AC overhead lines for the full range of transmission and distribution voltages.
The scope of the unit will cover three phase lines, single phase lines and SWER lines and the ancillary equipment that is part of the overall overhead line system. Line conductor types will be covered in detail and standard separations outlined. The coverage will include conductor line characteristics, current carrying capacity, sag and tension calculations and OH line insulators. Detailed analyses of creepage path and flashover paths as well as electric and magnetic fields will be done.
This unit aims to cover power transfer along lines, the design of small pole mounted and pad mounted substations and the use of HV fuses, auto-reclose breakers and sectionalisers. Instrument transformers will be covered and the range of typical faults on OH lines will be discussed with their impact on protection. High impedance arcing faults will be discussed and the use of earth fault impedances and modern active Peterson coils will be included. Propagation of overvoltage transients along the lines will also be covered.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

1. Analyse and design overhead line systems with detailed knowledge of the various parameters involved.
Bloom’s Level 6
2. Calculate the power transfer capacity of the line and perform thermal energy balance calculations.
Bloom’s Level 6
3. Design the insulator requirements of the lines for the ambient conditions.
Bloom’s Level 6
4. Apply the characteristics of over voltage protection for protection against lightning strikes to the lines. Design of OV protection devices for equipment in substations and for LV equipment.
Bloom’s Level 6
5. Perform fault calculations for symmetrical and asymmetrical faults and design and specify appropriate protection devices to detect and isolate faults.
Bloom’s Level 6
6. Design reactive compensation systems to improve voltage stability and to improve losses.
Bloom’s Level 6
7. Specify the various maintenance procedures required for the lines and ancillary equipment such as transformers and poles.
Bloom’s Level 6
8. Apply software packages to calculate line characteristics and their distribution and to determine electric fields and corona susceptibility.
Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assessment -2000 word essay (specify topic) Examination ( specify length and format))

When assessed

(eg Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test / Group work / Short answer
questions / Role Play / Self-Assessment / Presentation
Topic examples: Fundamental concepts of energy
transfer efficiencies; AC&DC; insulators.
Week 5 20% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Report / Research / Paper / Case Study / Site Visit / Problem analysis / Project / Professional recommendation

Example: Report (Midterm Project)

[This will include a progress report; literature review, hypothesis, and methodology / conclusions]

Word length: 1000

Topic examples: “The potential impact of grass fires under HV power lines” or “The benefits to be gained from the use of modern high temperature, low sag conductors” or “The energy transfer efficiency of OH line systems (including transformers) and ways of monitoring losses on-line”

Week 8 25% 1,2,3,4,5

Assessment 3

Type: Report (Final Project)
[If a continuation of the midterm, this should complete the report by adding sections on: methodology, implementation / evaluation, verification / validation, conclusion / challenges and recommendations / future work. If this is a new report, all headings from the midterm and the final reports must be included.]
Word length: 2000
Topic examples: Continuation of midterm, OR OH line susceptibility and maintenance.
Final week 35% 6,7,8

Practical Participation

Example: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies
Example: Calculate line characteristics
Continuous 15% 8

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

Example: Presentation, discussion, group work, exercises, self-assessment/reflection, case study analysis, application.

Continuous 5% 1 - 8


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required textbook(s)
1. T. A. Short, Electric Power Distribution Handbook , CRC Press, 2004
2. J. D. Gloverand M.S. Sarma, Power System Analysis and Design, 3rd ed. , Brooks/Cole, 2002
3. Cigre SCB2 , Overhead Lines , Cigre , 2014
4. A.P. Saakis Meliopolis, Power System Grounding and Transients  Marcel Dekker, 1988
Reference Materials
  • Examples include but not limited to: IEEE Power & Energy Magazine, IEEE Electrification Magazine, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
  • IDC notes and Reference texts as advised.
  • Other material advised during the lectures

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topics 1 and 2

Over voltages and insulation in power systems
1. Historical developments of power lines
2. AC and DC lines and efficiency
3. AC Line parameters
4. Equivalent circuits of lines
5. Power Transfer



Topics 3 and 4

Impact of transient OVs on windings
1. Operating voltages and limitations
2. Surge propagation on OH lines
3. Reflection and transmission coefficients of travelling waves
4. Switching overvoltages


Topics 5 and 6

Insulation properties and protection
1. Lightning protection of lines
2. Direct and indirect injection of lightning impulses
3. Use of overhead earth wires
4. Use of surge arresters and similar devices


Topics 7 and 8

Current carrying capacity of lines
1. Heat generation in lines (Ohmic losses and skin effect)
2. Heat loss mechanisms (natural and forced convection, radiation)
3. Probabilistic calculations
4. Monitoring of lines for continuous rating determination and for losses


Topic 9 and 10

Other equipment and protection for distribution lines
1. OCRs, ACRs, sectionalisers and transformers
2. Faults in distribution line systems
3. High impedance faults and detection


Topic 11

Maintenance of lines and ancillaries
1. Poles, transformers, surge arresters
2. Insulators, contamination and cleaning methods


Topic 12

Project and Revision
In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work, to clarify any outstanding issues, and to work on finalising the major assessment report.