Last Updated S012021


Unit Code MEE512
Unit Duration 12 weeks

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Electrical Systems)

Duration: 1 year

Master of Engineering (Electrical Systems)

Duration: 2 years

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dr Tony Auditore, Dr. Ameen Gargoom
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites None
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24

( 3 credits  x 8 (units))

Master total course credit points = 48

(3 credits  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 unit is designed to provide students/engineers with in depth knowledge on the components of earthing/grounding and protection of electrical systems in addition to the applied methodologies to ensure a safe electrical working environment. The science and the art of earthing/grounding and protection systems are discussed in detail and then applied in case studies. The aims are to introduce the principles, and provide an understanding of earthing/grounding and protection of electrical systems in terms of the international competency standards.

Furthermore, this unit introduces a theoretic point of view on earthing/grounding and protection concepts. Designing principles of substation and protection systems for different components in power systems are also covered. Thereafter this unit applies these principles in case studies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate theoretical knowledge of Power System Protection and provide in-depth understanding of Earthing/Grounding and protection principles and theory.

Bloom’s Level 2

  1. Investigate the safety issues regarding the potential hazard touch and step voltages within an electrical environment.

Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Identify and analyse the crucial components and their functions within an earthing/grounding and protection systems.

Bloom’s Level 4

  1. Evaluate the main international standards and local guidelines for earthing/grounding substation and protection system design.

Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Apply standards and guidelines in the design of an earthing/grounding and protection project.

Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assessment -2000 word essay (specify topic)

Examination ( specify length and format))

When assessed

(e.g 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: Earthing/grounding; function of grounding devices; earth/ground resistance; permitted potential difference, standards; measurement and modelling of soil resistivity)
After Topic 5 20% 1, 2,3

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: Earth/Ground fault current of a substation. Earthing/Grounding systems for substations. Earthing/Grounding of transmission and distribution lines. Designing of a protection scheme for a power system.
After Topic 8 25% 2,3,4

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.
After Topic 11 35% 1,2,3,4,5

Assessment 4 Practical Participation

Example: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies
Final Week 15% 5

Attendance / Tutorial Participation

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

Continuous 5%        -


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook

  1. He J; Zeng R and Bo Z, Methodology and Technology for Power System Grounding, 1st Edition, John Wiley & Sons, 2013 (ISBN 9781118254950)
  2. J. Lewis Blackburn and Thomas J. Domin, Protective Relaying: Principles and Applications, Fourth Edition, CRC Press, 2014

Recommended Reference Materials

  • Akhtar Kalam, DP Kothari, Power system protection and communications, New Age Science, 2010
  • Horowitz, Stanley H. Phadke, Arun G, Power system relaying, 4th edition, Chichester, West Sussex, New York: Wiley 2014.
  • Network Protection & Automation Guide, ALSTOM Grid, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9568678-0-3
  • Paithankar, Yeshwant G., and S. R. Bhide. Fundamentals of power system protection. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., 2011.
  • IEEE 81: Guide for Measuring Earth Resistivity, Ground Impedance, and Earth Surface Potentials of a Ground System.
  • IEEE 142: Grounding of Industrial and Commercial Power Systems.

Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week.

Topic 1

Introduction to Earthing/Grounding

  1. Why earthing is important
  2. Low voltage distribution systems earthing practice (MEN, CMEN).
  3. High voltage distribution systems earthing practice (distribution transformers, switchgears, conductive and insulating poles, etc.
  4. Earthing of high voltage transmission and distribution systems (solidly earthing, resistance earthing, resonant earthing, etc.

Topic 2

Bonding Principles

  1. Objectives of bonding
  2. Type and size of bonding and grounding conductors and electrodes
  3. Methods of  bonding and grounding
  4. Consideration of dissimilar metals and corrosion control – electrochemical basis of bond galvanic corrosion, electrochemical series, galvanic series, galvanic couples, corrosion protection

Topic 3

Soil Resistivity and Earth Electrodes Resistance Measurement

  1. Resistivity of the earth
  2. Electrode resistance and reactance
  3. Earthing maintenance
  4. Remedial treatments
  5. Single electrode resistance (rod, plate, buried conductor)
  6. Multiple electrode and proximity effects
  7. Buried grids

Topic 4

Ground Fault Current in Substations and Substation Earthing Design

  1. Power station and substation earth fault
  2. Maximum fault current through a grounding grid to earth
  3. Simplified calculation of a fault current division factor
  4. Step and touch voltages
  5. Grid potential
  6. Substation earthing design
  7. Earthing standards

Topic 5

Introduction to Power System Protection

  1. Typical protective relays and relay systems
  2. Typical power circuit breakers
  3. Basic objectives of system protection
  4. Classification of relays

Topic 6

Relay Input Sources

  1. Equivalent circuits of current and voltage transformers
  2. CTs for protection applications
  3. Secondary burdens during faults
  4. CT selection and performance evaluation
  5. VT for protective applications

Topic 7

Basic Design Principles of Protection Systems

  1. Overcurrent – distance protection and the basics
  2. Differential protection principle
  3. Backup protection
  • Remote vs. local backup
  • Remote backup
  • Local backup and breaker failure
  • Applications requiring remote backup with breaker failure protection
  1. Basic design principles
  2. Ground distance relays
  3. Solid state microprocessor relays

Topic 8

Generator and Motor Protection

  1. Generator Protection:
  • Generator connections and overview of typical protection
  • Stator phase fault protection
  • Unit transformer phase fault differential protection
  • Stator ground fault protection
  • Generator off-line protection
  1. Motor Protection:
  • General requirements of motor protection
  • Phase fault protection
  • Ground fault protection
  • Locked rotor protection
  • Overload protection
  • Negative sequence voltage protection


Topic 9

Transformer Protection

  1. Factors affecting differential protection
  2. False differential current
  3. Transformer differential relay characteristics.
  4. Application and connection of transformer differential protection
  5. Differential protection connection for multiwinding transformer bank
  6. Transformer overcurrent protection
  7. Transformer thermal protection


Topic 10

Busbar Protection

  1. Typical bus arrangement
  2. Single breaker – single bus
  3. Single bus connected with bus ties
  4. Main and transfer buses with single breaker
  5. Single breaker double bus
  6. Double breaker double bus
  7. Ring bus

Topic 11

Lightning Protection of Power Systems

  1. Components of lightning protection systems
  2. Lightning protection of power lines
  3. Surge protection devices
  4. Arc Flash protection devices

Topic 12

Predictive Maintenance of Electrical Equipment

  1. Infrared inspections of hot spots
  2. Online and offline monitoring techniques
  3. Insulating fluid (oil) analysis

Unit Review


Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


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