Last Updated S022021


Unit Code MEE606
Unit Duration 12 Weeks 

Master of Engineering ( Electrical Systems )

Duration: 2 years

Year Level Two
Unit Creator / Reviewer Dean Reynders, Srilal Gunasekera
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
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

Older (‘legacy’) substation automation protocols and hardware/software architectures provided basic functionality for power system automation, and were designed to accommodate the technical limitations of the technologies available at the time. However, in recent years there have been vast improvements in technology, especially on the networking side. This has opened the door for dramatic improvements in the approach to power system automation in substations. The latest developments in networking such as high-speed, deterministic, redundant Ethernet, as well as other technologies including TCP/IP, high-speed Wide Area Networks and high-performance embedded processors, are providing capabilities that could hardly be imagined when most legacy substation automation protocols were designed.

The unit aims to cover important international standards (IEC 61850) for substation automation, which will contribute to students' understanding of the significant impact on how electric power systems are designed and built for the future. The model driven approach of IEC 61850 is an innovative approach and requires a new way of thinking about substation automation. This will result in significant improvements in the costs and performance of electric power systems.

Substation Design and Automation (or Digitalization of Substation and Data Communications for Substation Automation), including the protocols such as DNP3, IEC 61850, and IEC 60870-5-101/103 as well as the use of LANs/WANs for real-time communication in power distribution systems (both inside substations and between them) will be discussed. IEC 61850 alone is very complex and is a ‘trending topic” in the Power Industry today.

Learning Outcomes

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


  1. Demonstrate and understand the details and functions of Substation Automation

Bloom’s Level 2

  1. Critique the various Substation Automation Structures

Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Identify and analyse the Substation Automation Architectures

Bloom’s Level 4

  1. Apply the characteristics of Asset Management Support

Bloom’s Level 3

  1. Investigate the New Roles for Substation Automation

Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Examine and implement Wide Area Protection

Bloom’s Level 4

  1. Understand, identify and apply IEC 61850

Bloom’s Level 3

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: Substation Designs and Automation basics, structure and architecture.
After Topic 4 20% 1, 2, 3, 4

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: Roles of substation automation
After Topic 8 25% 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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 with WAP and modern substation automation (IEC61850).
After Topic 11 35% 1-7

Assessment 4 - Practical Participation

Type: May be in the form of quizzes, class tests, practical assessments, remote labs, simulation software or case studies

Example: Software packages on IEC61850
After Topic 12 15% 7

Attendance / Tutorial Participation            

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

Continuous 5% 1 - 7


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook(s):

  • K. Brand, V. Lohmann, W. Wimmer, Substation Automation Handbook. Utility Automation Consulting Lohmann, 2003

Reference Materials

  • Protection of Electricity Distribution Networks, Juan M Gers, Edward J Holms, IET (UK) Publications, 3rd Edition, 2011
  • Substation Design - Application Guide, V AYADURAI, 2004
  • AS 2067:2016 Substations and High Voltage Installations exceeding kVa.c.
  • IEC61850 Standard Free Library from Triangle MicroWorks, Inc.
  • IDC / EIT notes and Reference texts as advised.
  • Other material advised during the lectures


Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week.


Topic 1

Functions of Substation Automation

  1. General introduction to SA
  2. Operative functions and process connections
  3. System configuration and maintenance functions
  4. Communication functions

Topic 2

Substation Automation Structures and System Architecture Designs

  1. Station level, bay level and process level
  2. System architecture topologies
  3. Network designs aspects
  4. Functions related to network operations


Topic 3 

Substation Design: Primary

  1. Substation types
  2. Fundamental design requirements
  3. Equipment selections
  4. Installations requirements
  5. Safety measures and considerations


Topic 4

Substation Design: Protection and Control

  1. Protection types (unit and system protections)
  2. Protection requirements
  3. Monitoring and control systems
  4. Earthing systems
  5. Inspection and testing


Topic 5

Substation Communication Technologies

  1. Ethernet (peer-to-peer) communication within substations
  2. TCP/IP and related issues
  3. Wide Area Network (WAN) communication issues


Topic 6

IEC61850 -1

  1. Overview of IEC 61850 concepts
  2. IEC61850 vs. the OSI Model
  3. Scope and outline of IEC61850
  4. IEC61850 substation architecture


Topic 7

IEC61850 - 2

  1. Data modelling approach
  2. Communication profiles
  3. Mapping of IEC61850 to communication profiles
  4. Configuration
  5. Conformance and testing

Topic 8

New Roles for Substation Automation

  1. The impact of deregulation in the power supply industry
  2. The motivation for modernizing substations
  3. The impact of renewable integration
  4. Policies for substation refurbishment
  5. Business-related impact of substation automation


Topic 9

Wide Area Protection -1

  1. The role of Wide Area Protection Systems (WAPS)
  2. Achievements with WAPS on power systems
  3. Power system phenomena and related WAPS solutions
  4. Classification of WAPS

Topic 10             

Wide Area Protection - 2

  1. Specific WAPS implementations
  2. Voltage stability assessment guidelines
  3. On-line VSA execution modes and used guidelines
  4. The implementation of wide area protection

Topic 11

Asset Management Support

  1. Business goals
  2. Maintenance
  3. Power system monitoring
  4. Management of substation automation

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


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: 61850 TestSuite Pro

  • Version: N/A

  • Instructions:  N/A

  • Additional resources or files: N/A


  • N/A