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USING SIMULATORS AND PROGRAMMING SOFTWARE TO EASE STUDENTS THE UNDERSTANDING OF POWER SYSTEM ANALYSIS

R. Domínguez Martín, R. Zárate Miñano, M. Carrión Ruiz Peinado

Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha (SPAIN)
The complexity in the operation of realistic power systems makes necessary the use of computational tools for the analysis of the reliability of the system. Electrical engineers must be able to develop these computational tools and use them for the planning and operation of such systems. On the basis of active teaching methodologies, this paper proposes two practical activities in which the students elaborate their own programming code to solve two basic problems related to power system operations, namely the power flow problem and the fault analysis. The power flow problem constitutes the initial step in the understanding of the operation of power systems. The first activity enables students to comprehend the electrical and mathematical concepts of this problem. Together with the implementation of iterative algorithms in a programming software to solve the power flow problem, this first activity includes the use of a commercial power systems simulator. The use of the commercial simulator increases the autonomy of the students in the implementation of the mathematical algorithm since the simulator allows them to know the actual solution of the problem in advance. Once this activity is accomplished, the students should be able to carry out the activity related to the fault analysis. In this second activity, students have to implement different fault analysis procedures (e.g., Thévenin method and matrix method) and compare the results obtained with the results given by the commercial simulator. The proposed activities are intended to provide two different features to the students: first, better understanding of the operation of realistic power systems, which is very important for electrical engineers; and second, the writing of their own codes to solve this kind of problems encourages students to develop programming skills.