MSc Renewable Energy and Clean Technology

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Smart Grids & Sustainable Electricity Systems

Course unit fact file
Unit code EEEN60352
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Available as a free choice unit? No



1. Introduction to Smart Grids

  • Definition of smart grid and its main features
  • Drivers for smarter grids and the energy trilemma/quadrilemma
  • Conventional power system and smart grid

2. Integration of low-carbon technologies

  • Revision of the main definitions and concepts of: power system planning and long-term security; energy market; short-term security; power system operation and traditional UC, ED and OPF formulations
  • Introduction to low-carbon technologies
  • Impact of low-carbon technologies on the long-term and short-term security
  • Impact of low-carbon technologies on the energy market
  • Impact of low-carbon technologies on power system operation

3. Decarbonisation of heat and transport

  • Electrification of heating and heat pumps
  • Electrification of transport and electric vehicles
  • Modelling of low-carbon technologies through efficiencies and emission factors

4. Flexibility in low carbon electricity systems

  • Definition of flexibility, its sources and potential benefits
  • Flexibility in the supply side and relevant generator parameters
  • Demand-side management and its potential benefits
  • Residential flexible loads and a possible categorisation

5. Introduction to Electric Distribution Networks

  • Main concepts of distribution system and network, in particular the current UK distribution networks
  • Network overhead lines, cables and configurations
  • Load profiles and load characteristics
  • Low voltage network design and voltage regulation
  • Voltage drop calculation and examples

6. Low-carbon technologies – technical aspects and their impacts

  • PV impacts and challenges: PV components, grid or off grid connections, PV generation profiles, impact of small PV systems
  • EV impact and challenges: EVs, specifications and demand, EV changing methods and their impact on distribution networks
  • Other low-carbon technologies and challenges (storage and heat pump technologies)

7. Integration of low-carbon technologies and methods

  • Technical issue and challenges for integration of DGs into the distribution networks
  • Smart metering
  • Demand site management technologies for improving LV network operation
  • Advanced Distribution Management System – off line control
  • Active Network Management technologies – real time control
  • Role of ICT technologies



This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 2020/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates.

The unit aims to:

  • Describe and analyse the main concepts behind smart grids and low-carbon networks, two prominent changes in power systems.
  • Allow students to understand and assess the impacts of low-carbon technologies and new loads (e.g., electric vehicles and heat pumps) on the power system.
  • Explain environmental concerns as well as the technical, economic and social (the energy quadrilemma).

Learning outcomes


On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:




Describe what is meant by smart grids and explain the drivers and challenges of low carbon technologies*




Model a variety of distribution systems with varying levels of generation/demand flexibility and low carbon technologies*




Evaluate the technical, environmental, and economic impact of flexibility and low carbon technologies*




Use a power system analysis software




Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Written examination

Four questions, answer all questions

Duration: 3 hours

Calculators are permitted

This examination forms 80% of the unit assessment

Course Work- Laboratories

Coursework Report - 10 pages.

Feedback is provided online through Blackboard.

This course work forms 20% of the unit assessment

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 30
Practical classes & workshops 6
Tutorials 6
Independent study hours
Independent study 108

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Haiyu Li Unit coordinator
Alessandra Parisio Unit coordinator

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