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Energy Programs

Overview

Wind EnergyTo break the nation’s heavy dependence on carbon-based fuel, efforts are underway to significantly increase the use of renewable energy sources (e.g., solar and wind). The potential widespread use of renewable resources represents a major paradigm shift for the electric power industry (i.e., centralized power generation substantially augmented by distributed generation). It is widely recognized by both the electric utilities and governmental policy makers that this paradigm shift requires that the current power grid be revised considerably to be smarter (e.g., integrated communications, advanced components/sensors, novel control methods, etc.). Given the situation described above, the demand for engineers with knowledge in energy-related areas is on the rise. For example, power companies are searching for new employees who can help them integrate renewable forms of energy into the grid; furthermore, power companies are searching for ways to enhance the energy-related skill set of their existing employees.

To address the above issues, the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has developed three certificate programs. The Renewable Energy certificate program and a Power Systems Engineering certificate program each include three undergraduate level ECE courses, which are available online as well as being taught on campus. These programs were developed to allow industrial personnel to broaden their knowledge in renewable energy generation and/or power systems engineering. These programs are also open to qualified Clemson students. Undergraduates at other institutions will also be considered for entry into the above two certificate programs. These students may also be able to use these courses to satisfy requirements at their home institution, subject, of course, to the approval of the home institution.

In addition to the certificate programs that involve undergraduate courses, the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has developed a graduate certificate program for post baccalaureate engineers seeking to understand the complex, highly dynamic phenomenon present in a modern power system. For example, a major disturbance in an electrical distribution system may cause a major blackout and loss of power over a wide area. Recent blackouts around the world led the power engineering community to develop new, innovative methods for wide area monitoring, protection and control, wireless communication, and smart grid systems. Discussions with leaders in the power industry and academia indicate that many power engineers do not have the necessary background to tackle these challenging problems related to modern power systems. To address this need, the Advanced Power Systems Engineering certificate program provides power engineers with an opportunity to attack more sophisticated problems associated with power systems protection, dynamics/stability, transients, and distribution.

The 3000- and 4000-level certificate courses are one mode of offering the BSEE program at Clemson, which is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. The certificate courses can be used to help satisfy the continuing education requirements for Registered Professional Engineers in many states.

Each of the three certificate programs are described below, and links to instructions on how to apply are provided.

Renewable Energy Certificate Program

Solar PanelsThe renewable energy certificate program consists of three classes in the areas of solar power, wind power, and grid penetration as described below. This certificate program is intended for students who already possess a basic knowledge of DC and AC circuit theory (i.e., Kirchhoff's Laws, complex frequency, and Laplace transforms). A prerequisite for entering this program is a BS degree in an engineering field or physics. There are also course-specific prerequisites and corequisites for each course as shown below. However, applications from persons who have not satisfied the degree requirements and/or the prerequisite/corequisite requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the ECE Variance Committee. A grade of C or better is required for all courses used to satisfy requirements of this certificate program.

ECE 4200 Renewable Energy Penetration on the Power Grid 3(3,0) - Introduces the basic definitions of electrical power, interfacing primary sources, generator/load characteristics, and renewable energy resources. Topics include solar energy grid interfacing, wind energy grid interfacing, battery charging/management, harmonic distortion, voltage sags, and national standards. Preq: ECE 2070 – Basic Electrical Engineering or ECE 3200 – Electronics I with a C or better.

ECE 4570 Fundamentals of Wind Power 3(3,0) – Introduces wind turbine systems including wind energy potential and application to power generation. Topics include wind energy principles, wind site assessment, wind turbine components, power generation machinery control systems, connection to the electric grid, and maintenance. May also be offered as ME 4570. Preq: ECE 2070 – Basic Electrical Engineering or ECE 3200 – Electronics I with a C or better.

ECE 4610 Fundamentals of Solar Energy 3(3,0) – Introduces solar energy conversion systems. Topics include environmental benefits of solar energy, solar thermal systems, concentration solar power, photovoltaic (PV) cell design and manufacturing, sizing of PV system, hybrid photovoltaic/thermal systems, energy storage, and urban/rural applications. Preq: ECE 3200 – Electronics I with a C or better.

In order to take ECE 3200 - Electronics I, which is the prerequisite for ECE 4610 and which can serve as the prerequisite for ECE 4200 and 4570, students must have completed the following courses:

  • ECE 2620 - Electric Circuits II
  • MATH 2080 - Introduction to Ordinary Differential Equations
  • PHYS 2210 - Physics with Calculus II

If you are not already a Clemson student, we need to perform an evaluation of your background to make sure that you are suitably prepared to take the certificate courses involved before you formally apply for this program. Please send a transcript showing completion of the above three courses (or their equivalents) and any other supporting evidence that you have the necessary background for this program. Please send this information via email to Ms. Patty McNulty, ECE Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator, pmcnult@clemson.edu. After our evaluation, if we believe your background is adequate, we will invite you to formally apply for the program, using one of the links below.

How to apply if you are not a student (at Clemson or elsewhere).

How to apply if you are a Clemson student.

How to apply if you are a student at a university other than Clemson.

Power Systems Engineering Certificate Program

PowerThe power systems energy certificate program consists of three classes in the areas of power engineering, power systems analysis, and electric machines as described below. This certificate program is intended for students who already possess a basic knowledge of DC and AC circuit theory (i.e., Kirchhoff's Laws, complex frequency, and Laplace transforms). A prerequisite for entering this program is a BS degree in an engineering field or physics. There are also course-specific prerequisites and corequisites for each course as shown below. However, applications from persons who have not satisfied the degree requirements and/or the prerequisite/corequisite requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the ECE Variance Committee. A grade of C or better is required for all courses used to satisfy requirements of this certificate program.

ECE 3600 Electric Power Engineering 3(3,0) - Presents the basic principles of electromagnetic induction and electromagnetic forces developed. Topics include synchronous machines, power transformers, electric power transmission, and distribution systems, DC motors, and induction motors. Preq: ECE 2620 – Electric Circuits II and PHYS 2210 – Physics with Calculus II, each with a C or better.

ECE 4180 Power System Analysis 3(3,0) - Study of power system planning and operational problems. Topics include load flow, economic dispatch, fault studies, transient stability, and control of problems. System modeling and computer solutions are emphasized through class projects. Preq: ECE 3600 – Electric Power Engineering and ECE 3800 – Electromagnetics, each with a C or better.

ECE 4190 Electric Machines and Drives 3(3,0) - Performance, characteristics, and modeling of AC and DC machines during steady-state and transient conditions. Introduction to power electronics devices and their use in adjustable speed motor drives. Preq: ECE 3210 – Electronics II and ECE 3600 – Electric Power Engineering and ECE 3800 – Electromagnetics, each with a C or better. Preq or concurrent enrollment: MATH 4340 – Advanced Engineering Mathematics with a C or better.

Note that students normally take ECE 3600 as their first course in this certificate program. In this case, the following courses are needed to take the certificate courses:

  • ECE 2620 - Electric Circuits II
  • PHYS 2210 - Physics with Calculus II
  • ECE 3800 - Electromagnetics
  • ECE 3210 - Electronics II
  • MATH 4340 - Advanced Engineering Mathematics

Also note that ECE 3600 is generally required to be taken at Clemson for the Power Systems Engineering Certificate, even if the student has taken a power course elsewhere.

If you are not already a Clemson student, we need to perform an evaluation of your background to make sure that you are suitably prepared to take the certificate courses involved before you formally apply for this program. Please send a transcript showing completion of the above five courses (or their equivalents) and any other supporting evidence that you have the necessary background for this program. Please send this information via email to Ms. Patty McNulty, ECE Undergraduate Student Services Coordinator, pmcnult@clemson.edu. After our evaluation, if we believe your background is adequate, we will invite you to formally apply for the program, using one of the links below. 

How to apply if you are not a student (at Clemson or elsewhere). 

How to apply if you are a Clemson student. 

How to apply if you are a student at a university other than Clemson.

Advanced Power Systems Engineering Certificate Program (Graduate Certificate Program)

Power To earn the Advanced Power Systems Engineering certificate, a student must successfully complete four of five classes in the areas of power systems protection, dynamics/stability, transients, and distribution as described below. This certificate program is intended for students who already possess a working knowledge of modern power systems. A prerequisite for entering this program is a BS degree in Electrical Engineering. There are also course-specific prerequisites and corequisites for each course as shown below.

ECE 8160 Electric Power Distribution System Engineering 3(3,0) - Radial circuit analysis techniques, feeder and transformer modeling, load modeling, loss minimalization and voltage control, causes of power quality problems, motor starting analysis, strategies for analyzing impacts of disturbances. Students are expected to have completed a course comparable to ECE 4180 – Power System Analysis before enrolling in this course.

ECE 8170 Power System Transients 3(3,0) - Electrical transients in power systems; frequency domain and time domain techniques for power systems transient analysis; capacitor switching, load switching, fault-induced transients, line reclosing and single pole switching. Students are expected to have completed a course comparable to ECE 4180 – Power System Analysis before enrolling in this course.

ECE 8240 Power System Protection 3(3,0) - Coordination of power system protection components including microprocessor based relay-adaptive protection of power system, power system disturbance identification and system restoration following a major disturbance. Students are expected to have completed a course comparable to ECE 4180 – Power System Analysis before enrolling in this course; and are expected to have completed or be concurrently enrolled in a course comparable to MATH 4340 – Advanced Engineering Mathematics when enrolling in this course.

ECE 8620 Real Time Computer Application in Power Systems 3(3,0) - Principles of monitoring, control and operation of power systems; load frequency control, on-line load flow, power system state estimation, unit commitment and load forecasting. Students are expected to have completed a course comparable to ECE 4180 – Power System Analysis before enrolling in this course.

ECE 8630 Power System Dynamics and Stability 3(3,0) - Modeling of synchronous machines and their control systems; power system stability for small and large disturbances; excitation systems, governor control, power system stabilizers and state variables formulation for power systems dynamic stability studies. Students are expected to have completed courses comparable to ECE 4180 – Power System Analysis and ECE 4190 – Electric Machines and Drives before enrolling in this course.

Before you formally apply for entry into this program, we need to perform an evaluation of your background to make sure that you are suitably prepared to take the certificate courses involved. Please send a transcript showing completion of a BS degree in Electrical Engineering and any other supporting evidence that you have the necessary background for this program. Please send this information via email to Dr. Harlan Russell, ECE Graduate Program Coordinator, hrussel@clemson.edu. After our evaluation, if we believe your background is adequate, we will invite you to formally apply for the program, using one of the links below. 

How to apply if you are not a Clemson student.

How to apply if you are a Clemson student.