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Power engineering, also called power systems engineering, is a subfield of electrical engineering that deals with the generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization of
electric power Electric power is the rate, per unit time, at which electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been conve ...
, and the electrical apparatus connected to such systems. Although much of the field is concerned with the problems of three-phase AC power – the standard for large-scale power transmission and distribution across the modern world – a significant fraction of the field is concerned with the conversion between
AC and DC power
AC and DC power
and the development of specialized power systems such as those used in aircraft or for electric railway networks. Power engineering draws the majority of its theoretical base from
electrical engineering Electrical engineering is an engineering discipline concerned with the study, design, and application of equipment, devices, and systems which use electricity, electronics The field of electronics is a branch of physics and electrical enginee ...

electrical engineering
.


History


Pioneering years

Electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

Electricity
became a subject of scientific interest in the late 17th century. Over the next two centuries a number of important discoveries were made including the
incandescent light bulb An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an with a wire heated until it glows. The filament is enclosed in a glass bulb with a vacuum or inert gas to protect the filament from . Current is supplied to the ...

incandescent light bulb
and the
voltaic pile –zinc Zinc is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the sa ...

voltaic pile
. Probably the greatest discovery with respect to power engineering came from
Michael Faraday Michael Faraday (; 22 September 1791 – 25 August 1867) was an English scientist A scientist is a person who conducts scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge ...

Michael Faraday
who in 1831 discovered that a change in magnetic flux induces an
electromotive force In electromagnetism Electromagnetism is a branch of physics involving the study of the electromagnetic force, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electric charge, electrically charged particles. The electromagnetic force is c ...
in a loop of wire—a principle known as
electromagnetic induction Electromagnetic or magnetic induction is the production of an electromotive force In electromagnetism and electronics, electromotive force (emf, denoted \mathcal and measured in volts) is the electrical action produced by a non-electrical sour ...

electromagnetic induction
that helps explain how generators and transformers work. In 1881 two electricians built the world's first power station at
Godalming Godalming is a historic market town A market town is a European Human settlement, settlement that obtained by custom or royal charter, in the Middle Ages, the right to host market (place), markets (market right), which distinguished it fr ...
in England. The station employed two waterwheels to produce an alternating current that was used to supply seven Siemens
arc lamp . The two lamps, used for laser pumping, are very different in the shape of the electrodes, in particular, the cathode (on the left). An arc lamp or arc light is a lamp that produces light by an electric arc An electric arc, or arc discharge, i ...
s at 250 volts and thirty-four
incandescent lamp image of the tungsten filament of an incandescent light bulb An incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe is an electric light with a wire #Filament, filament heated until it glows. The filament is enclosed in a gla ...

incandescent lamp
s at 40 volts. However supply was intermittent and in 1882
Thomas Edison Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices in fields such as electric power generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from s ...

Thomas Edison
and his company, The Edison Electric Light Company, developed the first steam-powered electric power station on Pearl Street in New York City. The
Pearl Street Station Pearl Street Station was the first commercial central power plant in the United States. It was located at 255–257 Pearl Street in the Financial District of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City and the urban core of the Ne ...
consisted of several generators and initially powered around 3,000 lamps for 59 customers. The power station used
direct current Direct current (DC) is one-directional flow Flow may refer to: Science and technology * Flow (fluid) or fluid dynamics, the motion of a gas or liquid * Flow (geomorphology), a type of mass wasting or slope movement in geomorphology * Flow (math ...
and operated at a single voltage. Since the direct current power could not be easily transformed to the higher voltages necessary to minimise power loss during transmission, the possible distance between the generators and load was limited to around half-a-mile (800 m). That same year in London
Lucien Gaulard Lucien Gaulard (16 July 1850 – 26 November 1888) invented devices for the transmission of alternating current Alternating current (AC) is an electric current which periodically reverses direction and changes its magnitude continuously with t ...
and
John Dixon Gibbs John Dixon Gibbs (1834–1912) was a British engineer and financier who, together with Lucien Gaulard, is often credited as the co-inventor of the AC step-down transformer. The transformer was first demonstrated in 1883 at London London is ...
demonstrated the first transformer suitable for use in a real power system. The practical value of Gaulard and Gibbs' transformer was demonstrated in 1884 at
Turin Turin ( , Piedmontese Piedmontese (autonym: or , in it, piemontese) is a language spoken by some 700,000 people mostly in Piedmont it, Piemontese , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = ...

Turin
where the transformer was used to light up forty kilometres (25 miles) of railway from a single
alternating current Alternating current (AC) is an electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as electrons or ions, moving through an electrical conductor or space. It is measured as the net rate of flow of electric charge through ...
generator. Despite the success of the system, the pair made some fundamental mistakes. Perhaps the most serious was connecting the primaries of the transformers in
series Series may refer to: People with the name * Caroline Series (born 1951), English mathematician, daughter of George Series * George Series (1920–1995), English physicist Arts, entertainment, and media Music * Series, the ordered sets used i ...

series
so that switching one lamp on or off would affect other lamps further down the line. Following the demonstration
George Westinghouse George Westinghouse Jr. (October 6, 1846 – March 12, 1914) was an American entrepreneur Entrepreneurship is the creation or extraction of value. With this definition, entrepreneurship is viewed as change, generally entailing risk beyond what ...

George Westinghouse
, an American entrepreneur, imported a number of the transformers along with a
Siemens Siemens AG ( ) is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...

Siemens
generator and set his engineers to experimenting with them in the hopes of improving them for use in a commercial power system. One of Westinghouse's engineers, William Stanley, recognised the problem with connecting transformers in series as opposed to
parallel Parallel may refer to: Computing * Parallel algorithm In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their a ...

parallel
and also realised that making the iron core of a transformer a fully enclosed loop would improve the
voltage regulation In electrical engineering, particularly power engineering Power engineering, also called power systems engineering, is a subfield of electrical engineering that deals with the generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization of electric ...
of the secondary winding. Using this knowledge he built the world's first practical transformer based alternating current power system at
Great Barrington, Massachusetts Great Barrington is a New England town, town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,172 at the 2020 census. Both a summer resort and home ...

Great Barrington, Massachusetts
in 1886. In 1885 the Italian physicist and electrical engineer
Galileo Ferraris Galileo Ferraris (31 October 1847 – 7 February 1897) was an Italian university professor, physicist and electrical engineer, one of the pioneers of AC power system and an inventor of the three-phase induction motor upright=1.15, Cutaway vie ...

Galileo Ferraris
demonstrated an
induction motor upright=1.15, Cutaway view through stator of TEFC induction motor, showing rotor with internal air circulation vanes. Many such motors have a symmetric armature, and the frame may be reversed to place the electrical connection box (not shown) on ...
and in 1887 and 1888 the Serbian-American engineer
Nikola Tesla Nikola Tesla ( ; sr-cyr, Никола Тесла, ; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the moder ...

Nikola Tesla
filed a range of patents related to power systems including one for a practical two-phase induction motor which Westinghouse licensed for his AC system. By 1890 the power industry had flourished and power companies had built thousands of power systems (both direct and alternating current) in the United States and Europe – these networks were effectively dedicated to providing electric lighting. During this time a fierce rivalry in the US known as the "
war of the currents The war of the currents was a series of events surrounding the introduction of competing electric power transmission systems in the late 1880s and early 1890s. It grew out of two lighting systems developed in the late 1870s and early 1880s; arc l ...
" emerged between Edison and Westinghouse over which form of transmission (direct or alternating current) was superior. In 1891, Westinghouse installed the first major power system that was designed to drive an electric motor and not just provide electric lighting. The installation powered a synchronous motor at
Telluride, Colorado Telluride is the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United State ...
with the motor being started by a Tesla induction motor. On the other side of the Atlantic,
Oskar von Miller Oskar von Miller (7 May 1855 – 9 April 1934) was a German engineer and founder of the Deutsches Museum The Deutsches Museum (''German Museum'', officially (English: ''German Museum of Masterpieces of Science and Technology'')) in Munich ...

Oskar von Miller
built a 20 kV 176 km three-phase transmission line from
Lauffen am Neckar Lauffen am Neckar () or simply Lauffen is a town in the district of Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is on the river Neckar The Neckar () is a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing toward ...

Lauffen am Neckar
to
Frankfurt am Main Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"; french: Francfort-sur-le-Main), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hess ...

Frankfurt am Main
for the Electrical Engineering Exhibition in Frankfurt. In 1895, after a protracted decision-making process, the Adams No. 1 generating station at
Niagara Falls Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge, spanning the Canada–United States border, border between the Provinces and territories of Canada, province of Ontario in Canada and the U.S. state, state o ...

Niagara Falls
began transmitting three-phase alternating current power to Buffalo at 11 kV. Following completion of the Niagara Falls project, new power systems increasingly chose
alternating current Alternating current (AC) is an electric current An electric current is a stream of charged particles, such as electrons or ions, moving through an electrical conductor or space. It is measured as the net rate of flow of electric charge through ...
as opposed to
direct current Direct current (DC) is one-directional flow Flow may refer to: Science and technology * Flow (fluid) or fluid dynamics, the motion of a gas or liquid * Flow (geomorphology), a type of mass wasting or slope movement in geomorphology * Flow (math ...
for electrical transmission.


Twentieth century


Power engineering and Bolshevism

The generation of electricity was regarded as particularly important following the
Bolshevik seizure of power
Bolshevik seizure of power
.
Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of th ...

Lenin
stated "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country." He was subsequently featured on many Soviet posters, stamps etc. presenting this view. The
GOELRO plan Image:1967 CPA 3553 cancelled.jpg, 300px, Postage stamp (1967) of the painting “Lenin by the GOELRO map” (1957) GOELRO (russian: link=no, ГОЭЛРО) was the first Russian Soviet Republic, Soviet plan for national economic recovery and develop ...
was initiated in 1920 as the first Bolshevik experiment in industrial planning and in which Lenin became personally involved.
Gleb Krzhizhanovsky Gleb Maximilianovich Krzhizhanovsky (russian: Глеб Максимилиа́нович Кржижано́вский) (24 January 1872 – 31 March 1959) was a Soviet Scientist revolutionary, Old Bolshevik and a state figure as well as a geographe ...
was another key figure involved, having been involved in the construction of a power station in
Moscow Moscow ( , American English, US chiefly ; rus, links=no, Москва, r=Moskva, p=mɐˈskva, a=Москва.ogg) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Russia by population, largest city of Russia. The city stands on the ...

Moscow
in 1910. He had also known Lenin since 1897 when they were both in the St. Petersburg chapter of the ''Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class''.


Power engineering in the USA

In 1936 the first commercial
high-voltage direct current A high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) electric power transmission Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived from electric potential energy or kinetic energy. When used loosely, ...
(HVDC) line using
mercury-arc valve A mercury-arc valve or mercury-vapor rectifier or (UK) mercury-arc rectifier is a type of electrical rectifier A rectifier is an electrical device that Electric power conversion, converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses d ...
s was built between
Schenectady Schenectady () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ...
and
Mechanicville, New York Mechanicville is a Administrative divisions of New York#City, city in Saratoga County, New York, Saratoga County, New York (state), New York, United States. The population is 5,196 as of the 2010 census. It is the smallest city by area in the stat ...
. HVDC had previously been achieved by installing direct current generators in series (a system known as the Thury system) although this suffered from serious reliability issues. In 1957
Siemens Siemens AG ( ) is a German multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational state, ...

Siemens
demonstrated the first solid-state rectifier (solid-state rectifiers are now the standard for HVDC systems) however it was not until the early 1970s that this technology was used in commercial power systems. In 1959 Westinghouse demonstrated the first
circuit breaker A circuit breaker is an electrical safety device designed to protect an electrical circuit An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical component An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity ...

circuit breaker
that used SF6 as the interrupting medium. SF6 is a far superior
dielectric In electromagnetism Electromagnetism is a branch of physics involving the study of the electromagnetic force, a type of physical interaction that occurs between electric charge, electrically charged particles. The electromagnetic force i ...

dielectric
to air and, in recent times, its use has been extended to produce far more compact switching equipment (known as
switchgear In an electric power system, switchgear is composed of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment. Switchgear is used both to de-energize equipment to allow work to be ...

switchgear
) and
transformer A transformer is a passive electrical device that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another, or multiple Electrical network, circuits. A varying current in any one coil of the transformer produces a varying magnetic flux ...

transformer
s. Many important developments also came from extending innovations in the
ICT ICT may refer to: Science and technology * Information and communications technology * Image Constraint Token, in video processing * Immunochromatographic test, a rapid immunoassay used to detect diseases such as anthrax * In-circuit test, in el ...
field to the power engineering field. For example, the development of computers meant load flow studies could be run more efficiently allowing for much better planning of power systems. Advances in information technology and telecommunication also allowed for much better remote control of the power system's switchgear and generators.


Power

Power Engineering deals with the
generation A generation is "all of the people born and living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not ex ...
,
transmission Transmission may refer to: Science and technology * Power transmissionPower transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to perform useful Mechanical work, work. Power (physics), Power is d ...

transmission
,
distributionDistribution may refer to: Mathematics *Distribution (mathematics) Distributions, also known as Schwartz distributions or generalized functions, are objects that generalize the classical notion of functions in mathematical analysis. Distr ...
and utilization of
electricity Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electricity
as well as the design of a range of related devices. These include
transformer A transformer is a passive electrical device that transfers electrical energy from one electrical circuit to another, or multiple Electrical network, circuits. A varying current in any one coil of the transformer produces a varying magnetic flux ...

transformer
s,
electric generator In electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage prior to its Electricity delivery, delive ...
s,
electric motor
electric motor
s and
power electronics Power electronics is the application of to the control and conversion of electric power. The first high power electronic devices were made using s. In modern systems, the conversion is performed with switching devices such as s, s, and s s ...
. Power engineers may also work on systems that do not connect to the grid. These systems are called off-grid power systems and may be used in preference to on-grid systems for a variety of reasons. For example, in remote locations it may be cheaper for a mine to generate its own power rather than pay for connection to the grid and in most mobile applications connection to the grid is simply not practical.


Fields

Electricity generation Electricity generation is the process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy. For electric utility, utilities in the electric power industry, it is the stage prior to its Electricity delivery, delivery (Electric power transmiss ...
covers the selection, design and construction of facilities that convert energy from primary forms to electric power.
Electric power transmission Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy Electrical energy is energy derived as a result of movement of electrically charged particles. When used loosely, ''electrical energy'' refers to energy that has been convert ...

Electric power transmission
requires the engineering of high voltage transmission lines and substation facilities to interface to generation and distribution systems.
High voltage direct current A high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) electric power transmission Electric power transmission is the bulk movement of electrical energy from a power generation, generating site, such as a power plant, to an electrical substation. The interconne ...
systems are one of the elements of an electric power grid.
Electric power distribution Electric power distribution is the final stage in the delivery Delivery may refer to: *Delivery (commerce), of goods, e.g.: **Pizza delivery **Milk delivery Film and television *Delivering (film), ''Delivering'' (film), a 1993 short film by Todd ...
engineering covers those elements of a power system from a substation to the end customer.
Power system protectionPower system protection is a branch of electrical power engineering Power engineering, also called power systems engineering, is a subfield of electrical engineering that deals with the generation, transmission, distribution, and utilization of ...
is the study of the ways an electrical power system can fail, and the methods to detect and mitigate for such failures. In most projects, a power engineer must coordinate with many other disciplines such as civil and mechanical engineers, environmental experts, and legal and financial personnel. Major power system projects such as a large generating station may require scores of design professionals in addition to the power system engineers. At most levels of professional power system engineering practice, the engineer will require as much in the way of administrative and organizational skills as electrical engineering knowledge.


Professional societies and international standards organizations

In both the UK and the US, professional societies had long existed for civil and mechanical engineers. The IEE was founded in the UK in 1871, and the AIEE in the United States in 1884. These societies contributed to the exchange of electrical knowledge and the development of electrical engineering education. On an international level, the
International Electrotechnical Commission The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC; in French: ''Commission électrotechnique internationale'') is an international standards organization A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or s ...
, which was founded in 1906, prepares standards for power engineering, with 20,000 electrotechnical experts from 172 countries developing global specifications based on consensus.


See also

*
Energy economics Energy economics is a broad scientific subject area which includes topics related to supply and use of energy in societies. Due to diversity of issues and methods applied and shared with a number of academic disciplines, energy economics doe ...
*
Power electronics Power electronics is the application of to the control and conversion of electric power. The first high power electronic devices were made using s. In modern systems, the conversion is performed with switching devices such as s, s, and s s ...
* Power system simulation


References


External links


IEEE Power Engineering Society

Jadavpur University, Department of Power Engineering

Power Engineering International Magazine Articles

Power Engineering Magazine Articles

American Society of Power Engineers, Inc.

National Institute for the Uniform Licensing of Power Engineer Inc.


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