General Meeting Highlights

November 13 – 15, 2019

The Center for Advanced Power Engineering and Research (CAPER) is a collaboration among three universities and industry members focusing on research and educational needs in the electric power industry in the southeast region of the US. The Industry Advisory Board (IAB), composed of industry members, meets twice per year with CAPER researchers and students to present current industry topics, update sponsored projects and take part in discussions about the Center’s research and education activities.


We wish to thank Dr. Mike Mazzola, CAPER Center Director at UNC Charlotte, for hosting the 3-day meeting. Special thanks go to Shannon Jenkins for all the many arrangements that were required for this meeting. We also wish to thank our Industry Members, Faculty and students for participating in the tutorial.



The meeting took place at the EPRI offices in Charlotte, NC.



For the Wednesday Tutorial – 6 Industry, 5 Faculty, 20 students.

For the General Meeting – 35 Industry, 21 Faculty and 34 Students.


Wednesday November 14, 2019 Workshop – The Challenges of Existing Protection Systems with Regards to Decreased Fault Current as well as Lack of Asymmetrical Currents in Systems with Inverter-based Resources – by Ritwik Chowdhury, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL)


Hosted by SEL this ½ workshop was open at no charge to faculty, students and industry. Mr Chowdhury presented a background on current system protection technologies and what aspects traditional power systems provide in various protection schemes. He went on to explain how decreased current levels and lack of negative sequence currents can result in relay mis-operations. SEL is working on protective schemes to overcome these challenges in systems with inverter-based resources. At the conclusion of the tutorial, the group toured the research activities EPRI has underway at the two locations.


Day One:

The meeting started at 8:00 am with a Welcome and Introductions by CAPER Steering Committee Chair Steve Whisenant.


Keynote Address – Past, Present and Future of System Protection by David Costello, SEL.


This address began with a video showing the immense energy expelled when a high voltgage line fell into a distribution line and burned for 1 minute and 24 seconds. David stated that while we may be living in a digital world; the world of electric power contains huge amounts of energy that must be transmitted and controlled. New technologies must be developed to operate in the present of distributed resources.


Session I – New Technologies in System Protection led by Mike Mazzola, CAPER Center Director


The first presentation by Mehmet Cintuglu, ABB was titled “Microgrid Protection in a Distributed Environment”


Next, Ander Smit, Siemens, shared with us “Deployment of New Technologies and Challenges Surrounding Communications.” Currently only fiber and cellular are the only type communications that provide the necessary security and requirements for relay protection in a distributed environment.


Session I continued after a break with Richard Kirby of SEL speaking on “Significant Shift in Transmission Line Protection Location, and Fault Prevention” followed by Taylor Raffield, Duke Energy, sharing the “Application of the New SEL T400L Relay.” The session concluded with a presentation by Ryan Kennedy of Atom Power on “Solid-State Circuit Breakers-A Unified Platform for Power Distribution.”


Session II – CAPER Sponsored Sr Design Project – Initial led by Steven Whisenant, Duke Energy


CAPER is once again sponsoring Senior Design Projects at all three Universities.  Alek Vukojevic, Duke Energy, is serving as Industry Advisor for all three Teams. All Teams started their projects in August, and this was their first opportunity to present their work. Each Team did an outstanding job in presenting the results of their first semester work. NC State and Clemson are designing a substation inspection robot and UNC Charlotte is designing a mini DVAR that is capable of mitigating distribution circuit voltage sag, voltage flicker and solar intermittency.


Session III – Protection Issues in a Distributed Environment led by Mike Mazzola, UNC Charlotte


Jim O’Brien of Duke Energy began the session with a presentation on “IEEE PSRC WG C32 Protection Challenges and Practices for Interconnecting Solar or Other Inverter-based Generation to Utility Transmission Systems.”


Next Sukumar Brahma, Clemson University, presented “IEEE PSRC WG C24 Modification of Commercial Fault Calculation Programs for Wind Turbine Generators and Detecting Mis-operations in a Distributed Environment.”


Alek Vukojevic, Duke Energy closed the session with a presentation on “Challenges with Inverter-based Generator Interconnections.”


Session IV Future of System Protection led by Steven Whisenant, Duke Energy

In this closing session, Sakis Meliopoulos of Ga Tech presented a summary of an IEEE Working Group report titled “IEEE PES PSRC WG K15 Centralized Substation Protection and Control.”


A Reception and Lab Demos took place at EPIC on UNC Charlotte campus.


Day Two:

The meeting started at 8:00 am with highlights of day one and objectives for the day by CAPER Steering Committee Chair, Steve Whisenant.


Session V – CAPER Project Updates led by Mike Mazzola, Center Director  


Base projects covered first:


PD-04: Development and Demonstration for a Power Electronics Assisted Distribution Voltage Regulator,

Co-Presenters: Yafeng Wang (UNCC) and Keith Dsouza (NC State)


DM-02: Identification and Mitigation of Coordinated Attacks on Distributed Energy Management

Co-Presenters:  Aranya Chakrabortty (NCSU), Mohammad Rahman (Florida Int’l University) and Logan Carlson (UNCC)


PG-01: Distributed Energy Storage and EV Holding Capacity with Value Proposition Development

Co-Presenters: Valentina Cecchi (UNCC), Timothy Moss (CU) and Roozbeh Karandeh (UNCC)


Enhancement Projects:


EHP-02-PG:  Development and Demonstration of a 40 kW Photovoltaic Synchronous Generator (PVSG) was presented by Ramtin Hadidi of Clemson


EHP-04-PG: Smart Battery Gauge

Co-Presenters: Mo-Yuen Chow and Bharat Balagopal (NCSU)


EHP-05-PD: Fundamentals Course

Update provided by Ramtin Hadidi of Clemson


EHP-06-PD: Workshop on Distribution Power Flows

Provided by Valentina Cecchi, UNC Charlotte


Session VI 2020 Research Planning Session led by Steven Whisenant, Duke Energy


The 2020 Research Planning Session was broken into five breakout groups with each one covering a different research theme.


Group 1: Power Delivery Infrastructure and Systems led by Drew Clarke, Duke Energy

Group 2: Energy Policy, Markets and Economics led by Mesut Baran, NC State

Group 3: Data Management, Analytics and Security led by Klaehn Burkes, SRNL

Group 4: Power Generation, Storage and Integration led by Johan Enslin, Clemson

Group 5: Power Utilization and Energy Efficiency led by Ning Lu, NC State


After the Breakout Reports, the Research Solicitation Process – Notice of Intent was covered by Steven Whisenant. New Proposals will be accepted no later the February 28, 2020.


Future meetings:

  1. Spring 2020 General Meeting – March 23-24, 2020 in Charleston, SC hosted by Clemson
  2. Summer Course: Power System Analysis with Distributed Generation May 10 in Charleston, SC and July 13 in Raleigh, NC
  3. Fall 2020 General Meeting – tbd in Raleigh, NC hosted by NC State
  4. Spring 2021 General Meeting – tbd in Charlotte, NC hosted by UNC Charlotte
  5. Fall 2021 General meeting – tbd hosted by Clemson

Meeting adjourned.


Closed Meeting – IAB Members Only Meeting – open to all attendees of companies that are Industry Members of CAPER


Project Review Meeting– PG-01 Distributed Energy Storage and EV Holding Capacity Project Review

Meeting open to all Industry Advisors, students and faculty assigned to project


Presentations and Project Updates can be found by visiting on the Members Only area of the website.