University of Minnesota
Institute of Technology
myU OneStop


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Power Basics for Harnessing Energy from Renewables (Wind and PV)

Prof. Ned Mohan
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Duration:  ½ day (3.5 hours)

Course description:
This 1/2-day tutorial will present the basic concepts in understanding how electricity is generated by wind turbines and photovoltaic arrays, and supplied to the utility grid. This includes basics of power systems and power electronics, as well as of electric drives required in wind turbines. The interface between the source (wind turbines or PV arrays) and the grid needs to be controlled such as the overall system operates at the maximum power point under varying input conditions. In addition to providing the big picture, the following topics outlined below will be covered:

1.    Power Systems Basics:
    Use of Phasors
    Real and Reactive Power, Power Factor
    Three-Phase Circuits
2.    Power Electronics:
    Basic principle of operation
    Frequency Control
    Control of Real and Reactive Power
3.    Electric Drives:
    PMAC Generators
    Squirrel-cage Induction Generators
    Doubly-Fed Induction Generators

Intended audience and assumed background:
This tutorial is intended for any electrical engineer who would like to understand the basics in designing the interface between the renewable sources (such wind and photovoltaics) and the utility grid. It is at a very basic level and thus any electrical engineer should be able to follow this tutorial.

Biographical sketch of the instructor:
Ned Mohan joined the at the University of Minnesota in 1975, where he is Oscar A. Schott Professor of Power Electronic Systems. He received his undergraduate education in India. He came to the University of Wisconsin in 1969 and earned his Masters in Nuclear Engineering, and PhD in electrical engineering under the supervision of Prof. Harold Peterson.

He has written 5 textbooks; one of them is translated into Chinese, Greek, Italian, Korean, Turkish and Spanish.  He has several U.S. Patents and has supervised nearly 100 graduate students, 27 of them PhDs. He maintains a strong research program that at present consists of 11 PhD students, 5 of them females.  He is a Morse-Alumni Distinguished Professor and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers at the University of Minnesota.  He received the Outstanding Educator Award from the Power and Energy Society of the IEEE in 2008, and  the 2010 IEEE Undergraduate Teaching Award.  Ned Mohan is a Fellow of the IEEE.