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2006-01 Understanding and managing power system blackouts - from stability fundamentals to preventive and curative control
March 27-29, 2006


Nowadays, power systems are operating with lower and lower security margins. This is due to the prioritization of the electricity market deregulation, the load consumption increase, the difficulties to build new facilities such as transmission lines and large power plants, etc. Consequently, the vulnerability of power systems becomes a very important issue and the probability of large blackout tends to increase, as confirmed by the various incidents experienced in 2003. Therefore, mastering the knowledge of different topics related to blackout inception and power system instability has become essential for researchers and engineers involved in power system planning, operation and control.
The aim of this course is to focus on mechanisms of blackouts, instability phenomena, modeling and analysis tools, preventive and curative measures, and finally service restoration. More precisely, it will cover the following topics.

Phenomena and instability mechanisms
Typical system degradation scenarios (faults, protection failure, cascade tripping of overloaded lines, instability). Instability modes (angular, frequency, voltage). Instability mechanisms and countermeasures explained using simple examples (P-? curves, equal area criterion, governor control, spinning reserve, maximum load power, generator limits, P-V curves). Description and analysis of recent experienced blackouts (lessons learnt, needs and trends).

System-wide monitoring
Wide area monitoring and control. Information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance control and protection. Visualization tools. Large-scale monitoring of operating states,…

Real-time security assessment
Preventive assessment of security margins with respect to angle and voltage instability. State-of-the-art analysis methods for day-ahead and real-time security assessment. Congestion management. Examples from real implementations. New trends.

Emergency control
System protection schemes and defence plans for curative control against large disturbances. Design principles. Generation shedding, underfrequency and undervoltage load shedding. Examples.

System restoration
Overview of main strategies, load pick-up, black start capabilities, design of restoration plans, real-time considerations. Examples.



Prof. Dr. Rachid Cherkaoui (

Rachid Cherkaoui received the M.S. degree in electrical engineering and the Ph.D. degree from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, in 1983 and 1992 respectively. From 1983 to 1987, he worked at Entreprises Electriques Fribourgeoises (Swiss electrical utility) developing a state estimator and security analysis tools for the HV transmission system of that company. From 1987 to 1992, he joined the power system laboratory of EPFL where he achieved his Ph.D. thesis in the field of optimal operation topologies for distribution systems. In this respect, he was the recipient of the ABB Swiss Award’83. Since 1983, he is leading the research activities in the field of optimization and simulation techniques applied to electrical power and distribution systems. Presently his main research topics are electricity market deregulation, distributed generation and storage, and, power system vulnerability mitigation. He is member of IEEE, member of technical program committees of various conferences, member of CIGRE task forces C5-2, and IEEE Swiss Chapter officer since 2005. He serves regularly as reviewer for different journals and conferences. Dr. Cherkaoui is the author or co-author of more than 40 scientific publications. At EPFL, he is lecturing two Master courses respectively on power system dynamics and on electricity market deregulation and co-lecturing one doctoral course on transient and dynamic phenomena in power systems. He is also Exchange Students Coordinator for the electrical and electronic engineering school of EPFL.


Prof. Dr. Thierry Van Cutsem (

Thierry Van Cutsem graduated in Electrical-Mechanical Engineering from the University of Liège, where he obtained the Ph.D. degree in 1984 and is now adjunct professor. Since 1980 he has been with the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS), of which he is now a Research Director. His research interests are in power system dynamics, stability, security, simulation, optimization and real-time control. His main recent contributions are in the field of voltage stability and security. He is closely collaborating on these topics with several Transmission System Operators: RTE (France), Hydro-Québec (Canada), ELIA (Belgium), HTSO (Greece) and several industrial partners (AREVA, Suez Tractebel). He has co-authored around 120 publications as well as the book “Voltage Stability of Electric Power Systems”, Kluwer (Springer), 1998. He has been an active member of several IEEE and CIGRE working groups. He acts presently as Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Power Systems. He has been in the scientific committee of several international conferences such as PSCC, IEEE Power Tech, etc. At the University of Liège, he teaches courses on Electric Power Systems. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and a recipient of the Blondel Medal from SEE (France).




Göran Andersson
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)

Janusz W. Bialek
University of Edinburgh

Rachid Cherkaoui
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPF)

Tatjana Kostic

Alberto Borghetti
University of Bologna

Mania Pavella
University of Liège

Thierry Van Cutsem
University of Liège and FNRS

Costas Vournas
National Technical University of Athens


Course duration and location

Three days, from Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 of March 2006.
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Courses Contents

Monday, March 27

Overview of blackout concerns and course introduction (R. Cherkaoui)

Revisiting phenomena and instability mechanisms (T. Van Cutsem)

Review of recent blackouts, causes and lessons learnt (J. Bialek)

Tuesday, March 28

A comprehensive approach to transient stability control (M. Pavella)

Assessing security margins with respect to voltage instability (C. Vournas, T. Van Cutsem)


Wednesday, March 29

Counteracting voltage instability (T. Van Cutsem, C. Vournas)

Wide-Area Monitoring and Control - A Means to Avoid Blackouts in Power Systems (G. Andersson)

System restoration and black start capabilities (A. Borghetti)

System Restoration: Operators Perspective and Supporting Tools (T. Kostic)


Course fees

The course fees include lectures, documentation, coffee breaks and lunches

Members of the EES-UETP: 525 EUR
University non members of the EES-UETP: 900 EUR
Industry non members of the EES-UETP: 1500 EUR

The Course Secretariat will send an invoice to each registered participant, after the reception of the filled Registration Form.

Registration form

To register to the EES-UETP course, please download the form below, fill it up, and mail, fax, or e-mail a copy before March 1st to:

Mrs. Andrée Moinat
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
ELL 116 (Bâtiment ELL)
Station 11
CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Phone: +41-21-693 26 61
Fax: +41-21-693 46 62

Download Course Brochure and Registration form


Special Prices have been arranged.
Please contact directly the hotel:

Agora, Av. Rond-Point 9, CH-1006 Lausanne, Switzerland
Phone: +41 21 617 12 11
Fax: +41 21 616 26 05

The price for a single-room with breakfast ranges from 100 to 200 EUR. Taxes are included. Room reservations must be made by March 1 st. Please mention “EES-UETP”. Reservation requests after that date will be based on space and rate availability.


Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Power Systems Laboratory
EPFL STI ISE LRE, ELL 116 (Bâtiment ELL)
Station 11, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Phone: +41-21-693 26 61
Fax: +41-21-693 46 62

Course Coordinator:
Phone: +41 -21-693 20 58
Fax: +41-21-693 46 62