Electrical Energy Management, GEP 474, Fall 2018

Instructor Daniel Soto
Location Environmental Technology Center (ETC)
Meeting Time MW 10:00 - 11:50 pm
Units 4
Office Stevenson 3016E
Email sotod@sonoma.edu

Office Hours

Signup is online and can be accessed through my website at danielrsoto.com

Please meet with me during office hours for any grade checks or other issues that require individual attention.

When you send email, please put [GEP 474] in your subject line. This helps me identify and respond to student emails more quickly.

Course Catalog Description

An overview of energy management approaches in residential and commercial settings that involve electrical devices, including lighting, motors, and HVAC. Fundamentals of electricity, electric power delivery, and the workings of common appliances; energy economics.

Course-level Learning Objectives

  • Understand and apply principles of electricity
  • Exposure to existing electricity infrastructure
  • Calculate cost and energy impacts of electrical efficiency measures

Class Organization and Schedule

We will begin with the basics of electrical theory and investment theory, giving us a foundation for estimating circuit behavior and the financial costs of technologies. We will then cover practical aspects of utilities and the way we sell electricity. We'll next cover AC and three-phase electricity and safety. We cover the main loads that electricity power which are lighting and motors. We will cover both theory and practical aspects of each of these. The course will end with optional topics that will include smart grid technology and climate impacts of electricity.

Course Schedule

  • Mon 20 Aug - Wed 29 Aug (Class 1 - 4) Concepts
  • Wed 29 Aug - Wed 19 Sep (Class 4 - 9) Circuit Models
  • Mon 24 Sep - Wed 26 Sep (Class 10 - 11) Midterm 1
  • Mon 01 Oct - Wed 03 Oct (Class 12 - 13) Light and Lighting
  • Mon 08 Oct - Mon 15 Oct (Class 14 - 16) Motors
  • Wed 17 Oct - Wed 24 Oct (Class 17 - 19) Computational Techniques
  • Mon 29 Oct - Wed 31 Oct (Class 20 - 21) Midterm 2
  • Mon 05 Nov - Wed 07 Nov (Class 22 - 23) Carbon Emissions
  • Wed 14 Nov - Mon 19 Nov (Class 24 - 25) Grid and Utilities
  • Mon 26 Nov - Wed 28 Nov (Class 26 - 27) Projects
  • Mon 03 Dec - Wed 05 Dec (Class 28 - 29) Midterm 3

Coursework Components and Requirements

To develop your skills and reinforce your learning, we will be reading and reflecting, writing calculations and explanations, and taking in-class examinations and quizzes.

Reading Reflections and Discussions

You will complete the reading and a short reflection and questionnaire the night before class. We will then convene as an entire class and discuss.

Your readings will be available online through the course website. There will often be questions on the reading which will be filled out on the Canvas LMS.


By completing the homework regularly, you will develop skills necessary to take a question and get estimate for the answer. You will also develop your ability to communicate and explain these estimates in writing.

You are encouraged to work in teams and discuss the strategies and even numerical answers you are getting. You are strongly discouraged from looking at other students completed assignments before it is due. If you look at your classmates completed work, you are denying yourself the opportunity to construct the solution on you own and will prevent you from developing your skills. The work you produce in this class will be practice for the work you will do in the professional world.

Most homeworks will be turned in on the Canvas LMS and will be announced there and in class.


By participating in classroom work regularly, you will gain skills you need to collaborate with others on problem solving. You will take quizzes in class in groups where everyone receives the same grade. This is designed to help you collaborate and communicate your ideas so that everyone in the group agrees.

Someone in each group will need access to a smartphone or laptop since part of the quiz will be on Canvas. If you have an unexcused absence on the day of work, you will not receive credit for that day's assignment. Quizzes will be in during class and will often be unannounced.


Several of homework assignments will use data from my research projects on electricity from the developing world. The assignments will give you practice analyzing data from real-world situations and answering questions where the answer isn't known.

Class Texts and Tools

You will be writing documents that contain both written text and calculations. We will be using a tool called the Jupyter Notebook since it allows you to do this. You will be expected to purchase a one-semester subscription to SageMathCloud where we can use these notebooks as a class.

We will be using Gil Masters, Renewable and Efficient Electric Power Systems, 2nd Edition as our primary textbook. There is also an online version of the text available on the Sonoma Library website.

There will also be readings posted to Canvas throughout the semester.


  • Homework 30%
  • Classwork 30%
  • Exams 40%

Class Norms and Agreements

Late Work

To reinforce habits of consistency and accountability, as a rule late work is not accepted in this class. However, students often have circumstances beyond their control that interfere with their studies. If you believe you have a compelling case for a late assignment, make an office hours appointment with me and I'll consider granting an extension.

Excused Absences

If you miss class due to an unexcused absence, you will receive a zero on that day's classwork grade.

I grant excused absences when I receive a notification before the start of class with a brief and compelling reason for the absence. You do not need to reveal any personal information in your reason. You can find a link for our absence form here.

Question Forum

We will maintain a forum on Canvas where anyone in the class can post questions and answer them. If you have a question that doesn't require privacy, please post it in the forum. This allows everyone to benefit from the question and contribute to a solution.

Respectful tone in classroom

Civility is required from all students during discussions and interactions. In general, I expect students to be supportive of each others learning goals.

Minimize electronic distractions

An important skill is self-regulation against distractions. Electronic devices are a potent source of distraction. However, we will not ban their use since they can be productive. We will frequently use Internet-connected electronic devices (phones, tablets) for learning purposes. However, using devices for social networks or other uses during class time is strongly discouraged.

Willingness to take risks and experiment

I frequently try new approaches to teaching and learning that you may find unusual. These are always with the intention of making this class as beneficial to you as possible.

University Policies

There are important University policies that you should be aware of, such as the add/drop policy; cheating and plagiarism policy, grade appeal procedures; accommodations for students with disabilities and the diversity vision statement. Go to this URL to find them. http://www.sonoma.edu/uaffairs/policies/studentinfo.shtml