Electrical Energy Management, ENSP 338, Fall 2016

Days Monday and Wednesday
Time 2:00 - 3:50 pm
Units 4
Location Environmental Technology Center (ETC)
Instructor Daniel Soto
Office Rachel Carson Hall 12
Email sotod@sonoma.edu
Teaching Assistant Justin Hoijer (hoijer@sonoma.edu)

Office Hours

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

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.

Learning Objectives

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

Key Concepts:

  • Mathematical models (Ohm's Law, Power and Energy, Time Value of Money)
  • Scenario comparisons
  • Quantitative argument

Key Competencies:

  • Select appropriate models for a decision
  • Correctly use mathematical models to make scenario comparisons
  • Clarify quantitative work with explanations that show the intent and implementation

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 Moodle throughout the semester.

Course Components

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

In addition to learning the relevant material, students will be challenged to integrate and interrogate new ideas presented during readings and discussion.

You will complete the reading and a short reflection and questionnaire the night before class. In class, you will discuss the reading in groups to bring out your main interests in the reading. We will then convene as an entire class and discuss.


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. Homework will be turned in the night before class, usually on SageMathCloud. You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire as well. In class, you will critique a solution provided by the instructor. After that, you will provide each other with feedback on their assignments. Bring a copy of your work either on paper or electronically so that your peer group can read it and ask questions. After you have critiqued each other, you will turn in a self-assessment.

If you do not turn in the homework on time, you will be asked to complete a similar assignment where you have made substantial changes showing that you understand the course material. Since after the assignment the entire class has access to the solution, we ask you to turn in something different.


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. You will get multiple attempts on each question. Each incorrect answer will receive a grade deduction. Someone in each group will need access to a smartphone or laptop since part of the quiz will be on Moodle. 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 class and will often be unannounced.


We will likely have two projects in this class, one physical and one related to our dorm electricity measurement project in the spring.


Assignments include written problems and reading reflections.


  • Earn passing grade on all assignments
  • Quiz average above 80%
  • Exam average above 80%
  • Project that exceeds expectations


  • Earn passing grade on all but 2 homeworks
  • Quiz average above 70%
  • Exam average above 70%
  • Project that exceeds expectations


  • Earn passing grade on all but 4 homeworks
  • Quiz average above 70%
  • Exam average above 70%
  • Project that meets expectations


  • Earn passing grade on all but 6 homeworks
  • Quiz average above 70%
  • Exam average above 70%
  • Project that meets expectations

Course 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.

  • Wed Aug 24 -- Introduction
  • Mon Aug 29 -- Basic Physics
    • Suggested Reading: Hewitt 21-22
  • Wed Aug 31 -- Basic Physics
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS 2.1-2.4
    • Reading Reflection Due: McElroy
  • Wed Sep 7 -- Basic Physics
    • Homework Due: HW 1
  • Mon Sep 12 -- Basic Physics
  • Wed Sep 14 -- Basic Economics
    • Suggested Reading: Luenberger 1-2
    • Homework Due: HW 2
  • Mon Sep 19 -- Basic Economics
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR2 Luenberger 1,2
  • Wed Sep 21 -- Basic Economics
  • Mon Sep 26 -- Basic Physics
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS 3.1-3.2
  • Wed Sep 28 -- Basic Physics
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR3 Roberts, Grid Integration
  • Mon Oct 3 -- Basic Economics
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS 2.5-2.8
    • Homework Due: HW 3 Wire Sizing
  • Wed Oct 5 -- Basic Economics
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR4 Meier, 1984
  • Mon Oct 10 -- Power Plants
  • Wed Oct 12 -- Power Plants
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS 3.3-3.4
    • Homework Due: HW4 Economics
  • Mon Oct 17 -- Power Plants
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR5 Lacey, Distributed Resilience
  • Wed Oct 19 -- Sustainability Day
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS 3.5
  • Mon Oct 24 -- Data and Statistics
  • Wed Oct 26 -- Data and Statistics
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR6 FERC Supreme Court Ruling
  • Mon Oct 31 -- Data and Statistics
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS2 Appendix A
    • Homework Due: HW5 Inventory
  • Wed Nov 2 -- Data and Statistics
  • Mon Nov 7 -- No Class
  • Wed Nov 9 -- Electricity Inventory
  • Mon Nov 14 -- Electricity Inventory
    • Suggested Reading: REEPS 1, 3.7
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR7 Wolfram, Real Electricity
  • Wed Nov 16 -- Electricity Inventory
  • Mon Nov 21 -- Electricity Inventory
  • Wed Nov 23 -- No Class
  • Mon Nov 28 -- CALL Grant
  • Wed Nov 30 -- TBD
    • Reading Reflection Due: RR8 Grid Share
  • Mon Dec 5 -- TBD
  • Wed Dec 7 -- Final Review and Wrapup

The final exam will be held on Monday, December 12th from 2:00 pm - 3:50 pm in the ETC. You can verify this schedule here.

Reading Links

Many of our class readings are in PDF format and can be found in this folder.

The readings that are available online are linked here:

Homework Links

Extra Credit

Class Materials


Excused Absences: 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.

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