Campus Electrical System Studies

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Client: Princeton University
Location: New Jersey, USA 

Concerns for long-term reliability

Over time, Princeton University has improved its electrical distribution system to meet the power demands at its New Jersey campus. A steady growth in electrical demand raised the concern of the Facilities Engineering Department over the system’s ability to continue providing reliable service to its faculty and students. To determine the system’s capabilities, the university hired POWER Engineers to conduct a series of system studies and recommend ways to maintain or improve the system’s dependability.

A 26 KV/4.16 KV stepped-down system

Princeton’s 4.16 kV distribution system receives power by stepping down the voltage from a 26 kV substation owned by Public Service Electric and Gas. A second 26 kV substation backs up this system only for limited emergency purposes. The lines serving the two campus substations are 10 and 20 miles long, respectively. The peak demand on the system occurs in July and August at 21.5 MW. The peak demand in winter reaches 13 MW. The minimum load flow for summer and winter is 11 MW. The university has some generation capacity, but uses it only for emergency and economic purposes.


The system analysis included examination of the load flow, voltage levels, short circuit currents, and protective device settings and coordination.  POWER Engineers also used a SCADA system for data collection and control of electrical system facilities.

Based on the results of field research and the subsequent computer studies, POWER Engineers provided the university with several near- and long-term recommendations to improve the system by increasing its capacity and reliability. These improvements include upgrades to the university’s distribution system as well as the primary and alternative substations.

Project details