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Unit of study_

ELEC5206: Sustainable Energy Systems

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Many sustainable energy technologies including hybrid cars, photovoltaic energy systems, efficient power supplies, and energy-conserving control systems have at their heart intelligent, high-power electronics. This unit examines this technology and uses sustainable-tech examples to teach the engineering principles of modeling, optimization, analysis, simulation, and design. Topics include power converter topologies, periodic steady-state analysis, control, motors and drives, photovoltaic systems, and design of magnetic components. The unit involves a hands-on laboratory and a substantial final project.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ELEC5206
Academic unit Electrical and Information Engineering
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge

A background in power electronics converters and control theory such as that covered in ELEC3204/9204 and ELEC3304/9304 is assumed

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Sinan Li,
Laboratory supervisor(s) Rui Chu,
Lecturer(s) Sinan Li,
Cuo Zhang,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
supervised, paper-based
50% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Creative assessment / demonstration group assignment Group project
Group work. 1 Project.
30% Week 13
Due date: 03 Nov 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Assignment
Individual assignment. Totaling 6 assignments.
5% Weekly
Due date: 23 Oct 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Lab report
Group work, totaling 4 lab reports.
15% Weekly
Due date: 11 Oct 2023 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Overview of the unit; 2. The relevance of the context of unit; 3. A brief review of basic power electronics circuits; 4. Periodic steady-state analysis and transient analysis methods for power electronics converters. Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 02 1. Power Electronics Dynamics 2.Simulations 3. Power Devices Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO7
Week 03 1. Switching losses 2. Gate drive 3. Deadtime 4. Snubbers Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 04 1. Photovoltaic materials & electrical characteristics 2. Maximum Power Point Tracking 3. Various architectures of PV inverter systems 4. PV economics 5. Smart PV systems Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 05 1. Modeling of DC motors; 2. Motor control using half-bridge converters; 3. Other types of motors; 4. AC induction motor control using inverters Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 06 1. A primer on Bode plots; 2. Control of a first-order system; 3. Control of a second-order system; 4. Layered control; 5. Practical controller design considerations Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 07 Wind Power Systems Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO5 LO6
Week 08 Modeling and Economics of Sustainable Energy Systems Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Tutorial only. No lecture due to Labour Day holiday. Tutorial (2 hr)  
Week 10 Energy Storage and Hybrid Power Plants Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 11 Distributed Energy Resources and Smart Home Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO6
Week 12 Revision Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  
Week 13 Project Info Lecture and tutorial (4 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.

  • Erickson and Maksimovic, Fundamentals of Power Electronics, Second Edition, Springer, 2001.
  • William Dally, Green Electronics. Online.
  • Mohan, Ned, A First Course on Power Electronics, MNPERE 2009
  • McLyman, Transformer and Inductor Design Handbook, 3rd Edition, CRC Press, 2004

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. instigate inquiry and knowledge development using electronic media to draw on a vast source of professional documents in various formats, synthesising the information to solve a specific engineering problem
  • LO2. present terse information accurately using varied formats and media to a level appropriate to the expected understanding and capabilities of relevant stakeholders
  • LO3. work in a team by assuming diverse roles, aiding or initiating the process of team interaction and drawing on and being receptive to others' viewpoints, to try and solve a specific engineering task
  • LO4. solve analysis and design problems in renewable and non-renewable energy sources drawing on technical and non-technical information and applying the emerging concepts
  • LO5. demonstrate an understanding of working principle, energy conversion efficiency, and maximum power point tracking of each renewable energy source that uses for sustainable energy system design, to the extent of the material and work presented
  • LO6. demonstrate an understanding of systems including electromechanical converters (electrical machines), Photovoltaics and PV systems, wind power systems, control systems, Energy Storage and Hybrid Power Plants, Distributed Energy Resources and Smart Home to the extent of the material and work presented
  • LO7. demonstrate an understanding of the properties, applications, and limitations of various switch-mode power supplies to the extent of the material and work presented

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In response to student feedback since the unit was last offered, the power electronics aspect of this unit has been enhanced, including semiconductor switching characteristics, design and optimization of magnetics, advanced power electronics topologies, practical design considerations of controllers and hardware implementations, embedded software, and project collaborations.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.