Michael Hofmann

Michael Hofmann has 43 years of work experience developing electrical/electronic systems for aerospace, ocean engineering, and the utility business. He has spent more than half of his career in the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) laboratories, first working on the development of BPA’s digital model power line system, expert systems used to analyze the performance of protective relays tested on the digital model power line, and fuzzy inference systems that can use synchrophasor data to predict and prevent system voltage collapse in electrical system blackout conditions. He was a member of the team performing the world’s first satellite synchronized end to end relay test, and refined the technique to where it is a common relay commissioning test today. He has done the performance testing for all new relays proposed for use on the BPA system for the past 25 years. He has investigated methods to apply adaptive relaying principals to the electrical system, and has concentrated his efforts in recent years on developing algorithms and software for analyzing relay performance, and to develop tools protection engineers can use to quickly analyze relay misoperations and to correct the conditions leading to them. He has developed applications that will plot the impedance trajectory of a fault along with the relay element characteristic. This allows the relay engineer to pinpoint the conditions leading to a relay operation. Mr. Hofmann is the author of a number of conference papers.

Areas of Expertise

  • Intelligent system applications to fault analysis
  • Protective relaying solutions
  • Mathematical analysis of fault records
  • Model line testing of substation IEDs
  • Innovative applications for power system protection, monitoring and control
  • Digital model transmission line design, build, operation
  • Computer programming in C++, FORTRAN, and Python
  • Use of Programmable Instrument Controllers.

Experience and Background

  • 24 years of utility industry experience
  • Creating automated relay test programs since 1988
  • Protective relay evaluation using transient tests on digital model power lines.
  • System protective device installation and maintenance.
  • Design review consultant, Project Neptune, 2002-2003

Accomplishments and Industry Recognition

  • IEEE Senior Member (2005)
  • Award for mentoring in Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering program (BPA, 1991)
  • Superior performance award (Bonneville Power Administration, 1990)
  • Sustained Superior performance award (David Taylor Naval Ship R&D Center, 1985)


  • B.Sc., Physics, 1973