Examining the Economic Optimality of Automatic Generation Control

Stefanos Baros, Yu Christine Chen, Sairaj Dhople

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus Citations


The automatic generation control (AGC) system is temporally situated between economic dispatch and synchronous generator dynamics, and its primary role is to regulate frequency within and tie-line flows between control areas. Given appropriate choice of participation factors (feed-forward controller gains that govern the disaggregation of the area-level power requirement to individual generators), the AGC can be engineered to nudge system dynamics toward a steady-state operating point corresponding to economic optimality. This paper establishes necessary and sufficient conditions under which a widely accepted choice of participation factors guarantees the alignment of steady-state synchronous generator outputs with a global minimum of a prototypical economic dispatch problem. In so doing, it resolves several ambiguities and formalizes technical assumptions governing the role of the standard AGC architecture in the context of economic dispatch and steady-state operation. Numerical case studies tailored to a modified version of the New England 39-bus 10-machine test system validate the theoretical results.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4611-4620
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-78242


  • automatic generation control
  • economic dispatch
  • loss penalty factors
  • participation factors


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