Multi-Attribute Partitioning of Power Networks Based on Electrical Distance

Eduardo Cotilla-Sanchez, Paul D.H. Hines, Clayton Barrows, Seth Blumsack, Mahendra Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

206 Scopus Citations


Identifying coherent sub-graphs in networks is important in many applications. In power systems, large systems are divided into areas and zones to aid in planning and control applications. But not every partitioning is equally good for all applications; different applications have different goals, or attributes, against which solutions should be evaluated. This paper presents a hybrid method that combines a conventional graph partitioning algorithm with an evolutionary algorithm to partition a power network to optimize a multi-attribute objective function based on electrical distances, cluster sizes, the number of clusters, and cluster connectedness. Results for the IEEE RTS-96 show that clusters produced by this method can be used to identify buses with dynamically coherent voltage angles, without the need for dynamic simulation. Application of the method to the IEEE 118-bus and a 2383-bus case indicates that when a network is well partitioned into zones, intra-zone transactions have less impact on power flows outside of the zone; i.e., good partitioning reduces loop flows. This property is particularly useful for power system applications where ensuring deliverability is important, such as transmission planning or determination of synchronous reserve zones.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4979-4987
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-61048


  • Electrical distance
  • Evolutionary algorithms
  • Network clustering
  • Power network partitioning


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