On the Need for Communication for Voltage Regulation of Power Distribution Grids

Guido Cavraro, Saverio Bolognani, Ruggero Carli, Sandro Zampieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus Citations


We consider the problem of regulating the voltage profile of a power distribution grid by controlling the reactive power injection of distributed microgenerators. We define a very general class of purely local feedback controllers in which reactive power injection is adjusted based on the local voltage measurements. This class includes most of the solutions proposed in the literature and in the latest grid codes. We show that these strategies do not guarantee the desired regulation, as each of them can have an equilibrium that is not feasible with respect to the desired voltage and power constraints. We then propose a networked feedback law to show that, by adding short-range communication between microgenerators, it is possible to design control strategies that provably converge to the feasible set. This fundamental performance gap between local and networked strategies is finally illustrated via simulations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number8731697
Pages (from-to)1111-1123
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-75245


  • Decentralized control
  • networked control systems
  • optimization
  • power distribution
  • voltage control


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