Optimal Power Flow Pursuit

Emiliano Dall-Anese

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Past works that focused on addressing power-quality and reliability concerns related to renewable energy resources (RESs) operating with business-as-usual practices have looked at the design of Volt/VAr and Volt/Watt strategies to regulate real or reactive powers based on local voltage measurements, so that terminal voltages are within acceptable levels. These control strategies have the potential of operating at the same time scale of distribution-system dynamics, and can therefore mitigate disturbances precipitated fast time-varying loads and ambient conditions; however, they do not necessarily guarantee system-level optimality, and stability claims are mainly based on empirical evidences. On a different time scale, centralized and distributed optimal power flow (OPF) algorithms have been proposed to compute optimal steady-state inverter setpoints, so that power losses and voltage deviations are minimized and economic benefits to end-users providing ancillary services are maximized. However, traditional OPF schemes may offer decision making capabilities that do not match the dynamics of distribution systems. Particularly, during the time required to collect data from all the nodes of the network (e.g., loads), solve the OPF, and subsequently dispatch setpoints, the underlying load, ambient, and network conditions may have already changed; in this case, the DER output powers would be consistently regulated around outdated setpoints, leading to suboptimal system operation and violation of relevant electrical limits. The present work focuses on the synthesis of distributed RES-inverter controllers that leverage the opportunities for fast feedback offered by power-electronics interfaced RESs. The overarching objective is to bridge the temporal gap between long-term system optimization and real-time control, to enable seamless RES integration in large scale with stability and efficiency guarantees, while congruently pursuing system-level optimization objectives. The design of the control framework is based on suitable linear approximations of the AC power-flow equations as well as Lagrangian regularization methods. The proposed controllers enable an update of the power outputs at a time scale that is compatible with the underlying dynamics of loads and ambient conditions, and continuously drive the system operation towards OPF-based solutions.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2016
Event2016 American Control Conference (ACC) - Boston, Massachusetts
Duration: 6 Jul 20168 Jul 2016


Conference2016 American Control Conference (ACC)
CityBoston, Massachusetts

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-67056


  • load flow
  • optimization
  • reliability engineering
  • renewable energy sources
  • systems operation
  • voltage measurement


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