Optimal Voltage Reference for Droop-Based DERs in Distribution Systems

Tianqi Hong, Dongbo Zhao, Yichen Zhang, Bai Cui, Yuting Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus Citations


Due to the newly issued standards on distributed energy resources (DERs), the droop-based operation modes (Q-V and P-V droops) become a requirement for all the interconnected DER units at the distribution level. Voltage references of the DER units can be assigned to improve the operational behavior of the distribution system in the smart grid context. This paper presents a novel formulation for optimally setting voltage reference of the droop-based DER units in distribution systems with the objective of minimizing the system ohmic loss. This problem is formulated as a mixed-integer quadratic convex optimization problem in MATLAB and solved by the MATLAB and CPLEX solvers. The IEEE 123-bus system and the EPRI test system Ckt5 are used to validate the proposed formulation. The result obtained from the proposed formulation is compared with the result of the original problem solved by the heuristic method. Based on the numerical study results, system loss can be reduced after the proposed voltage reference assignment. The computational expense of the new formulation is also much lower than that of the heuristic approach.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2357-2366
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-77203


  • distributed energy resource integration
  • distribution system
  • droop operation
  • linear power flow
  • voltage reference assignment


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