Transmission-and-Distribution Dynamic Co-simulation Framework for Distributed Energy Resource Frequency Response

Wenbo Wang, Xin Fang, Hantao Cui, Fangxing Li, Yijing Liu, Thomas Overbye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus Citations


The rapid deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) in distribution networks has made it challenging to balance the transmission system and stabilize frequency. DERs have the ability to provide frequency regulation services; however, existing frequency dynamic simulation tools-which were developed mainly for the transmission system-lack the capability to simulate distribution network dynamics with high penetrations of DERs. Although electromagnetic transient simulation tools can simulate distribution network dynamics, the computation efficiency limits their use for large-scale transmission-and-distribution (TD) co-simulation. This paper presents an efficient open-source TD dynamic co-simulation framework for DER frequency response based on the HELICS platform and off-the-shelf TD simulators. The challenge of synchronizing the simulation between the transmission network and the DERs in the distribution network is solved through the detailed modeling of DERs in frequency dynamic models while DER power flow models are also preserved in the distribution networks, thereby respecting local voltage constraints when dispatching DER power for frequency response. DER frequency response (primary and secondary) is simulated in case studies to validate the proposed framework. Last, the accuracy of the proposed co-simulation model is benchmarked, and a large TD system simulation (2k transmission and 1M distribution nodes) is presented to demonstrate the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall framework.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)482-495
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A40-78925


  • Distributed energy resources
  • primary and secondary frequency regulation
  • transmission-and-distribution frequency dynamic co-simulation


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