Understanding Line Losses and Transformer Losses in Rural Isolated Distribution Systems: Preprint

Kumaraguru Prabakar, Yaswanth Nag Velaga, Rebecca Meadows, Ben McGilton, Tessa Greco, Jonathan Salmon, Karl Hill, Levi Tinney

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Rural, isolated power systems in the mainland U.S. and in states like Alaska and Hawaii are powered by assets like diesel generators. These rural, isolated power systems also cannot operate at the higher band of medium voltage (like 69kV). They are primarily in the 12 to 14 kV range to keep the cost of the distribution investments lower. Because of this mid-band medium voltage range, the line losses and distribution transformers losses consume significant diesel consumption (almost 10 percent of the peak load). This work considers one such power system powering an isolated system and presents key findings online losses, and transformer losses. Understanding and documenting the impacts is critical for these communities operating their power systems and take actions to reduce expensive diesel consumption. In this paper, we will present one such typical grid and model it in electromagnetic transients (EMT) domain. We used the tower structure, under ground cabling installation to develop high fidelity models of lines. We also used high fidelity models of distribution transformers to present the no-load losses and full load loses. We will also present technical solutions available commercially off-the-shelf to reduce these losses and reduce diesel consumption. This work will be a primer for communities to understand the technical challenges and to understand the possible solution available to solve such challenges for rural, isolated power system operators.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2024
EventIEEE Rural Electric Power Conference - Tulsa, OK
Duration: 30 Apr 20242 May 2024


ConferenceIEEE Rural Electric Power Conference
CityTulsa, OK

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5D00-88937


  • blackstart
  • diesel generators
  • digital real time simulator
  • electromagnetic transients domain
  • hardware-in-the-loop
  • hydrogen storage
  • isolated microgrids
  • isolated power system
  • line losses
  • microgrids
  • power hardware-in-the-loop
  • river generators
  • rural power system
  • transformer losses


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