Efficient distribution system optimal power flow with discrete control of load tap changers

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Load tap changers (LTCs) are commonly used for voltage control in distribution systems. The mechanical relays on LTCs are controlled in discrete steps; hence, distribution optimal power flow (DOPF) formulations require LTCs to be modeled with integer variables. Integer variables are generally ignored or relaxed and rounded off to reduce the computational burden in DOPF models. However, in this work, we highlight and overcome complex infeasibility issues caused by rounding methods. Moreover, recent advances in convex optimization have improved the computational tractability of the DOPF problem. In this work, we develop and analyze numerical efficiency of different, but exact formulations for incorporating LTCs as integer control assets in a relaxed second-order cone program (SOCP) version of DOPF model. The resulting formulation becomes a mixed-integer SOCP (MISOCP), which is computationally tractable compared to mixed-integer non-linear program (MINLP). To recover the exact optimal solution in the proposed MISOCP-DOPF model, a McCormick relaxation is employed within a sequential bound-tightening algorithm. We show that solutions obtained from MISOCP-DOPF are always AC feasible. Thus, the MISOCP-DOPF yields optimal and realistic AC solutions, and is validated in large distribution feeders and is compared to MINLP counterpart.

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Copyright 2018 IEEE. Publisher's version of record: https://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TPWRS.2019.2894674

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IEEE Transactions on Power Systems