Optimal operation of soft open points in medium voltage electrical distribution networks with distributed generation

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Long, Chao ; Wu, Jianzhong ; Thomas, Lee ; Jenkins, Nicholas (2016)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Journal: Applied Energy, volume 184, pages 427-437 (issn: 0306-2619)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.10.031
  • Subject: Energy(all) | Civil and Structural Engineering | TA

A soft open point (SOP) is a power electronic device, usually using back-to-back voltage source converters (VSCs), installed at a previously normally open point of a distribution network. Due to its flexible and accurate control of power flows, an SOP is versatile, and increasingly being considered to mitigate voltage and thermal constraints in medium voltage (MV) networks with high penetrations of distributed generation (DG). A Jacobian matrix - based sensitivity method was used to define the operating region of an SOP when the grids/feeders at the two terminals of the SOP have various load and generation conditions, and the SOP operating region was visualized in a graphical manner. The exact operating set-points were determined by adopting a non-linear optimization considering separately different objectives. The methodology was demonstrated on an 11 kV network, considering three optimization objectives with different DG penetrations and different network observabilities. Results showed that the use of an SOP significantly increases the network’s DG hosting capacity. The objective for voltage profile improvement increased the headroom of the voltage limits by the largest margin, at the expense of increased energy losses. In contrast the objectives to achieve line utilization balancing and energy loss minimization showed the most improvement in circuit utilization and in limiting energy losses. The work helps electricity network operators to visualize an SOP’s operation status, and provides high level decision support, e.g. selecting control schemes and restraining SOP operational boundaries.
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