New optimal power flow techniques to improve integration of distributed generation in responsive distribution networks
Robertson, James George
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Climate change has brought about legally-binding targets for Scotland, the U.K. and the E.U. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and source a share of overall energy consumption from renewable energy resources by 2020. With severe limitations in the transport and heating sectors the onus is on the electricity sector to provide a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and introduce a substantial increase in renewable energy production. The most attractive renewable energy resources are located in the geographic extremes of the country, far from the large population densities and high voltage, high capacity transmission networks. This means that the majority of renewable generation technologies will need to connect to the conventionally passive, lower voltage distribution networks. The integration of Distributed Generation (DG) is severely restricted by the technical limitations of the passively managed lower voltage infrastructure. Long lead times and the capital expenditure of traditional electricity network reinforcement can significantly delay or make the economics of some renewable generation schemes unviable. To be able to quickly and cost-effectively integrate significant levels of DG, the conventional fit-and-forget approach will have to be evolved into a ‘connect-and-manage’ system using active network management (ANM) techniques. ANM considers the real-time variation in generation and demand levels and schedules electricity network control settings to alleviate system constraints and increase connectable capacity of DG. This thesis explores the extent to which real time adjustments to DG and network asset controller set-points could allow existing networks to accommodate more DG. This thesis investigates the use of a full AC OPF technique to operate and schedule in real time variables of ANM control in distribution networks. These include; DG real and reactive power output and on-load-tap-changing transformer set-points. New formulations of the full AC OPF problem including multi-objective functions, penalising unnecessary deviation of variable control settings, and a Receding-Horizon formulation are assessed. This thesis also presents a methodology and modelling environment to explore the new and innovative formulations of OPF and to assess the interactions of various control practices in real time. Continuous time sequential, single scenario, OPF analyses at a very short control cycle can lead to the discontinuous and unnecessary switching of network control set-points, particularly during the less onerous network operating conditions. Furthermore, residual current flow and voltage variation can also gave rise to undesirable network effects including over and under voltage excursion and thermal overloading of network components. For the majority of instances, the magnitude of constraint violation was not significant but the levels of occurrence gave occasional cause for concern. The new formulations of the OPF problem were successful in deterring any extreme and unsatisfactory effects. Results have shown significant improvements in the energy yield from non-firm renewable energy resources. Initial testing of the real time OPF techniques in a simple demonstration network where voltage rise restricted the headroom for installed DG capacity and energy yield, showed that the energy yield for a single DG increased by 200% from the fit-and-forget scenario. Extrapolation of the OPF technique to a network with multiple DGs from different types of renewable energy resources showed an increase of 216% from the fit-and-forget energy yield. In a much larger network case study, where thermal loading limits constrained further DG capacity and energy yield, the increase in energy yield was more modest with an average increase of 45% over the fit-and-forget approach. In the large network where thermal overloading prevailed there was no immediate alternative to real power curtailment. This work has demonstrated that the proposed ANM OPF schemes can provide an intelligent, more cost effective and quicker alternative to network upgrades. As a result, DNOs can have a better knowledge and understanding of the capabilities and technical limitations of their networks to absorb DG safely and securely, without the expense of conventional network reinforcement.