An Optimal and Distributed Method for Voltage Regulation in Power Distribution Systems

Baosen Zhang, Yun Sang Albert LAM, Alejandro D. Domínguez-García, David Tse

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

236 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the problem of voltage regulation in power distribution networks with deep-penetration of distributed energy resources, e.g., renewable-based generation, and storage-capable loads such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. We cast the problem as an optimization program, where the objective is to minimize the losses in the network subject to constraints on bus voltage magnitudes, limits on active and reactive power injections, transmission line thermal limits and losses. We provide sufficient conditions under which the optimization problem can be solved via its convex relaxation. Using data from existing networks, we show that these sufficient conditions are expected to be satisfied by most networks. We also provide an efficient distributed algorithm to solve the problem. The algorithm adheres to a communication topology described by a graph that is the same as the graph that describes the electrical network topology. We illustrate the operation of the algorithm, including its robustness against communication link failures, through several case studies involving 5-, 34-, and 123-bus power distribution systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6908041
Pages (from-to)1714-1726
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

User-Defined Keywords

  • Distributed algorithms
  • Distribution network management
  • Optimal power flow
  • Voltage support


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