Real-Time Distributed Control of Smart Inverters for Network-level Optimization
The limitations of centralized optimization methods in managing electric power distribution systems operations have led to the distributed paradigm of computing and decision-making. Unfortunately, the existing distributed optimization algorithms are limited in their applicability to managing fast varying phenomena such as those resulting from highly variable Distributed Energy Resource (DER) generation patterns. They require a large number of communication rounds (in the order of 10 2 to 10 3 ) among the computing agents to solve one instance of the optimization problem. Related real-time distributed control methods are equally limited in their applications to power distribution systems with fast-changing DER generation; they require hundreds of rounds of communication and thus are slow in tracking the network-level optimal solutions. In this paper, we propose a novel distributed voltage controller that provides a fast-tracking of rapidly varying DER generation profiles while simultaneously converging to network-level optimal solutions within a few communication rounds. The proposed control algorithm leverages the radial topology of the system, which reduces the required communication rounds to reach the network-level optimum solution by order of magnitude. The novelty lies in carefully reducing the electrical network model from the perspective of each distributed controller and enabling appropriate data sharing among upstream and downstream nodes to achieve fast convergence. The simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach in minimizing the feeder losses while maintaining the node voltage within the pre-specified limits.