Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Yuan Liao


Distribution system voltage and VAR control (VVC) is a technique that combines conservation voltage reduction and reactive power compensation to operate a distribution system at its optimal conditions. Coordinated VVC can provide major economic benefits for distribution utilities. Incorporating distributed generation (DG) to VVC can improve the system efficiency and reliability. The first part of this dissertation introduces a direct optimization formulation for VVC with DG. The control is formulated as a mixed integer non-linear programming (MINLP) problem. The formulation is based on a three-phase power flow with accurate component models. The VVC problem is solved with a state of the art open-source academic solver utilizing an outer approximation algorithm. Applying the approach to several test feeders, including IEEE 13-node and 37-node radial test feeders, with variable load demand and DG generation, validates the proposed control.

Incorporating renewable energy can provide major benefits for efficient operation of the distribution systems. However, when the number of renewables increases the system control becomes more complex. Renewable resources, particularly wind and solar, are often highly intermittent. The varying power output can cause significant fluctuations in feeder voltages. Traditional feeder controls are often too slow to react to these fast fluctuations. DG units providing reactive power compensation they can be utilized in supplying voltage support when fluctuations in generation occur. The second part of this dissertation focuses on two new approaches for dual-layer VVC. In these approaches the VVC is divided into two control layers, slow and fast. The slow control obtains optimal voltage profile and set points for the distribution control. The fast control layer is utilized to maintain the optimal voltage profile when the generation or loading suddenly changes. The MINLP based VVC formulation is utilized as the slow control. Both local reactive power control of DG and coordinated quadratic programming (QP) based reactive power control is considered as the fast control approaches. The effectiveness of these approaches is studied with test feeders, utility load data, and fast-varying solar irradiance data. The simulation results indicate that both methods achieve good results for VVC with DG.