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Heuristic Algorithm

Marina Lavorato, Marcos J. Rider, Member, IEEE, Ariovaldo V. Garcia, Member, IEEE, and

Ruben Romero, Senior Member, IEEE,.

network planning (DNP) problem is presented. This is a very

complex mixed binary nonlinear programming problem. A

constructive heuristic algorithm (CHA) aimed at obtaining an

excellent quality solution for this problem is presented. In each

step of the CHA, a sensitivity index is used to add a circuit or

a substation to the distribution network. This sensitivity index

is obtained solving the DNP problem considering the numbers

of circuits and substations to be added as continuous variables

(relaxed problem). The relaxed problem is a large and complex

nonlinear programming and was solved through an efficient

nonlinear optimization solver. A local improvement phase and

a branching technique were implemented in the CHA. Results of

two tests using a distribution network are presented in the paper

in order to show the ability of the proposed algorithm.

Index Terms Distribution network planning, constructive

heuristic algorithm, mixed binary nonlinear programming, power

systems optimization, KNITRO, AMPL.

I. I NTRODUCTION

HE main objective of the distribution network planning

(DNP) problem is to provide a reliable and cost effective

service to consumers while ensuring that voltages and power

quality are within standard range. Several objective functions,

including new equipment installation cost, equipment utilization rate, reliability of the target distribution system, and

loss minimization should be evaluated considering increase

of network loads and newly installed loads for the planning

horizon. New optimization models, new techniques aimed to

find optimal or then good solutions for the DNP problem are

still needed, considering the location and size of substations

and circuits, construction of new circuits as well as new

substations or alternatively the reinforcement of the existing

ones in order to permit a viable operation of the system in a

pre-defined horizon [1].

The DNP problem can be divided in three time ranges:

short-range (1 to 4 years), long-range (5 to 20 years) and

horizon-year (20+ years) planning periods, that include singleperiod models and multi-period models [2]. Some DNP research has included also, the primary-secondary distribution

planning [3] and DNP with distributed generation [4] and [5].

Brazilian Institutions CNPq and FAPESP.

M. Lavorato, M. J. Rider and A. V. Garcia are with the Department of

Electrical Energy Systems, University of Campinas, Campinas - SP, Brazil.

R. Romero is with the Faculty of Engineering of Ilha Solteira, Paulista

State University, Ilha Solteira - SP, Brazil.

(E-mails: {lavorato, mjrider, ari}@dsee.fee.unicamp.br, ruben@dee.feis.

unesp.br).

substation (location) short-range planning problem to a singleperiod in the primary distribution network, is modeled in

this paper as a mixed integer (binary) nonlinear programming

(MBNLP) problem, where the binary decision variables represent the construction (or not) of new circuits or new substations, and the objective is to minimize the total investment cost

(fixed and variable costs) subjected to technical constraints of

distribution networks operation [6]. The distribution networks

have particular operation characteristics that are of fundamental importance to the formulation of MBNLP problem, as its

radial topology and the impossibility of interconnection of

networks fed by different substations.

In the literature there are several approaches proposed to

solve the DNP problem. Among them, discrete optimization

like branch-exchange algorithm [7] and branch-and-bound [3].

However the size of the search space of the DNP problem

leads to a big computational effort. Techniques based in metaheuristics like genetic algorithms [8], [9], simulated annealing

[10], [11], tabu search [12], ant colony system [13], and evolutive algorithms [14], [15] are also present in the literature. The

majority of the proposed methods solve a load flow problem

to calculate the operation point of the network and to verify

the viability of each investment proposal. Heuristic algorithms

are also proposed to guarantee the radial configuration of the

network. Meta-heuristics are techniques that can find the best

solutions for the DNP problem in an acceptable CPU time.

The constructive heuristic algorithm (CHA) also has been

proposed to solve the DNP problem [16], [17]. The CHA is

robust, easy to be applied and it normally converges quickly

to a local solution with a finite iterations number. In [16], [17]

the DNP problem is modeled as a mixed integer quadratic programming problem, in which the objective is to minimize the

cost of construction of new circuits and substations and also

the cost of the active power loss in the circuits. A linearized

model is employed to represent the operation constraints what

affect the quality and precision of the results. The CHAs

also were used with success to solve other power system

optimization problems like the reconfiguration of distribution

systems [18], power system transmission expansion planning

[19] and capacitor allocation in power distribution systems

[20].

In this work a CHA is proposed to solve the DNP problem

modeled as a MBNLP problem. In each CHA iteration a

nonlinear programming problem (NLP) is solved to obtain a

sensitivity index that is used to add a circuit or a substation

to the distribution network. The NLP is obtained through

which are considered as continuous (but restricted) variables.

The objective of the NLP problem is to minimize the operation

and construction costs of the distribution system (construction

of new circuits and/or substation plus the costs associated with

the circuits active power losses) in a time range previously

defined, and the constraints are the demand attended, voltage

levels between limits, capacity of both circuits and substations

and the radial configuration of the network. A nonlinear

optimization solver was used to solve the NLP. A branching

technique is implemented to avoid operation unfeasible cases

and the final solution is improved through a proposed simple

local improvement technique. Two tests using a distribution

network are shown. For the first test the solution obtained by

the CHA is better than the one presented in the literature that

was obtained using meta-heuristics.

II. T HE D ISTRIBUTION N ETWORK P LANNING M ODEL

The distribution network expansion planning problem can

be formulated as follows:

(cij nij lij ) + s

(cfi mi ) +

min f = l

ibs

(ij)l

l

(gij (

nij )(Vi2 +Vj2 2Vi Vj

(ij)l

s

s.t.

cos ij )) +

(1)

ibs

QSi + QDi = 0

Qcalc

i

V

Vi

V

1

nom 1+

100

V

100

PS2i + Q2Si [(m0i + mi )S i ]2

Pij2

Q2ij

[(n0ij

i b

i b

(2)

(3)

i b

(4)

i bs

(5)

(ij) l if n0ij = 0

nij [0, 1]

i b if

mi [0, 1]

0

(nij + nij ) = nb nbs

m0i

=0

(7)

(8)

(9)

(ij)l

where n

ij = n0ij + nij and the constants l and s are given

by:

l = 8760 l l cl

s = 8760 s s

f = {ij / i b and j bi }

and l , b , bs b and bi b are the sets of branches

(existing and proposed), nodes, bus substation nodes (existing

and proposed) and connected nodes in the node i, respectively.

ij represents the circuit between nodes i and j. l and s

are the interest rate for circuits and substation, respectively.

cij , nij , n0ij and lij represent the circuit cost that can be

added (US$/km), the number of circuits added, the circuit

existent and the length of the circuit, respectively, in branch

ij. cfi , mi and m0i represents the substation fixed cost that

can be added to the network (US$), the number of substation

and s are the interest rate to losses power and provided

energy for the substation, respectively. l and s are the

load factor to the circuits and substation, respectively. cl is

the energy cost to active losses (US$/kWh) and cvi is the

substation variable cost (US$/kVAh2) to the node i. PSi and

QSi are the real and reactive power provided by substations

of the node i, respectively. Picalc and Qcalc

are the real and

i

reactive power calculated of the node i, respectively. S i is

the apparent power maximum limit provided by substation

in node i. The maximum and minimum limits of voltage

magnitudes are V % of the voltage nominal value. Vi and

V nom are the voltage magnitude of de node i and nominal

voltage magnitude of the distribution network. Pij and Qij

are the real and reactive power

flow that leaves node i toward

node j, respectively. Sij = Pij2 + Q2ij is the apparent power

flow of the branch ij and S ij is its maximum. nb = |b | is

the number of nodes and nbs = |bs | is the number of bus

substation nodes (existing and proposed).

The objective function is the total cost defined in Eq. (1)

which has three parts (one part at each line of the equation)

and is based on the reference [6]. The first part represent the

investment cost (construction of circuits and substations), the

second part represents the corresponding annual cost of the

active losses and the third represents the annual cost of substations operation. Eqs. (2) and (3) represent the conventional

equations of AC power flow and the elements of Picalc and

Qcalc

are calculated by (10) and (11), respectively.

i

Picalc = Vi

Vj [Gij (

nij ) cos ij + Bij (

nij )sin ij ] (10)

jb

Qcalc

i

= Vi

Vj [Gij (

nij )sin ij Bij (

nij ) cos ij ] (11)

jb

between nodes i and j. Gij () and Bij () are the nodal

admittance matrix elements considering the existing number

of circuits and the added circuit in branch ij as variable.

Eq. (4) represents the constraints of magnitude voltage

of nodes and Eq. (5) represents the maximum capacity of

substation i. The elements of real and reactive power flow

in branch ij of Eq. (6) are given by:

Pij = Vi2 gij (

nij )Vi Vj (gij (

nij ) cos ij +bij (

nij ) sin ij )

nij )Vi Vj (gij (

nij ) sin ij bij (

nij ) cos ij )

Qij = Vi2 bij (

where gij () and bij () are the conductance and the susceptance of the branch ij considering n

ij as variable. The binary

investment variables nij and mi are the decision variables

and a feasible operation solution of the distribution network

depends on its value. The remaining variables only represent

the operating state of a feasible solution. For a feasible

investment proposal, defined through specified values of nij

and mi , one can have several feasible operation states. Eqs.

(7) and (8) represent the limits of number of circuits and

substations that can be added to the distribution network,

respectively (note that duplication of circuits and substations

is not allowed).

From graph theory it is known that a subgraph T is a tree if the

subgraph meet both following conditions: (1) the subgraph has

(nb 1) arcs and (2) it is connected. Eq. (9) guarantees the first

condition and the second condition is guaranteed by Eqs. (2)

and (3) (power balance), provided that there is power demand

at each node, for the optimization technique is required to

generate a feasible solution connecting all the system nodes.

This means that at the end of the process the obtained network

is connected and has radial topology.

(12)

(13)

node i. Sij and Sji are the apparent power flow of the branch

ij. The sensitivity indexes are function only of the operational

characteristics of the distribution network.

The NLP problem used to obtain the sensitivity indexes is

obtained from Eqs. (1) (9), considering as continuous variables the number of new circuits and substations (continuous

but limited between 0 and 1) and adding two new parameters

to the constraints set (5) (9) as it is shown in Eqs. (14)

(18).

2

PS2i + Q2Si [(m0i + m+

i + mi )S i ]

2

Pij2 + Q2ij [(n0ij + n+

ij + nij )S ij ]

0

0 nij 1 n+

ij nij

0

0 mi 1 m+

i mi

(n0ij + n+

ij + nij ) =

(ij)l

i bs

(14)

(ij) f (15)

(ij) l (16)

i bs

nb nbs

(cij n+

ij lij ) + s

(17)

(18)

(cfi m+

i )+

ibs

mixed binary nonlinear problem. It is a complex combinatorial

problem that can lead to combinatorial explosion on the

number of alternatives that have to be tested. Considering the

number of circuits and substations (nij and mi ) as continuous variables, the problem becomes a still difficult to solve

nonlinear programming problem. Although the solution of this

relaxed DNP problem may not be an alternative for planning

(fractional number of circuits and substation), it serves to build

a useful sensitivity index used in the CHA.

A CHA may be viewed as an iterative process in which a

good solution of a complex problem is built step by step. The

CHA is robust and has good convergence characteristics. In

the case of the DNP problem, in each step, a substation or a

single circuit is added to the distribution network based on the

sensitivity indexes shown in Eqs. (12) and (13). The iterative

process ends when a feasible solution is found (generally

this is a good quality solution). The previously mentioned

sensitivity indexes SSI (Substation Sensitivity Index) and

CSI (Circuit Sensitivity Index) are based on the maximum

MVA power flow in circuits with nij = 0 and in the provided

MVA power of substation with mi = 0 obtained in the solution

of the NLP problem.

(ij)l

v = l

(ij)l

ibs

+

where n+

ij e mi represent the circuits and substations, respectively, that can be added to the distribution network during the

CHA iterative process. Also, n

ij = n0ij + n+

ij + nij is used in

the calculation of the Eqs. (1), (10) and (11), and the elements

of real and reactive power flow in branch ij of Eq. (6).

At the end of the CHA iterative process, the total cost, given

by Eq. (19), is obtained using the solution of the last NLP

problem.

2

2

l

(gij (n0ij +n+

ij )(Vi +Vj 2Vi Vj

(ij)l

cos ij )) +

(19)

ibs

respectively, are used to define the stop criterion of the CHA.

SF I =

(mi )

(20)

ibs

CF I =

(nij )

(21)

(ij)l

presented in the sequence.

+

1: Assume that m+

i = 0, i bs and nij = 0, (ij) l

is the current topology.

2: Solve the NLP problem (1) (4) and (14) (18) for the

current topology.

if SF I + CF I = 0 then

A feasible solution for the DNP problem has been found

and the total planning cost is v ; go to Step 5

end if

Otherwise continue;

3: (Substations construction phase)

if SF I = 0 then

Using SF I index (Eq. (12)), identify and add the most

attractive substation to the current topology; return to Step

2

end if

Otherwise continue;

4: (Circuits construction phase)

if CF I = 0 then

Using the CF I index (Eq. (13)) identify and add the most

attractive circuit in the current topology; This circuit must

be connected or to the substation bus or to a node already

feeded by a substation and return to Step 2;

end if

5: (Local improvement phase)

Rank added circuits, in a descent order using as criteria

its investment and operation cost;

Remove one by one, an added circuit according to the

ranking obtained and solve the CHA (only for adding

circuits); If the circuit found by the CHA algorithm is the

Otherwise the new circuit is included in the configuration.

The circuits in the final topology represent the solution of the

CHA (the distribution network expansion plan).

It must be noted that in the CHA firstly all needed substations were added and in the sequence the circuits are

considered (see steps 3 and 4 of the CHA algorithm). To

improve the convergence and to reduce the CPU time to solve

NLP problems it is recommended to use the previous NLP

solution as initial point.

In CHA Step 4 the circuits are added to the network in

such a way that a tree that starts from an existing substation

bus is constructed. The local improvement phase is aimed to

improve the initial solution obtained by the CHA. Note that

the local improvement local is made only in circuits added

for the CHA using the NLP problem results to substitute one

circuit by other.

16

10

14

20

22

23

17

19

18

11

21

12

15

The CHA proposed to solve the DNP problem was written

in AMPL (a mathematical programming language) [21] and

the solution of the NLP of steps 2 and 6 was solved using the

nonlinear programming solver KNITRO (Nonlinear Interiorpoint Trust Region Optimizer) [22] (called with default options).

The 23-nodes system available in [10], [13] has been used to

show the performance and robustness of the CHA for the DNP

problem. The 34.5-kV distribution network, supplied by a 10MVA substation, feeds an oil production area with 21 loads

nodes. The proposed feasible routes are displayed in Fig. 1.

The maximum allowable voltage drops is 3%. The average

power factor is equal to 0.9. All aluminum conductors 1/0

and 4/0 are used with parameters given in [23]. The capital

cost for circuits is 10 kUS$/km. The cost of energy losses is

0.05 US$/kWh, loss factor equals 0.35, interest rate is 0.1 and

the planning period extends to 20 years.

Two kind of tests were performed: Test 1 - planning of a

distribution network considering one existing substation; and

Test 2 - planning of a distribution network considering two

substations, an existing one and a candidate substation.

The NLP problem that is solved at each iteration of the CHA

for the tested system has the following characteristics: 117

variables (24 unconstrained and 93 constrained), 1 equality

linear constraint, 46 equality nonlinear constraints, 35 linear

inequality constraints and 141 inequality nonlinear constraints.

A. Test 1 - Planning of the Distribution Network

This test has as objective to show a comparison between

results obtained with the proposed method and results presented in the literature using meta-heuristics. Table I shows

the sequence in which the circuits were added to the network

by the CHA, the circuits costs, the active power losses costs

and the total investment cost. The added circuits by the local

improvement (LI) phase are also shown. Due to the radial

configuration constraint it is possible to preview the total

number of iterations that is equal to 2(nb 1) + 1. In this test

Fig. 1.

13

TABLE I

I TERATIVE PROCESS OF THE CHA FOR THE T EST 1

Iteration

CHA

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

Iteration

LI

1

2

Added

circuits

n+

0110

n+

1014

n+

0614

n+

1019

n+

0607

n+

0708

n+

1423

n+

1921

n+

1922

n+

0308

n+

1020

n+

0523

n+

1417

n+

1521

n+

1121

n+

0309

n+

0405

n+

1223

n+

1620

n+

1113

n+

1718

n+

0208

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

=

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Removed/added

circuits

n+

0308

n+

0809

n+

1521

n+

1518

=

=

=

=

0

1

0

1

Circuit

cost (US$)

Losses

cost (US$)

Total

cost (US$)

0

2021

6318

14495

20444

28625

35491

40351

45901

51728

78807

85780

92189

96671

102740

109134

127336

136738

143523

148542

153594

158006

158762

37851

37701

37750

36848

36848

31666

31667

31667

31666

31667

25912

24117

24066

24069

24065

24067

22407

20987

19946

19947

19946

19946

19947

37851

39722

44068

51343

57292

60291

67158

72018

77567

83395

104719

109896

116255

120739

126805

133200

149742

157725

163470

168488

173541

177952

178709

Circuit

cost (US$)

Losses

cost (US$)

Total

cost (US$)

152250

19921

172171

151892

20227

172119

5

3

9

8

4

6

23

16

16

20

10

14

22

14

23

11

19

17

22

1

17

11

19

18

18

21

12

15

Fig. 2.

20

10

21

12

15

13

Fig. 3.

TABLE III

S UMMARY OF RESULTS OF T EST 2 (US$)

TABLE II

P RESENT W ORTH C OSTS FOR THE T EST 1 (US$)

Solutions

Circuit

cost

Losses

cost

Total

cost

Final [13]

Final [10]

Initial

Final

151892

151892

158762

151892

21021

21007

19947

20227

172913

172899

178709

172119

is depicted in Fig. 2.

Table II shows a comparison between the results obtained

by references [10] and [13] and the results obtained by the

proposed method. Note that the total cost of circuits added

of proposed method is equal to the obtained by the metaheuristics [10], [13]. However the total operation cost of the

proposed method is smaller due to the optimization of the

network operation modeled in the NLP problem (1) (4) and

(14) (18). It should be noted also, that the initial solution

obtained by the CHA, without the local improvement phase is

a solution of good quality for the proposed problem.

Solutions

Circuit

cost

Losses

cost

Substation

cost

Operation

cost

Total

cost

Initial

Final

155694

149182

14687

14661

1000000

1000000

6493490

6493450

7663871

7657293

jk is removed. In the other problem circuit jk is added and

circuit ij is removed. By doing this, two problems are solved

independently and the final solution is the one with the better

cost. Fig. 5 shows the steps sequence of CHA to find the best

solution. Note that two branching were made in the iterative

process. The best solution is the Solution 1. In this test 114

NLP problems were solved.

V. C ONCLUSIONS

A constructive heuristic algorithm aimed to solve the

power system distribution expansion planning was presented.

The CHA has some advantages like robustness, and quickly

presents viable investment proposals.

In this test, it was considered that the substation located at

node 1 has a maximum capacity of 4 MVA and that in node 2

there is a candidate substation with a maximum capacity also

of 4 MVA and with a construction cost of 1000 kUS$ and

the operation cost of this substation is 0.1 US$/kVAh2 . The

solution obtained by CHA is shown in Fig 3. Table III shows

a summary of the results obtained with the proposed method.

Fig 4 shows a problem that may occur when solving

planning problem with the CHA and more than one substation

is present. Node k is feeded by two substations, what is not

allowed. In this case the CHA creates two different problems

(branching), that are separately analyzed. In one problem the

13

VA from

substation A

Sik

Skl

Sjk

k

Skm

l

Sk

m

Fig. 4.

Illustrative example

VA from

substation B

6

0 m+

2 =1

=1

1 n+

0110

2

3

4

5

n+

0208

n+

0708

n+

0607

n+

1019

=1

=1

=1

=1

=1

n+

1417

=1

n+

=1

0616

= 1 10

= 1 11

= 1 12

= 1 13

= 1 14

= 1 15

= 1 16

= 1 17

= 1 18

= 1 19

= 1 20

= 1 21

=0 1

fix: n1620 = 0

n+

1020

n+

1921

n+

0308

n+

1622

n+

1122

n+

1113

n+

0309

n+

1521

n+

0523

n+

0405

n+

1223

n+

1718

n+

=1

1423

fix: n1020 = 0

= 1 10

10 n+

=1

1620

= 1 11

11 n+

=1

1921

= 1 12

12 n+

=1

0308

= 1 13

13 n+

=1

0523

= 1 14

14 n+

=1

1718

= 1 15

15 n+

=1

1121

= 1 16

16 n+

=1

1622

= 1 17

17 n+

=1

1521

= 1 18

=1

18 n+

0309

= 1 19

=1

19 n+

0405

= 1 20

20

=1

n+

1223

= 1 21

21

n+

=1

1113

n+

=0

0308

LI Phase

LI Phase

=1

n+

=0 1

0308

Solution 1

n+

=1

0809

n+

1521

n+

1518

=0 2

=1

Solution 2

Fig. 5.

=1

n+

1014

=1

LI Phase

n+

0308

n+

0809

=1

fix: n0614 = 0

fix: n1014 = 0

n+

0614

n+

1921

n+

1423

n+

1922

n+

1521

n+

1518

n+

0308

n+

0523

n+

1020

n+

1121

n+

1113

n+

1718

n+

0309

n+

0405

n+

1223

n+

1620

=1

n+

=1

0809

2

n+

=0

1521

n+

=1

1518

Solution 3

system operation and of construction of circuits and substations are minimized, subject to constraints of to attend de

demand, voltage magnitude limits, capacity of circuits and

substations and also the radial configuration of the network

was solved using a robust commercial software.

In the proposed method a branching technique to avoid

infeasible operation cases and also a local improvement technique are included.

Results obtained show the capability of the method to find

an expansion plan to distribution networks and the topology

obtained in some tests were identical to those presented in

the literature, but the final total cost obtained in this work

is smaller. Results show, also, the capacity of the method in

solving problems in which construction of new substations is

possible.

R EFERENCES

[1] T. Gonen, Electric Power Distribution Systems Engineering. New York:

McGraw-Hill, 1986.

[2] R. H. Fletcher and K. Strunz, Optimal Distribution System Horizon

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