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A Common Modeling Platform for the
Multiphase Analysis and Simulation of Modern
Distribution Systems in Offline and Distribution
Management System Applications

A Common Modeling Platform for the
Multiphase Analysis and Simulation of Modern
Distribution Systems in Offline and Distribution
Management System Applications

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Multiphase Analysis and Simulation of Modern

Distribution Systems in Offline and Distribution

Management System Applications

Ilhan Kocar, Member, IEEE

cole Polytechnique de Montreal

Montreal, Canada

i.kocar@polymtl.ca

Abstract--The interconnection of distributed resources to

unbalanced distribution systems, the increasing availability of

more precise network data, and the need for accurate modeling

of networks from subtransmission level to meshed secondary

levels in dense urban areas require comprehensive analysis and

simulation tools. This paper demonstrates a common solution

platform in a compact form for the analysis and simulation of

complex distribution networks by integrating the recent research

efforts in the field, and discusses new avenues for improvement.

The modeling approach is general, in multiphase frame and can

be applied to all power system network levels. It creates a

universal platform for all types of analysis commonly used in

offline tools such as short circuit, fault flow, load flow and

harmonic analysis. In addition, the modeling approach is also

applicable to multiphase state estimation which is an essential

part of Distribution Management Systems. The performance and

validity of the method is demonstrated with very large scale and

realistic distribution systems.

Keywords-- Power system analysis, distribution systems, load

flow, short circuit, state estimation, unbalanced networks, sparse

matrix methods

I. INTRODUCTION

facilities and improvement of energy efficiency

accordingly, and the assessment of the impact and benefits

of distributed resources require enhanced and comprehensive

simulation tools. The performance of the solvers is also

critical since it will allow simulation of the quasi-continuous

operation of distribution systems over the long time periods

required to analyze economic benefits of smart grid assets and

their respective operational strategies. Accordingly,

distribution engineering tools are continuously improved in

order to provide more accurate simulation platforms, handle

more devices and minimize the misleading assumptions on the

circuit configuration. It is of interest to introduce general

approaches and generic modeling capabilities based directly

on the actual circuit of the network.

This paper presents a unified and general modeling

approach based on the use of modified augmented nodal

analysis (MANA) matrices for the simulation of distribution

systems from sub-transmission level to meshed secondary grid

networks by incorporating the recent research work. Besides

from typical offline studies such as multiphase short circuit

summary, fault flow and power flow, the modeling approach

can be also used for multiphase state estimation of meshed

POWERENG 2013

management applications. The sparse matrix formulation and

the juxtaposition of components in the matrix bring the

potential to allow high performance and the application of

parallelization techniques in the solution of large scale

systems without manual separation and manipulation of

physical network.

A practical load flow solution algorithm is also proposed in

the paper. The load flow solution of a large scale and realistic

network is presented in order to demonstrate the use of the

presented modeling approach. In case of short circuit summary

computations and state estimation application, a summary

with relevant references is provided.

II. BACKGROUND

The basic system matrix is built by addressing modified

augmented nodal analysis (MANA) approach in [1] and

results in a sparse matrix that can be efficiently solved by

using sparse LU factorization algorithms.

It is helpful first to point out the differences with the

classical nodal analysis formulation and to review the

fundamental elements of the augmented matrix.

The classical nodal analysis formulation which can be

found in many textbooks is of the form

YV =I

(1)

where Y is the nodal admittance matrix (Y bus), V is the

vector of node voltages and I is a vector containing

independent current sources.

The assumption that an admittance model exists for every

component is a significant limitation for the nodal admittance

formulation. For example, the direct representation of ideal

switches, branch relations and devices with voltage and

current relations is not possible [2]-[4]. These limitations can

be eliminated using the concept of modified augmented matrix

formulation as originally introduced in [1] and extended in

different ways in [5]-[7].

A. Augmented Matrix Formulation

The main system of equations is given as follows by using

the MANA formulation [1], [7]:

367

Yn

Vadj

Dbdepr

S

adj

t

Vadj

Dbdepc

t

Sadj

Vn In

0 I Vs Vs

=

0 I Vd 0

S z ISW 0

t

t

Vadj

( k , q ) = 1, Vadj

( m , q ) = 1

(2)

or

Ax = b

Yn is the linear network admittance,

(3)

source types,

Dbdepr and Dbdepc (row and column contribution matrices)

are used for holding branch dependent relations (for

transformers),

S adj is the adjacency matrix of closed switch type devices,

S z is a diagonal and unitary matrix for open switch type

devices. It is also used to accommodate switch impedances in

fault flow computations and to model parallel switches [7].

Vn is the vector of unknown node voltages,

(6)

(7)

Vs ( q ) = vs

Equation (5) is used to account for the voltage source

relation(4). Equation (6) stands for the sum of currents exiting

nodes k and m.

2.Ideal Transformer Model

An ideal transformer can be represented with the circuit

given in Fig. 1. It consists of a dependent voltage source and a

dependent current source. Its equation is

(8)

vk 2 vm 2 gvk1 + gvm1 = 0

where g is the transformation ratio.

If an ideal transformer model is numbered as q in the list of

dependent branch functions, then its contribution is

Dbdepr (q, k2 ) = 1, Dbdepr (q, m2 ) = 1

(9)

Dbdepr (q, k1 ) = g , Dbdepr (q, m1 ) = g

and

Dbdepc (k2 , q) = 1, Dbdepc (m2 , q) = 1

(10)

the multiport case.

source branches (such as transformer winding currents),

I SW is the vector of unknown switch currents

I n is the vector of known nodal current injections,

Vs is the vector of known voltages.

The ground node is numbered as 0 and not used in the

system. Bold characters stand for matrices or vectors.

The voltage and current variables in (2) are all phasors

whereas admittance variables are complex quantities.

Equation (2) expands the classical admittance matrix

formulation Y by augmenting the admittance matrix equations

with additional and arbitrary device equations. As opposed to

the classical nodal analysis, MANA allows ideal branch

dependency relations for transformers, and voltage sources

and ideal switches are handled in a straightforward manner.

MANA has several advantages over classical nodal analysis

such as ease of diakoptics (network partitioning), juxtaposition

of arbitrary device objects in the matrix equation and

elimination of pre- post- processing for the computation of

branch currents for key elements such as voltage sources and

ideal switches. These features are very useful in professional

software applications. The primitive admittances are described

in full three-phase ohmic values in A. The construction of A

matrix is briefly explained here to maintain the integrity of the

paper.

1.Independent Voltage Sources

If a voltage source is connected between any nodes k and

m, then

(4)

vk vm = vs

where vs Vs . This places a 1 in column k and a 1 in

column m of the voltage source equation line in Vadj . If the

voltage source is numbered as q in the list of voltage sources,

then

Vadj (q, k ) = 1, Vadj (q, m) = 1

(5)

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ik2m2

k2

k1

-g ik2m2

g(vk1 - vm1)

m2

m1

Fig. 1 Representation of ideal transformer

3.Switches

If a switch is connected between two arbitrary nodes k and

m, and if the switch is closed vk vm = 0 , then it is needed to

use a 1 in column k and a 1 in column m of the switch

equation line in Sadj . For the switch numbered q in the list of

switches:

(11)

t

S adj

(k , q)

(12)

= 1,

t

S adj

( m, q )

= 1

S z (q, q ) = 0

Sadj (q, k ) = 0, Sadj (q, m) = 0

(13)

(14)

t

t

Sadj

(k , q ) = 0, S adj

( m, q ) = 0

(15)

S z (q, q ) = 1

(16)

The need for detailed analysis of secondary grid systems

found in dense urban areas and modeling of distribution

networks including the sub transmission level, put forward the

use of matrix based load flow techniques as opposed to ladder

iterative or so called backward forward sweep techniques [8].

368

flow analysis is performed with fixed point iterations. The

following procedure is proposed in this paper:

1. The passive network is decoupled from load conversion

devices such as loads, generators etc. Initially, the slack bus is

represented with an ideal source, and it is maintained in Vadj

and Vs . Other generators are removed from Vadj and Vs

since they will be represented with current injections.

2. Loads are converted to RL branches assuming nominal

voltages. These branches are placed in the submatrix Yn of the

main system of equations.

3. The linear solution of (2) is obtained. Naturally, there is

a mismatch between the specified power constraints of loads

and the power consumed by their RL equivalents unless the

load is constant impedance type. The power mismatches of

loads can be represented with current injections without

touching RL equivalents. This can be best illustrated with a

symbolic example. Let us assume that, at a given iteration, the

voltage at the terminals of a load is given by V . In this case,

the necessary current injection in order to match the specified

power of the load device is given by

where S specified

V

S specified

I inj =

(17)

V

is the specified power of the load and Z is the

4. The current injections due to all the other pertinent

power conversion devices such as PV devices are computed

and equation (2) is re-solved with the updated b vector. No

refactorization is necessary.

5. The solution of (2) provides updated voltages (vector x)

which are used in order to compute the updated current

injections. Iterations are extended till the desired convergence

criterion is met, which is measured using the difference in

voltages between two consecutive iterations.

This solution procedure is similar to the one used in [8], but

applied to MANA formulation. It can be considered as the

sequential solution of Ax=b, A being constant.

Instead of using current injections, it may be an option to

update the RL equivalents after each iteration step according

to the specified power flow constraints; however, this option

should be avoided for two reasons: the solver becomes more

likely to diverge and refactorization of A will be required at

each iteration step. The divergence problem can be

demonstrated with very simple IEEE 4 Node test cases with

unbalanced loading.

The presented methodology has high performance and

good convergence characteristics for distribution systems.

In case of divergence it is always possible to switch to

Newton solution [5] by removing the loads from Yn and

populating them at the bottom of the matrix A together with

other load flow constraints. This form lends itself well also to

state estimation using Hatchels matrix [17]. In state

estimation formulation, the MANA formulation allows the

direct and simple integration of all measurements including

power injection and voltage magnitude. It keeps the original

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topologies. As opposed to previous approaches [18]-[23], the

state estimation of transformer and regulator tap positions is

also possible.

IV. FAULT FLOW STUDIES

The above formulation (2) allows solving the power system

in steady-state using the actual multi-phase circuit. There are

no sequence networks or assumptions on the network

topology. Line couplings and shunt magnetizing currents are

fully accounted. Steady state short circuit currents along with

currents through protective devices and transformer windings,

the contribution of all sources including distributed resources

can be directly evaluated by using (2) after converting the

circuit into its linear equivalent based on load flow results or

nominal quantities [7] and representing the fault with open or

closed switches. The procedure is as follows:

- Substations are replaced by ideal sources behind short

circuit impedance.

- Balanced or unbalanced loads are modeled using constant

impedance calculated at operating voltage.

- All control equipment (voltage regulators, LTC, switched

capacitors) is set to their pre-fault values.

- Protective devices are represented with switches.

The procedure for equivalent linear circuit derivation is

very similar to that of conventional short circuit methodology,

however the formulation is multiphase. The use of

conventional methodology is very common among North

American distribution utilities since it allows taking into

account the operating voltages and pre-fault load currents

which may become comparable to the fault currents at distant

laterals. IEC and AINSI/IEEE standards do not consider prefault load currents [9]-[11].

If the circuit is converted to its linear equivalent using load

flow results, the solution of (2) should still produce load-flow

results. The fault condition can then be represented by

additional switches with or without impedances depending on

the fault condition. Since the switches are entered at the

bottom of the augmented matrix A, this modification is simple

to manage. By solving the MANA formulation actual postfault voltages are computed in addition to switch currents and

source currents.

Let us consider a three phase to ground fault (LLLG)

applied to arbitrary nodes numbered as {a,b,c} as shown in

Fig. 2. The fault is represented with three closed switches and

fault impedance is explicitly represented which becomes

important if the network is not balanced. If the switches are

numbered as p, q and r; the following three equations can be

added to the bottom of A.

Va Z p iswp Z f (iswp + iswq + iswr ) = 0

(18)

For the switch q, the corresponding sub-matrices take the

following form

369

S adj (q, b) = 1

(19)

S z ( q, q ) = Z f Z q

(20)

S z ( q, p ) = Z f

(21)

S z ( q, r ) = Z f

(22)

categories of faults, i.e., single-phase-to-ground, phase-tophase, double-phase-to-ground, bolted-three-phase, and opencircuit.

Open faults due to protective device failures are not

demanding either. It is sufficient to change the status of the

corresponding switch from closed to open. In fact, it is

possible to combine any number of any kinds of fault by

adding any number of switches.

Zr

RLC +

Zq

r

RLC +

Zp

q

RLC +

a

b

c

+

Zf

There are several distributed resource technologies

available; however the behavior of the DG is related to the

electrical converter it uses. Three types of electrical converters

can be considered when short circuit currents are evaluated:

synchronous generators, asynchronous generators (including

doubly-fed) and electrical inverters or electronically coupled

generators (ECG). Unlike the case for synchronous and

asynchronous machines, the modeling of ECG in fault studies

has not been fully identified. Short circuit standards do not

treat ECG [9]-[11].

If an inverter is designed as self-commuted, it can usually

supply fault current for an extended time. ECG units can limit

the fault current to about 100% to 200% of normal load

current. ECG unit can also instantaneously trip once it detects

a short circuit current above a certain predefined limit [12].

The power electronics and control topology involved have an

effect on fault contribution; consequently two PV arrays of

similar power ratings may have completely different grid

interface. But still, a few generalizations can be made. First, it

can be assumed that the DC link voltage stays constant before

and after the fault [13]. In addition, since the transient

response of ECG is very quick, for conventional short-circuit

analysis it can be assumed that the subtransient, transient and

steady state ECG fault contributions will stay the same.

The modeling of ECG in (2) as a constant voltage source

behind internal impedance or as a constant current source is

straightforward. However, if the ECG is considered to provide

POWERENG 2013

transient response, then iterative solution of (2) may be

required for remote enough faults. In [14], two models are

suggested: a current source for the maximum permitted value

for near faults and a constant PQ source for remote faults.

V. SHORT CIRCUIT SUMMARY

In short circuit summary computations short circuit

currents need to be calculated at every node. The network

conditions are not sought after. In this case representing the

fault with switches as shown above will be time consuming

since it will be necessary to redo the LU factorization every

time the switches are relocated to another node.

It is also possible to compute the short circuit currents

through Thevenin impedance matrix observed at the faulted

bus Z th . Note that the inverse of A contains multiphase

Thevenin impedance matrices seen at every bus. Although this

procedure seems convenient for short circuit summary

computations since refactorization of A is avoided, it still

remains time consuming due to the full inversion procedure

which is computed vector by vector.

On the other hand, by using a selected inversion algorithm

developed for symmetric matrices [15], the full inversion of A

can be avoided given that matrix A is symmetric, and

remarkable gains in computational efficiency can be observed

[16].

The MATLAB script for the computation of selected

matrix elements of the inverse of a sparse symmetric matrix is

provided here [15] in order to demonstrate the idea of selected

inversion. Note that the algorithm below provides the required

Thevenin impedances for the computation of short circuit

currents.

TABLE I

SELECTED INVERSION

% Ainv is the selected inverse (sparse)

% L and D factors are known

Ainv(n, n)=1/D(n);

for j = n-1:-1:1

%find the row indices of the nonzero elements in

%the j-th column of L

inz = j + find(L(j+1:n,j)~=0);

Ainv(inz, j) = - Ainv(inz, inz)*L(inz, j);

Ainv(j, inz) = Ainv(inz, j);

Ainv(j, j) = 1/D(j) - Ainv(j, inz)*L(inz, j);

end;

The IEEE 8500-node shown in Fig. 3 is available through

web since 2010 [24]. It is a relatively large network that can

be used to evaluate the performance of load flow solvers [25].

The summary of network devices is given in Table I. The

sparsity pattern of the augmented matrix is presented in Fig. 4.

Table II present the solution time details for different

solvers when tap positions are forced using published results.

All algorithms have been programmed using m-files in

MATLAB and sparse matrices. In terms of solution time the

fixed point method is the fastest. This is due to the fact that the

factorization of the matrix A is done only once and sequential

solutions are performed by just updating the b vector.

The solution time with the BFS method is longer.

370

M102690

Regulator

Capacitor

E192860

M1047303

L2955077

0

2000

4000

6000

8000

to solve unbalanced distribution systems.

The results of the short-circuit analysis using the presented

algorithms is shown in Table III. In phase coordinates, the

phase of the fault is important; in Table III only the maximum

current observed is presented for a given fault type. As

expected, there is a very good match with the published results

with a tolerance of less than 0.1%. It is important to indicate

that, published results do not account for loads, assume

nominal Thevenin voltages, neglect capacitor banks and set

tap positions to nominal, and the substation impedances are

taken as follows:

Z1 = 0.7673 + j 4.7852

(23)

Z0 = 0.3474 + j8.518

The augmented matrix formulation presented in this paper

allows accounting for shunt elements, loads and load flow

voltages if desired.

Following the selected inversion procedure, the selected

inverse of the MANA matrix is obtained and its sparsity

pattern is provided in Fig. 5. This matrix contains all the

necessary elements in order to build Z th at every bus. Note

that, the inverse of MANA matrix is normally a full matrix,

but the selected inversion procedure computes only a subset of

entries of the inverse of MANA matrix. Since there is a

significant reduction in arithmetic operations, the performance

of the solution improves considerably. The difference is more

significant for larger systems as will be demonstrated.

TABLE III

IEEE 13 NODE TEST FEEDER SHORT CIRCUIT CURRENTS

10000

12000

14000

0

2000

4000

6000

8000

nz = 61875

Fig. 4 Sparsity pattern of the augmented matrix of the IEEE 8500 Node Test

System

TABLE II

SOLUTION TIMES WITH FIXED REGULATOR TAPS (IN SECONDS)

Process

Fixed Point

BFS

Translation and Data

Not Included

Not Included

Preparation

Initialize

0.030

0.09

Number of iterations

17

Timing for first

0.0110

iteration

Timing for other

0.0110

iterations

Ax=b solution (first

0.0013

iteration)

Ax=b solution (other

0.0013

iterations)

Update of A matrix

0.0097

and/or b vector*

Total Solution Time

0.2170

* The A matrix remains constant in Fixed Point Method

LLL

LG

LLLG

LLG

LL

Sub

ABC

RG60

ABC

8416.0

8478.7

8416.0

8445.9

7288.4

692

ABC

3176.2

2175.5

3176.2

2913.0

2750.7

684

AC

2002.7

2922.3

2661.4

2530.8

680

ABC

2747.0

1833.5

2747.0

2508.8

2378.9

17

0.21

675

ABC

2943.2

2061.3

2943.2

2679.9

2548.9

671

ABC

3176.2

2175.5

3176.2

2913.0

2750.7

0.21

652

650

ABC

8416.0

8445.9

7288.4

646

BC

2526.6

3117.2

2967.1

2820.2

3491.7

3298.8

NA

NA

1783.7

8416.0

8478.7

645

BC

NA

634

ABC

3.66

633

ABC

3980.4

2927.3

3980.4

3669.3

3447.1

632

ABC

4617.5

3468.5

4617.5

4305.4

3998.9

611

The IEEE 13-Node Test Feeder is one of the several test

feeders provided by the IEEE PES Distribution System

Analysis Subcommittee [25]. The test feeders are intended to

POWERENG 2013

Nodes Phases

1852.8

371

[8]

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

0

10

20

30

nz = 342

40

50

Fig. 5 The selected inversion of the augmented matrix for the IEEE 13 Node

Test Feeder

VII. CONCLUSIONS

This paper demonstrated a unified modeling approach for

the steady state analysis of distribution systems by using the

concept of augmented matrices. The use of MANA for load

flow studies using a fixed point algorithm has also been

demonstrated for the first time and compared to the commonly

used BFS technique for the 8500 node IEEE test feeder.

Currently the research efforts are canalized to multiphase

transient stability aspects and dynamic phasor solution using

the MANA formulation as basis.

[1]

[2]

[3]

[4]

[5]

[6]

[7]

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http://sourceforge.net/projects/electricdss.

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Ilhan Kocar (M2004) received the B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical and

electronics engineering from Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi, Ankara, Turkey

in 1998 and 2003, respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering

from cole Polytechnique de Montreal (affiliated with Universit de

Montral), Montral, QC, Canada in 2009.

He worked as a Project Engineer for Aselsan Electronics Inc. in between

1998 and 2004. He worked as an R&D Engineer for the CYME International

T&D part of Cooper Power Systems in between 2009 and 2011. He joined the

faculty at cole Polytechnique de Montral in 2011. His research interests

cover all aspects of power system analysis, modeling and simulation. Ilhan

Kocar has had several contributions to professional grade power system

analysis and simulation tools.

372

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