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International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Engineering (IJETE)

Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2016, ISSN 2348 8050

Application of Particle Swarm Optimization Algorithm for Solving Power

Economic Dispatch with Prohibited operating zones and Ramp-rate limit
S. Prabakaran*, Road Lakshminarayana Rao**
*Assistant professor in EEE, SCSVMV University, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu , India
** M.E. Student in Power System, SCSVMV University, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu , India

This study proposes a Particle Swarm Optimization
(PSO) algorithm for solving Power Economic Dispatch
(PED) considering units with Prohibited Operating
Zones (POZ) and Ramp-rate limit (RRL) constraints.
The PSO algorithm was developed through the
simulation of a simplified social system and has been
formed to be robust in solving continuous nonlinear
optimization problems in terms of accuracy of the
solution and it can outperform the other algorithms.
The proposed PSO algorithm is applied for the PED of
three unit and six unit thermal systems. The
performance of the proposed PSO algorithm is
compared with other methods which are presented in
the references. The comparison of results shows that
the proposed PSO algorithm is indeed capable of
obtaining higher quality solutions.
Key words: Evolutionary Programming (EP), Power
Economic Dispatch (PED),Prohibited Operating
Zones (POZ), Particle Swarm Optimization
(PSO),Ramp rate limit constraints (RRL).



The PED problem is one of the most important

optimization problems in a power system for allocating
generation among the committed units to satisfy the
system constraints imposed and minimize the energy
requirements [1]. Power generators may possess some
POZ between theirminimum and maximum generation
limits, because of the practical limitations of power
plant elements and operating in those zones may cause
amplification of vibrations in a shaft bearing, which
must beavoided in practice. The PED problem
becomes a non-convex optimization problem because
theprohibited regions separate the decision space into
solutionspace [2]. The economic scheduling is the online economic load dispatch , where it is required to
distribute the load among the generating units, in such
a way to minimize the total operating cost of

generating units while satisfying system equality and

in equality constraints. For any specified load
condition , determines the power output of each plant
and each generating unit within the plant which will
minimize the overall cost of fuel needed to serve the
system load[3]. Many conventional methods such as
Lambda iteration method, Newtons method, Gradient
Method, Linear programming method, Interior point
method and Dynamic programming method have been
applied to solve the basic economic dispatch(ED)
problems [4]. In all these methods, the fuel cost
function considered as quadratic in nature. However,
in reality, the input-output characteristics of the
generating units are to be non-linear due to prohibited
operating zones, and ramp rate limit constraints. The
Lambda-iteration method has been applied to many
software packages and used by power utilities for
solving ED problems due to ease of implementation.
Since the lambda iteration method requires a
continuous problem formulation, it cannot be directly
applied to PED problems with discontinuous
prohibited operating zones. For the selection of initial
conditions, Newtons method is very much sensitive
[5]. Gradient method suffers from the problem of
convergence in the presence of inequality constraints.
Linear programming method provides optimal results
in less computational time but results are not accurate
due to linearization of the problem. Interior point
method is faster than the linear programming method,
but it may provide infeasible solution if the step size is
not chosen properly [5]. Dynamic Programming (DP)
method is one of the best conventional approach to
solve the ED problems with non-convex and unit cost
functions. However, the DP method may cause the
problems of the curse of dimensionality or local
optimality [6] in the solution procedure. Practically,
ED problem is non-linear, non-convex type with
multiple local optimal points due to inclusion of
equality, inequality constraints, and prohibited
operating zones. Conventional/classical methods have
failed to solve such type of problems and converge
into local optimal solution [7]. All these methods
assume that the cost curve is continuous and
monotonically increasing. To overcome the problems
of conventional methods for solving ED problems, the

International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Engineering (IJETE)

Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2016, ISSN 2348 8050

researcher put into their step by using modern meta heuristic searching techniques, including simulated
annealing (SA) [8], Modified Hopfield network
method [9], Genetic Algorithm method (GA) [10],
Evolutionary Programming method [11-15], Tabu
search algorithm (TSA)[16], Particle swarm
optimization method(PSO) [17-20] have been applied
to solve the complex non-linear ED problems. But
some of the methods do not always guarantee a global
optimal solution.
In Simulate annealing method, annealing
schedule is very closely related to performance
optimization. However, a poor tuning of the annealing
schedule may inadvertently affect the performance of
simulated annealing. Hop field neural network method
requires external training routines. Recent researchers
have identified some deficiencies in GA performance
[10]. The immature convergence of GA degrades its
performance and reduces its search capability that
leads to a higher probability towards obtaining only the
local optimal solutions [17] .The another drawback of
GA is immature convergence leading to local minima
and the complicated process in coding and decoding
the problem [21]. Evolutionary programming method
for ED problem is more efficient than GA method in
computation time and can generate a high-quality
solution with a shorter calculation. Particle swarm
optimization is one of the latest versions of natural
inspired algorithms which characteristics of high
performance and easy implementation. PSO has a
character of parallel searching mechanism, so it has
high probability to determine the global (or) near
global optimal solutions for the non-linear ED
problems. The main drawback of the conventional
PSO is its premature convergence, especially while
handling the problems with more local optima and
heavier constraints [21]. A PSO algorithm is proposed
to solve non-linear ED problems taking into
consideration of power balance constraint, generator
operating limits, ramp rate limits and prohibited
operating zones.



The objective of PED problem is to minimize

the total generation cost of thermal generating units
while satisfying various system constraints, including
power balance equation, generator power limits,
prohibited operating zones and ramp rate limit
The problem of PED is multimodal, non-differentiable
and highly non-linear. Mathematically, the problem
can be stated as in (1) [2, 20]

Min FT Fi Pi
i i


where FT is the total fuel cost, N is the number of

generating units in the system. Fi Pi is the fuel cost
function of unit i and Pi is the output power of unit i.
Generally, the fuel cost of generation unit can be
expressed as
Fi Pi ai Pi2 bi Pi ci Rs hr


Where ai, bi and ci are the cost coefficients of unit i

Subject to
a) Real power balance constraint

Pi PD PLoss


i 1

Where PD is real power demand and PL is the

transmission loss.
The transmission loss (PL) can be expressed in a
quadratic function of generation (Using B-loss
coefficient matrix).

i 1 j 1

i 1

PL Pi Bij Pj B0i Pi B00


Where Pi and Pj are the power generation of ith and jth

units and Bij , Boi , Boo are the B loss coefficients
(b) Generator operating limits
The power output of each unit i restricted by its
maximum and
minimum limits of real power
generation and is given by
Pi m in Pi Pi m ax
Where Pi max and P i min are the maximum and
minimum generation limits on ith unit respectively.
(c) Prohibited operating zone constraints
The generators may have the certain range where
operation is restricted due to the physical limitation of
steam valve, component, vibration in shaft bearing
etc., The consideration of POZ creates a discontinuity
in fuel cost curve and converts the constraint as below
Pi m in Pi Pi ,1

Pi Piu, k 1 Pi Pi ,Lk
Pi , zi Pi Pi m ax

and ,
are the lower and upper boundary
of K prohibited operating zone of unit i, k is the index
of the prohibited operating zone, and Zi is the number
of prohibited operating zones (Figure1)

i = 1,2,3,..,N

International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Engineering (IJETE)

Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2016, ISSN 2348 8050

Figure 1. Cost function with Prohibited operating

(d) Ramp rate limit constraints
The generator constraints due to ramp rate limits of
generating units are given as
(1) As generation increases
Pi (t ) Pi (t 1) URi


(2) As generation decreases

Pi (t 1) Pi (t ) DRi


Therefore the generator power limit constraints can

be modified as
Max( Pi min , Pi (t 1) DRi ) Pi (t ) Min( Pi max, Pi (t 1) URi ) (9)
From eqn. (9), the limits of minimum and maximum
output powers of generating units are modified as
Pi min Max( Pi min , Pi (t 1) DRi )
Pi max Min ( Pi max, Pi (t 1) URi )


Where Pi(t) is the output power of generating unit i in

the time interval (t), Pi(t-1), is the output power of
generating unit i in the previous time interval (t-1), URi
is the up ramp limit of generating unit i and DRi is the
down ramp limit of generating unit i.
The ramp rate limits of the generating units with all
possible cases are shown in Figure 2.

This modification is represented by the

concept of velocity. Velocity of each agent could be
modified by the following equation (12)

Figure 2. Ramp rate limits of generating units


proposed and investigated. Mutation is often

implemented by adding a random number or a vector
from a certain distribution (e.g., a Gaussian
distribution in the case of classical EP) to a parent. The
degree of variation of Gaussian mutation is controlled
by its standard deviation, which is also known as a
strategy parameter in an evolutionary search . EP is
near global stochastic optimization method starting
from multiple points, which placed emphasis on the
behavioural linkage between parents and their
offspring rather than seeking to emulate specific
genetic operators as observed in nature to find an
optimal solution.
Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) is a
population based stochastic optimization technique
which can be effectively used to solve the non-linear
and non-continuous optimization problems. It inspired
by social behaviour of bird flocking or fish schooling.
The PSO algorithm searches in parallel using a group
of random particles similar to other AI-based
optimization techniques.
Eberhart and Kennedy suggested a particle
swarm optimization based on the analogy of swarm of
bird and school of fish [15]. PSO is basically
developed through simulation of bird flocking in twodimensional space. The position of each agent is
represented by XY axis position, and also the velocity
is expressed by Vx (velocity of X axis) and Vy
(velocity of Y axis). Modification of the agent
(particle) position is realized by the position and
velocity information. Bird flocking optimizes a certain
objective function. Each agent knows its best value so
far (pbest) and its XY position. This information is the
analogy of personal experiences of each agent.
Moreover, each agent knows the best value so far in
the group (gbest) among pbests. This information is
the analogy of knowledge of how other agents around
them have performed. The particles are drawn
stochastically toward the position of present velocity
of each particle, their prior best performance and the
best previous performance of their neighbour [16-17].
Each agent tries to modify its position using the
following information:
1. The current position (x, y),
2. The current velocities (Vx, Vy),
3. The distance between the current position and pbest,
4. The distance between the current position and gbest.


Four-decade earlier EP was proposed for

evolution of finite state machines, in order to solve a
prediction task. Since then, several modifications,
enhancements and implementations have been

Vid(t 1) w Vid(t ) C1 rand ( ) pbestid Pid(t ) C2 Rand ( ) gbestd Pid(t )

i 1,2,..., n; d 1,2,..., m


International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Engineering (IJETE)

Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2016, ISSN 2348 8050

Where n is the population size, m is the

number of units and the w be the inertia weight
factor. Suitable selection of the inertia weight factors
provides a balance between global and local
explorations, thus requires fewer iteration on average
to find a sufficiently optimal solution [15]. In general,
the inertia weight w is set according to equation (13)
w wmax

wmax wmin
* iter


: Current searching point
P t+1
:Modified searching point
: Current velocity
V t+1
: Modified velocity
V pbest : Velocity based on pbest
Vgbest : Velocity based on gbest


Wmin and Wmax are the minimum and maximum
weight factors respectively.
Wmax =0.9; Wmin =0.4
:Current number of iterations
iter max:
1 , 2
: Acceleration constant, equal to 2
rand ( ), Rand ( ) : Random number value between 0
and 1
: Velocity of agent i at iteration t

: Current position of agent i at iteration t

pbest i : pbest of agent i
: gbest of the group
Using the above equation, a certain velocity, which
gradually gets close to pbest and gbest, can be
calculated. The current position can be modified by
equation (14)



The implementation of PSO method for

solving PED problem is given as follows and the
general flowchart of PSO is shown in Figure 4.
Step 1. Generate an initial population of particles with
random positions and velocity within the
solution space
Step 2. Calculate the value of the fitness function for
each particle
Step 3. To compare the fitness of each particle with
each pbest. If the current solution is better than
its pbest, then replace its pbest by the current
Step 4. Compare the fitness of all the particles with
gbest. If the fitness of any particle is better
than gbest, then replace gbest.
Step 5. Modify the velocity and position of all
particles according to equations (12) & (14).
Step 6. Repeat the steps 2-5 until a criterion is met.

Pid(t 1)

Pid(t )

Vid(t 1)

Generate an initial population of particles with
random positions and velocity

The first term of the right-hand side of

equation (12) is corresponding to diversification in the
search procedure. The second and third terms of that
are corresponding to intensification in the search
procedure. The PSO method has a well-balanced
mechanism to utilize diversification and intensification
in the search procedure efficiently. Figure 3 shows the
concept of modification of a searching point by PSO.

Calculate the value of the fitness function of each

Compare the fitness function of each particle and
assign the Pbest value

Compare the fitness function of all particles and

assign the gbest value

Update the velocity and position of all the particles

using eqn (7) and (9)



Figure 3. Concept of modification of a searching point
by PSO


Figure 4. General flowchart of PSO method


International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Engineering (IJETE)

Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2016, ISSN 2348 8050



To verify the feasibility of the proposed

approach, two different test systems are considered
such as three and six units with Ramp rate limits and
Prohibited operating zones constraints. Results of the
proposed approach are compared with EPand other
methods, which are presented in the literatures. 100
trails runs were performed and observed the variations
during the evolutionary process to reach convergence
characteristics and optimal solutions. The B-loss
coefficient matrix of power system network was
employed to calculate the transmission line losses. The
software was written in MatLab language and executed
on the third generation Intel Core i3 processor based
personal computer with 4 GB RAM. From the
comparison of results, the proposed PSO is found to be
better in solving the non-linear PED problems.
Test System 1:
A three-unit system is considered and the
system load demand is 300MW. The dimension of
population is 100*3 and number of generations are
100. 100 trail runs are conducted, and the best
solutions are shown in Table 1 that satisfies the system
constraints. The results of the proposed PSO method
are compared with EP, GA and2PNN methods. From
the comparison of the results, the fuel cost obtained by
the proposed PSO is better than the other methods.
Table 1. Results of three unit system with POZ and



































comparison of results, it clearly shows the proposed

PSO method gives minimum fuel cost than the other
Table 2. Results of six unit system with POZ and RRL




















































Fuel Cost








In this paper, the PSO algorithm is applied

successfully to solve PED problems. The proposed
PSO algorithm has been proved to have superior
features in terms of achieving better optimal solution
for reducing the fuel cost of the generating units. The
non-linear characteristics of the generators such as
ramp rate limits and prohibited operating zones are
considered for the selected test systems. The numerical
results shows that the effectiveness of the proposed
algorithm over the other methods.


Test system 2
The system contains six thermal units, 26
buses and 46 transmission lines [17]. The load
demand is 1263MW. The losses are calculated using
B-loss coefficient matrix. The dimension of the
population is 100*6 and number of generations is
taken as 100. 100 trial runs were conducted and the
best solutions are shown in Table2. The results
obtained by the proposed PSO method is compared
with EP, GA , BBO , and HHS methods. From the

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