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A novel optimization algorithm for optimal

reactive power dispatch: A comparative study

Conference Paper August 2011

DOI: 10.1109/DRPT.2011.5994144 Source: IEEE Xplore


22 98

3 authors:

Worawat Nakawiro I. Erlich

King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Lad University of Duisburg-Essen


Jos Luis Rueda

Delft University of Technology


Available from: Jos Luis Rueda

Retrieved on: 16 May 2016
A Novel Optimization Algorithm for Optimal
Reactive Power Dispatch: A Comparative Study
Worawat Nakawiro Istvn Erlich and Jos Luis Rueda
Institute of Electric Power Systems (EAN) Institute of Electric Power Systems (EAN)
University of Duisburg-Essen University of Duisburg-Essen
Duisburg, Germany Duisburg, Germany

AbstractOptimal reactive power dispatch (ORPD) is a key complex multimodal problems, these methods may be easily
instrument to achieve secure and economic operation of power trapped into a local optimum. Furthermore, their searching
systems. Due to complex characteristics of ORPD, heuristic performance depends on the appropriate parameter settings
optimization has become an effective solver. A novel heuristic [13]. Premature convergence and local stagnation are
optimization algorithm namely the Mean-Variance Mapping
frequently observed in many applications [14].
Optimization (MVMO) is proposed to handle the ORPD
problem. The concept, mechanism and implementation of Mean-variance mapping optimization (MVMO) originally
MVMO are discussed in this paper. Based on the IEEE 57- and proposed in [15] is a novel optimization algorithm. The basic
118- bus systems, MVMO is compared with some basic and concept of MVMO shares certain similarities to other heuristic
enhanced evolutionary algorithms. Simulation results show that approaches. However, the novel contribution in MVMO is the
MVMO is an excellent algorithm for ORPD and should deserve special mapping function. The shape and location of the
more attention. The superiority to the other algorithms is very mapping curve are adjusted according to the searching
pronounced in the IEEE 118-test case. process. The output of this mapping function is always inside
[0,1]. This means that MVMO can guarantee no violation of
Keywords-component; Reactive power dispatch, Mean-Variance
Mapping Optimization, Heuristic optimization
the variable limits during the searching process. Moreover,
MVOM updates the candidate solution around the best
I. INTRODUCTION solution in every iteration. Thanks to the well-designed
The optimal reactive power dispatch (ORPD) plays an balance between search diversification and intensification,
important role in optimal operation of electric power systems. MVMO can find the optimum quickly with minimum risk to
It is a complex nonlinear optimization problem with a mixture premature convergence. In power system optimization,
of continuous and discrete control variables. ORPD is a sub- MVMO was successfully applied to solve the optimal reactive
class of the optimal power flow (OPF) problem [1]. Generally, power dispatch of wind farms in [16]. In this paper, the
the control variables of ORPD consist of transformer tap MVMO algorithm is used to solve the ORPD problem on two
positions, generator set points (either reactive power injection standard test systems.
or voltage), and reactive power compensations. The objective The remaining of this paper is organized as follows. Section
of ORPD is to minimize transmission losses or other II presents a mathematical formulation of ORPD. The MVMO
concerned objective, such as voltage deviation from the algorithm for solving ORPD is described in details in section
desired level, etc. Furthermore, physical and operation III. In section IV, simulation results of MVMO are compared
constraints must be maintained within the allowable limits. with other heuristic methods on the IEEE 57- and 118- bus
Several classical gradient-based optimization algorithms systems. Finally, conclusion and future research direction are
have been applied to solve different ORPD problems such as drawn in section V.
[2-4]. These techniques are computationally fast. However, II. PROBLEM FORMULATION
they have difficulties in handling problems with the non-
convex or discontinuous landscape and discrete variables. The goal of ORPD is to determine the optimal settings of
In the past decade, heuristic optimization algorithms, such reactive power control variables leading to the minimum
as genetic algorithm (GA) [5, 6], particle swarm optimization power losses while maintaining several constraints. The
(PSO) [7, 8], differential evolution (DE) [9, 10], evolutionary problem can be mathematically described as follows.
programming (EP) [11], bacterial foraging optimization (BFO) Ploss = f ( x, u, d)
[12], etc have been applied in reactive power optimization.
Minimize (1)
These techniques have shown effectiveness in overcoming the (
= Gk ( i , j ) U i2 + U 2j 2U iU j cos ij )
disadvantages of classical algorithms. Specially, PSO and DE k v E

have received great attention from researchers because of their Subject to:
novelty and searching power. However, it does not mean that a) Generator bus voltage
these techniques do not have any limitations. In solving

978-1-4577-0365-2/11/$26.00 2011 IEEE 1555

work. The procedure of MVMO for solving the ORPD
UGimin UGi UGimax i = 1, 2,..., nG (2) problem with D variables can be summarized as follows.
b) Susceptance of shunt compensator
Step 1: Read power system data and set MVMO parameters
Bimin Bi Bimax i = 1, 2,..., nB (3) Step 2: Initialization: Initialize an initial vector x in [0,1] based
on the uniform random distribution.
c) Transformer tap setting
Step 3: Fitness evaluation: Denormalize x, run the power flow
tapimin tapi tapimax i = 1, 2,..., nT (4) and evaluate the fitness function.
d) Load bus voltage Step 4: Termination: Check the termination criteria. If yes,
terminate MVMO. Else, continue to step 5.
ULimin ULi U Limax i = 1, 2,..., nPQ (5) Step 5: Solution archive: Store x, fitness value, objective value
and feasibility to the archive if x is better than any of
e) Line flow
existing solutions.
SFi SFimax i = 1, 2,..., nL (6) Step 6: Based on the archived solutions, compute mean xi and
where Ploss is the total active power losses of the transmission variance vi for each dimension i.
network. The vector of control variables is u=[UG B tap]Tand
Step 7: Parent assignment: Assign the best archived solution
(2)-(4) are the corresponding limits. nG , nB and nT denote the xbest as the parent.
number of generators, shunt compensators and transformers, Step 8: Variable selection: Select m < D dimensions of x.
respectively. The vector of state (dependent) variables is
x=[UL SF]T and (5)-(6) are the corresponding limits. Step 9: Mutation: Apply the mapping function to the selected m
nPQ and nL denote the number of load (PQ) buses and
Step 10: Crossover: Set the remaining D-m dimensions of x to
transmission lines, respectively. The vector d=[PD QD]T the values of xbest
contains active and reactive power demand at all load buses.
In every update of the control vector u, the state vector x; Step 11: Go to step 3.
the load bus voltage both magnitude and angle are computed Fig. 1 MVMO implementation procedure for ORPD
by the power flow equations given by:
A. Fitness evaluation and constraint handling
0 = PGi PDi U i U j Yij cos( i j ij ) (7) For each individual, a power flow calculation is performed,
j =1 feasibility of the solution is checked and a fitness value f is
N assigned. For a minimization problem, an individual is better
0 = QGi QDi U i U j Yij sin( i j ij ) (8) if the fitness is smaller. The static penalty scheme is used in
j =1
this study to handle constraints. Because the control variables
where PGi and QGi are active and reactive power generation at in x are self-restricted, all dependent variables are constrained
bus i, respectively; PDi and QDi are active and reactive power by applying the integrated fitness function as follows:
load at bus i, respectively; Yij is the admittance matrix n
min f = f + i max [ 0, gi ]

corresponding to the ith row jth column and ij is the difference (9)
in the voltage angle between the ith and jth buses; N is the total i =1

number of buses. where f is the original objective function; n is the number of

constraints; is the order of the penalty term (usually 1 or 2);
i is the penalty coefficient of the constraint i and gi is the
MVMO operates on a single solution rather than a set of inequality constraint i represented by:
solutions like in many EAs. The internal searching space of all
variables in MVMO is restricted in [0,1]. Hence, the real g i (x, u) 0 (10)
min/max boundaries of variables have to be normalized to 0
where x is the vector of state variables and u is the vector
and 1. During the iteration it is not possible that any
control variables. Other constraint handling techniques are
component of the solution vector will violate the also applicable to MVMO.
corresponding boundaries. To achieve this goal, a special
mapping function is developed. The inputs of this function are B. Termination criteria
mean and variance of the best solutions that MVMO has The MVMO search process is terminated based on
discovered so far. The elegant property of MVMO is the completion of the pre-specified number of fitness evaluations
ability to search around the local best-so-far solution with a (power flow calculations in ORPD) or no improvement in the
small chance of being trapped into one of the local optimums. best fitness over the last s fitness evaluations. In this paper, the
This feature is contributed to the strategy for handling the first criterion was adopted.
zero-variance. Further details are referred to our previous

C. Solution archive than strategy 1. However, this observation is still neither
The solution archive (SA) serves as the knowledge base of general nor conclusive. The performance is also problem-
the algorithm for guiding the searching direction. The best n dependent.
individuals that MVMO has found so far are saved in the SA.
Here the data structure of SA is slightly modified from the
original one in [15] in order to handle constraints. Two
information; fitness and feasibility of each individual are
additionally stored as shown in Fig. 2.

# Objective Fitness Feasibility
x1 x2 xi xD

xi --- --- ---
vi --- --- ---
Fig. 2 Data structure of the solution archive
To avoid losing a good solution in constrained
optimization problems, the following rules are set up to
compare the individual generated at each iteration and existing
archived solutions.
Any feasible solution is preferred to any infeasible
Fig. 3 Variable selection strategies (m=3)
Between two feasible solutions, the one having better 3) Mutation
For each of the m selected dimension, mutation is used to
objective value is preferred;
assign a new value of that variable. Given a uniform random
Between two infeasible solutions, the one having
number xi [0,1] , the new value of the i component xi is
smaller fitness value (smaller constraint violation) is
preferred. determined by:
An update takes place only if the new individual is better
than those in the archive. The archive size is fixed for the entire xi = hx + (1 h1 + h0 ) xi' h0 (11)
process. The archived individuals are dynamically sorted so
that the first ranked individual is always the best. Feasible where hx, h1 and h0 are the outputs of the transformation
solutions are placed in the upper part of the archive. Among mapping function based on different inputs given by:
these solutions, they are sorted based on their original objective hx = h(ui = xi' ), h0 = h(ui = 0), h1 = h(ui =1) (12)
values. Infeasible solutions are sorted according to their fitness
values and then placed on the lower part of the archive. Once Note that the output of (11) is always inside [0,1] for every
the archive is filled up by n feasible solutions, any infeasible generated xi. The mapping function is parameterized as
candidate solution does not have chance to be saved in the follows:
h( xi , si1 , si 2 , ui ) = xi (1 eui si1 ) + (1 xi ) e(1ui )si 2 (13)
D. Reproduction
Reproduction refers to the process in which an offspring is where si1 and si2 are shape factors allowing asymmetrical
created. In MVMO, it refers to the steps 7-11 of the procedure slopes of the mapping function. Interested readers are referred
shown in Fig. 1. The details of each component are described to our previous work [15] for further details on how to set the
in the following subsections. two different shape factors. The slope is calculated by:
1) Parent assignment si = ln( vi ) fs (14)
The first ranked (best-so-far) solution denoted as xbest is
assigned as the parent. where fs is a MVMO parameter namely the shape scaling
2) Variable selection factor.
MVMO searches around the mean saved in the archive for Fig. 4 shows an example of the mapping function with a
the better solution only in m selected directions. This means uniform shape factor of 10 for two optimization variables x1
that only these m selected dimensions of the offspring will be and x2. The actual range of the two variables is -2.048 x1,x2
updated while the remaining D-m dimensions take the 2.048. Observe that the mean xi is an input of (13). Assume
corresponding values from xbest. Four strategies for selecting that the mean of the two variables is at -1 and 1, respectively.
the variables were implemented in MVMO as shown in Fig. 3. In the normalized scale, these correspond to 0.256 and 0.744.
From our experience, strategies 2 to 4 generally perform better It is clearly shown in the left of Fig. 4 that the curves are flat

around the two mean values. This means that most of the the learning rate and inertia weight are internally specified
samples drawn from these functions will center around -1 and according Clercs stagnation analysis. The crossover rate CR
1 in the actual scale. However, notice that the range of these and the scaling factor F of DE are specified by 0.2 and 0.6,
functions span over the entire range between 0 and 1. This respectively. The parameters CR and F are self-adapted in
characteristic gives chances for random samplings to cover the JADE whereby the population size PS must be specified by
entire search space by getting away of the mean values. The the user. In JADE-vPS, the parameter PS is dynamically
right of Fig. 4 shows 10000 samples randomly generated from adjusted during the searching process. The internal parameters
the mapping function in the left. of MVMO are set as follows: fs = 1; AF = 2.5 and sd= 25. The
variable selection is selected to the strategy 3 (see Fig. 3) and
the number of random variable m is chosen to 6 at the
beginning and progressively declined to 2 in every 1000 FEs.
The size of solution archive is fixed to 2.
The termination criterion is the maximum number of
function (power flow) evaluations (FEs). All programs were
implemented in MATLAB R2010a. The computing
environment is Intel Core 2 Quad CPU 2.83 GHz and 3.25 GB
RAM memory. The software package namely PAST is used.
Because the most time-consuming parts in these methods are
the repeated power flow calculations and the number of such
calculations is fixed, the computational time of all algorithms
is not significantly different. The comparison in this paper will
be based on quality of the final results.
Fig. 4 Mapping function (left) and corresponding two dimensional A. Simulation results- case 57
searching space (right) The IEEE 57-bus system consists of seven generators, 80
4) Crossover lines where 15 of which are equipped with ULTC
For the remaining D-m dimensions, the values of xbest are transformers. Shunt reactive power compensators are
inherited. This process is equivalent to evolutionary processes connected to buses 18, 25 and 53. The limit of these
where an offspring is a combination of two parents. susceptances is [0,0.2], [0,0.18] and [0,0.18], respectively.
Therefore, the ORPD search space has 25 dimensions. The
population size PS of PSO, DE and JADE and the initial value
The IEEE 57- and 118- bus systems are used as the test of PS in JADE-vPS is set to 50.
cases and named as case 57 and case 118, respectively to
Table I Statistical results case 57
examine the performance of MVMO and compare it with
other heuristic algorithms. The system data of the two cases MVMO PSO DE JADE JADE-vPS
are taken from [17]. For both test systems, the lower and upper
Minimum 24.8512 24.8479 24.8360 24.8493 24.8451
limits of load bus voltages are 0.95 p.u. and 1.05 p.u.,
respectively. Generator voltages at the high voltage terminal Average 24.9917 24.9336 24.8701 24.9494 24.9565
are defined as continuous variables. The lower and upper Maximum 25.2608 25.1642 25.0307 25.2044 25.3768
limits are set to 0.94 p.u. and 1.06 p.u., respectively. Discrete
control variables consist of transformer tap positions and the Standard deviation 0.1029 0.0671 0.0352 0.0666 0.0896
susceptance of shut compensators. All under-load tap
changing (ULTC) transformers are assumed to have 21
discrete taps within 10% of the nominal voltage (1% for each MVMO
tap). Each transformer tap is defined by an integer between - PSO
34 DE
10 to 10. These ULTC data are fictitious values. The number JADE
of taps and the voltage range in practical cases can be JADE-vPS
Power losses (MW)

different. All shunt compensators have 11 discrete steps of
different ratings (defined by an integer between 0 to 10). 30
For the two test cases, the performance of MVMO is
compared with the following algorithms. 28
1. PSO: a standard PSO version 2007 [18];
2. DE: a basic DE namely DE/current-to-best/1 [19, 26
3. JADE: an adaptive DE algorithm [13] and 24
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
4. JADE-vPS: a modified JADE algorithm [21]. No. of function evaluations 4
x 10
The difference between the latter two algorithms is the Fig. 5 Average convergence characteristics - case 57
adaptive scheme for the population size in JADE-vPS. In PSO,

To fairly compare the proposed MVMO method with
others, every algorithm is independently run for 50 times. Tap21-20 Tap34-32 Tap14-46 Tap9-55
Then statistical values consisting of minimum, average, 6
maximum and standard deviation of active power losses are
computed as listed in Table I. The average convergence of

Transformer tap position

active power losses found by each algorithm is plotted after 2
the first 100 FEs as shown in Fig. 5. It is clearly shown that
the convergence of MVMO is the fastest. In this test case, the 0

statistical results of MVMO in Table I are not outstanding the -2

other algorithms. However, the MVMO results are on average
very close to the other techniques. An interesting observation -4

made from Fig. 5 is that MVMO is very fast in the global -6

search capability because the lowest power loss has been
found after the first 100 FEs. -8
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
As mentioned in [22] that there are five buses (buses 25, 30, No. of function evalutations x 10

31, 32 and 33) in this network that the voltages are outside the Fig. 8 Convergence of selected transformer taps case 57
limits. After the ORPD result given by each method, power The convergence of optimized control variables are shown
flow is calculated to determine bus voltages as shown in Fig. in Fig. 7-Fig. 9. From these figures, the control variables
6. It is shown that all bus voltages can be maintained within change abruptly at the early searching stage. Then, they settle
the limits. These voltage profiles confirm the merits of ORPD to a steady state at the later stage. At this phase, an optimum
in achieving both reduced power losses and voltage security. has been discovered. The CPU time of all methods is
approximately 5 minutes.
1.05 B18 B25 B53
Voltage (p.u.)

Shunt compensator


DE 3
0.98 JADE
0 4 8 12 16 20 24 28 32 36 40 44 48 52 56 60
Bus number 1
0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2
No. of function evalutations 4
Fig. 6 Load bus voltage profiles case 57 x 10

Fig. 9 Convergence of shunt compensator case 57

1.06 1.06
B. Simulation results- case 118
1.05 To further evaluate the performance of MVMO, the IEEE
118-bus system is employed. In this test case, the search space
of this problem has 77 dimensions. The continuous variables
Generator bus voltage (p.u.)

Generator bus voltage (p.u.)

1.03 consist of 54 generator bus voltages. There are 23 discrete
variables; 9 transformer taps and 14 shunt compensators. All
1.03 1.02
shunt compensators are defined by susceptances with the
1.01 lower limit of 0 p.u. and the upper limit of 0.2 p.u. The
population size PS of PSO, DE and JADE and the initial value
of PS in JADE-vPS is set to 100.

0.99 U

The convergence of active power losses averaged from 50
independent trials of different algorithms is shown in Fig. 10.
0 0.5 1 1.5 2
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 Similar to the case 57, the first plotting starts from 100 FEs.
No.of function evaluations
x 10
4 No.of function evaluations
x 10
Statistical results are shown in Table II. In this test case,
Fig. 7 Convergence of generator voltages case 57 minimum, average, maximum and standard deviation of power
losses from MVMO are the lowest among all methods. In
other words, MVMO perform the best in this problem. In

terms of the convergence characteristic, MVMO is the fastest V. CONCLUSION
among all methods. After the first 100 FEs, MVMO is able to MVMO is a novel heuristic algorithm that has recently
locate the optimal area in the search space. Moreover, it can shown great promises in dealing real-world complex
continue exploring that area for any better solution without optimization problems. Besides its capability, the algorithm is
being trapped in one of local optimums. In contrast to other also simple to be implemented. In this paper, MVMO was
greedy search algorithm such as DE/best/1 in DE, MVMO applied to solve the optimal reactive power dispatch problem.
overcomes the well-know premature convergence and local The performance of MVMO was examined and compared
stagnation. In other words, MVMO is an enhanced greedy with other heuristic algorithms. The IEEE 57-bus and 118-bus
search algorithm. systems were used as the test cases. The simulation results
show that MVMO obviously has the better convergence speed
MVMO than the other algorithms. The final result is nearly the same
190 PSO for all algorithms. . MVMO performs outstandingly in the
DE 118-bus case both in terms of convergence and the minimum
JADE-vPS reached. . The CPU times used in both cases are relatively
Power losses (MW)

high. The source of this occurrence is the power flow program
160 used in this paper. This issue will be corrected in our future
work. In summary, MVMO has a huge potential in dealing
with large-scale OPF problems.


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variance optimization algorithm," in WCCI IEEE World where he is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow. His research
Congress on Computational Intelligence Barcelona, Spain, interests include computational intelligence with emphasis on
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Meeting Detroit, USA, 2011. Istvan Erlich received received his PhD degree from the University
[17] "Power Systems Test Case Archive," [Online] of Dresden/Germany in 1983. Since 1998, he is Professor and head of the Institute of Electrical Power Systems at the University of
[18] "Standard PSO 2007 (SPSO-2007) on the Particle Swarm Duisburg-Essen/Germany. His major scientific interest is focused on
Central," [Online], 2007. power system stability and control, modelling and simulation of
[19] R. Storn and K. Price, "Differential evolution - a simple and power system dynamics including intelligent system applications. He
efficient heuristic for global optimization over continuous is a member of VDE and IEEE.
spaces," Journal of Global Optimization vol. 11, pp. 341359, Jos L. Rueda received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering
1997. from the Universidad Nacional de San Juan, San Juan, Argentina, in
[20] K. Price, R. Storn, and J. Lampinen, Differential Evolution - A 2009. Currently, he is a research fellow at the Institute of Electrical
Practical Approach to Global Optimization: Springer Verlag, Power Systems at the University of Duisburg-Essen. His current
2005. research interests include power system stability and control, system
[21] W. Nakawiro, "Voltage Stability Assessment and Control of identification, power system planning, smart grids and wind power.
Power Systems using Computational Intelligence," Ph.D.
Thesis, University of Duisburg-Essen, 2011