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The Power Flow Problem

Scott Norr
EE 4501
April, 2015
Electric Concepts
Ohms Law: V = IR (V = IZ)
Kirchoff: KCL: i = 0 (at any node)
V = 0 (on closed path)
Power: P = VI (S = VI*)
= V2/R = I2R
NOTE: i means electric current, j2 = -1
Previously: DC Circuits (RI=V)

Resistance Matrix
AC Circuits: Phasor Analysis
ZI = V (Thanks to Euler, Steinmetz)

DC Power:
All electrical
systems naturally
seek an equilibrium
point of lowest

Important to
recognize that
P V2
(try to find the proportional
symbol in powerpoint
AC Power
The complex power, S = VI* = P + jQ
P is the average power (real power) in watts,
attributable to resistive loads
Q is the reactive power (imaginary power) in
VAr, attributable to capacitive and inductive
The Power Problem:
On AC power systems, we dont pre-
determine the phase angles on the sources,
they are determined by the system
(additional unknowns to solve for!)
Power is injected into nodes in the system via
sources and is removed at nodes via loads
(consumption points)
Additionally, power is lost in the network
Consider an Example: 3 Node System
At each bus (node) there are 4 parameters:
P, Q, V and
There are three types of buses:
Load Buses: P, Q are known, V, are unknown
Generator Buses: P, V are known, Q, are unknown
Slack Bus: (unique) V, are known, P, Q unknown
(this special generator node is allowed to accumulate errors
in the iterative solution of the system of equations)

So, for N nodes, 2N unknown node parameters

Balancing Power at Each Node:
Si = o
SG-SL = ViIp*
SG-SL = ViVp*Yp*

Can separate the real (P) from the

imaginary (Q)to form two equations
at each Bus
A system of 2N equations
Sparse, largely diagonalized matrices
Solve for Node Voltages and Angles:
Vi new = (1/Yii)(Si/Viold - Vp*Yp*)

An iterative process, involving an initial

starting estimate and convergence to a pre-
determined tolerance.
This is called the Gauss-Seidel Solution
A better Method:
For analytic, complex differentiable systems,
can compute the low order terms of the Taylor
series and solve using Netwons method.
In two variables, an iterative approach:
f1(x,y) = K = f(xo + xo, yo + yo)
g1(x,y) = L = g(xo + xo, yo + yo)
Computing the Taylor Series, and truncating it
yields an equation exploiting a Jacobian matrix
Newton Raphson Solution:
Powerflow Software is used by every electric
utility in the world. Many models contain 10,000
nodes or more.

There are quite a few solution techniques that

are more efficient than the G-S and N-R methods
outlined here:
Fast-Decoupled N-R decouples P,O from Q,V and
solves the two, smaller systems
Interior Point Newton - calculates a Hessian Mtx!
PowerWorld Simulator
Stevenson, William D., Elements of Power
System Analysis, McGraw-Hill, 1982
Tylavsky, Daniel, Lecture Notes #19, EEE 574,
Arizona State University, 1999
PowerWorld Simulator,,2014