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Chapter 1


1.1 Motivation
Many inventions have evolved over time from their initial conception, e.g. the
telephone. The telephone invention triggered a revolution in communications around
the world that led to the powerful technology we have today. Alexander Graham Bell
would be proud of his invention because of the impact and evolution of telephone,
from landlines to satellite communications, the Internet and so on. Another important
invention is electricity. According to [1], electricity is the most important engineering
invention of last century. Electric power systems have evolved over more than a century
from isolated networks to interconnected grids that generate, transmit, and distribute
electric energy over large geographical areas. The search for green generation resources
has fostered the development of wind, solar, and other types of generation sources,
which are being connected in distribution and subtransmission networks. Today, con-
sumers are no longer just consumers, they can also be generators and their consumption
and generation must be carefully regulated. This is the world of the smart grids (SGs)
[2], where it is possible to have microgrids operating as stand-alone islands by design
or in critical operating conditions. A key purpose of SGs is to provide a reliable power
supply. This will be achieved through a combination of monitoring, control and re-
sponse. The authors of many different research papers [3, 4, 5, 6] agree on the concept
and purpose of SGs, they differ in their perception of SGs future development.
Electric power systems have lost redundancy because of load growing faster than
generation. For example, the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC)
estimates that the US demand for electricity will grow close to 2% per year over the
next decade, while supply will grow at 1.5% per year [7]. Increasingly, power comes
from less dependable renewable sources. An additional consideration is the type of
generation installed to cover the growing demand. A recent research paper from the
World Resources Institute states that 1199 coal plants are currently proposed in 59
countries [8]. If all these plants actually get built, it would increase global coal-fired
power generation capacity by more than 1.4 TW. That is about 40% of total US electric
power generation and is as much as the US coal generating capacity. This new coal
generation would contribute to increase global temperature in 4o C [9].

Electric utilities are expected to provide continuous and high quality service to
their customers at reasonable prices by making economical use of available infrastruc-
ture. The most powerful force shaping the power industry future is economics, but
environmental protection is receiving growing attention today. Global warming trend
could be damped through energy conservation; half of the energy presently generated in
fossil fuel plants can be replaced by renewable energy sources (RES) such as solar and
wind. The remaining 25% of the energy required must be provided by fossil or nuclear
plants due to their higher availability and the requirements for voltage and frequency
control [10]. Therefore, any new innovations/trends will probably be adopted only if
they reduce costs and CO2 emissions.
Preventing blackouts is an important task for many power engineers and re-
searchers. Blackouts not only cause economic losses but also jeopardize human safety.
New York City suffered a major blackout on August 14th of 2003 [11], and recently
experienced a five-day power outage due to hurricane Sandy on October 2012, affect-
ing 4.5 million homes and businesses [12]. Most of the population decided to stay at
home at night for safety reasons, revealing how serious a blackout could be and how
important is to mitigate its effects. Table 1.1 lists some other major blackouts.

Table 1.1: List of some major blackouts [13]

Affected Consumers 106

Location Date
Indonesia 100 18/08/2005
South and southeastern Brazil 97 11/03/1999
Brazil and Paraguay 87 10-11/11/2009
North and northeastern America 55 14-15/08/2003
Italy 55 28/09/2003
North and northeastern America 30 09/11/1965

When a fault occurs in a power system, protective devices operate to promptly

isolate the faulted element and reduce the fault impact on the entire system. On
exceptional cases, the fault triggers a number of considering events that cause a major
system blackout. Many automatic actions, and manual operations have to be performed
to restore the system. DG sources can mitigate the effects of blackouts by serving
utility load under emergency conditions. RES have gained acceptance as DG and, due
to deregulation in some countries, they are being deployed in distribution systems and
for microgrid networks. The key purpose of SGs is to guarantee power delivery to the
consumers even in the worst scenario, e.g. natural disasters. Hybrid power systems,
such as wind-diesel, photovoltaic-battery, and other systems, are viable technology for
microgrids that requires solving the problems related to the integration of RES into
the power system [14].
The typically radial topology of the present utility distribution networks is mainly
fixed and suffers changes only after the occurrence of a fault. The introduction of DG
in these networks creates looped configurations that require more advanced control

and protection schemes. The advanced communications information technologies and
control techniques available today are up to this challenge. The application of these
tools will improve distribution systems reliability and power quality, and to improve
other functions, such as asset management.
The development of an intelligent power distribution system requires new ap-
proaches. Reference [15] provides a French vision of SGs, and states that DG has
strongly increased in the last five to ten years, especially with the advent of wind power.
It shows that by 2020 the European Union targets 20% of the energy consumed to be
generated by RES. A technical report on the development of an intelligent distribu-
tion automation system in Korea [16], describes the following system features: remote
operation, management of low voltage (LV) and medium voltage (MV) networks sup-
ported on a geographic information system (GIS), loss minimization, volt/var control
for integrated DG, and power quality monitoring. This ambitious system still lacks au-
tomatic restoration functions, which is very important for radial systems. A complete
review on automation technologies for DG is summarized in [17]. None of the studied
solutions propose neither a reliable self-healing approach for dealing with a microgrid
configuration nor an optimal control strategy for DG integration.
This research work is related with the integration of DG sources in a medium
voltage distribution system that can operate permanently or temporarily isolated from
the bulk power system. An optimal control strategy that secures a reliable operation of
an islanded microgrid is proposed. This strategy prioritizes the use of power generated
by the DG to cover the load demand. Every DG unit connected to the microgrid has a
distributed controller (DC) to regulate generated power, voltage, and frequency. When
protective devices isolate faulted network sections, control actions based on a fault-
tolerant framework are performed for restoring power supply to unfaulted sections.
A centralized load shedding strategy guarantees the balance of generation and load,
leading to the concept of system awareness self-healing control algorithm (SAShA).
This control strategy is assisted by a distribution monitoring system (DMS), which
performs real-time monitoring of the voltages and currents of the DG units and loads
in the microgrid.

1.2 Problem statement

Blackouts cause important economic losses and safety regards. Overhead distri-
bution systems are subject to two types of electrical faults: temporary and permanent
faults. Depending on the automation level of the grid, localization and isolation of
faulted elements can be also done automatically. Application of reclosers, sectionaliz-
ers and other local automation apparatus significantly improve functionality of fault
management and duration of undelivered energy to the consumers [18]. Redundancy
paths through the development of primary networks and the integration of DG in
distribution systems provide the highest reliability at the price of increased cost and
complexity. The majority of the automation systems deployed in distribution networks,
still lack of some important functions to guarantee a correct integration of RES, among

which we can mention:
Automatic network restoration when a permanent fault is present;
Increased reliability in the DCs, which regulate voltage and frequency in the DG;
Fault-tolerance of the controllers to assure the continuity of the service under
specific faults;
Real-time information exchange between a centralized entity and DCs to take
online optimal decisions to guarantee a reliable operation of the microgrid.
Most present-day distribution feeders are radial. However, DG is appearing in
many systems. This fact, and the growing requirements concerning power quality and
service reliability, represent a trend towards looped or network systems (microgrids).
Control of power systems depends on the measurements taken from sensors and the
quality of these signals. Failures due to broken connections, communications problems
and sensor failures could drive the power system controllers to damages and gener-
ate severe consequences. Therefore, fault-tolerant control systems (FTCS) are highly
required in SGs designs in order to increase reliability and safety.
Fast distribution network restoration can accomplish multiple objectives, includ-
ing reduction of the system average interruption duration index (SAIDI) and system
average interruption frequency index (SAIFI), and/or the minimization of unserved
energy to loads. A highly reliable, reconfigurable, and fault-tolerant system must con-
tain multiple redundant paths. DG offers a viable alternative to achieve generation
redundancy, operating as ancillary systems when required.
Distribution system automation is explored in [19], together with automatic re-
configuration after a disturbance and the impact on reliability in a smart power distri-
bution system. A novel concept of fault detection, isolation and reconfiguration (FDIR)
is mentioned and it is emphasized that more important than multiple paths in distri-
bution systems are smart strategies to manage redundancy, which indeed is part of the
goals of the research to be conducted in this work.
In spite of the numerous contributions made in the distribution systems automa-
tion, see for instance [20, 21], strategies for a reliable operation in microgrids still
require further studies. Novel and traditional control techniques applied to the micro-
grid operation to optimally integrate DG is urgently required. Reference [22] presents
a fault detection algorithm in microgrids; both symmetrical and unsymmetrical faults
are tested with radial and loop structure of a distribution power system. Although fault
isolation is achieved, there is not a system reconfiguration strategy after the occurrence
of the fault. Reference [23] deals with optimal algorithms proposed for microgrids man-
agement when distributed energy resources (DERs) are present. There are also some
contributions about complete automation in distribution systems described in [24, 25]
but unfortunately RES challenges, such as variable generation are not considered, nei-
ther the operation of a microgrid in islanded mode.
This research points to the future, since the integration of RES into power dis-
tribution systems is still an immature technology that demands exhaustive research

activities. The main aim of this research is to solve the problem of integrating DG into
microgrids with the use of model-based controllers. Methodologies and designs are to
be presented throughout this thesis to solve this problem

1.3 Literature review

Traditionally, electric power is delivered unidirectional from distribution stations
to the consumers. Nevertheless, integrating DG into power distribution systems to
allow customers to become active protagonists is encouraging system planners, util-
ity companies and researchers to develop new trends and technologies in this field.
Kahrobaeian et al., [26] describes a candidate control architecture for integrating DG
into microgrids. A hierarchical internal model-based controller (IMC) drives DG units,
performing the following actions: power, voltage and current control.
Reference [27] proposes a volt/var management strategy to regulate the system
voltage and mitigate voltage variation in the distribution system. The challenges of
integrating DG are analyzed, but no simulations have been conducted. Thomposon et
al., describes a similar approach applied to a wind farm using a real-time automation
controller, where both voltage and reactive power are regulated at the point of inter-
connection, utility with main grid, through a real-time adaptive control algorithm that
switches on and off capacitors banks. Under the eventuality of a decision conflict be-
tween the power factor and voltage criteria, voltage control has priority. An extended
approach of this concept, where the authors include logic to allow the voltage versus
power factor priority to be user settable is described in [28].
Reference [32] details the features of an automatic power restoration system de-
ployed by S&C Electric Company. The control system utilizes DCs, distributed intelli-
gence and peer-to-peer communication to isolate faults and restore power to unfaulted
sections. RES integration is still under investigation for this project. Further informa-
tion about active microgrids projects around the world, including details on technical
operational aspects and design criteria can be found in the survey paper [33].
Two main approaches related to the operation and control of microgrids have been

1. Design and planning: these studies usually apply optimization techniques to de-
termine the optimal equipment capacity and placement within the distribution
network. Table 1.2 shows a comparison among recent contributions related to
this field.

2. Control during normal operation: Energy quality and proper energy dispatch
have to be controlled in the two operating modes of a microgrid: grid-connected
and islanded. Table 1.3 shows a summary of some contributions of distribution
automation in the last decade.

The high integration of cutting edge technology within a microgrid hinders an

optimal and coordinated operation of all the variety of devices installed in a microgrid.

Table 1.2: Brief summary of literature review on distribution systems planning

Year Author Applications Advantages Disadvantages

2004 [29] Economical planning
Optimal cost efec- Does not give pref-
of distribution net-
tive DG sitting and erence to RES
works with DG
No control strate-
Hourly ahead eco- gies for DGs
nomical dispatch
Does not consider
islanded mode

2006 [30] Microgrid modeling

Grid-connected and Ideal operation of
software for optimal
islanded mode de- power converters
signs No faults conside-
Reduced CO2 emis- red
sions design
Dispatch strategies

2007 [31] Distribution system

Optimal solution Does not include
for integrating RES
DG with loss
No control strate-
gies for DG
Non-linear model
No dispatch strate-

2012 [24]
Islanded microgrid Energy dispatch Small radial net-
planning strategies in work architecture
islanded and grid-
Operational model Islanded mode only
connected mode
Constant load con-
High RES penetra-

2012 [23] Business model for

High RES penetra- Unflexible microgid
islanded microgrid
tion architecture
Net present cost No dispatch strate-
(NPC) minimized gies
Islanded mode only
No control of DG

Figure 1.1 shows a hierarchical control scheme for large power systems that has been
adequate for the operation of bulk power systems (BPS). Although, operating char-
acteristics of a microgrid are different from those of BPS: smaller generation inertia,

Table 1.3: Brief summary of literature review on distribution automation systems

Year Author Applications Advantages Disadvantages

2005 [34] Microsource model-
RES models Simulations only
ing for DG
Control strategies Load stochastic be-
for microgrids haviour neglected

2006 [32] Power restoration to

FDI and power Does not integrate
unfaulted segments
restoration RES
Physically imple- Islanded mode con-
mented figuration did not
Improved SCADA

2009 [16] Control and monitor

Distributed SCADA No RES included
facilities in DN
Optimal planning No reconfiguration
under faults
FDI with GIS
Does not include
Physically imple-
microgrid configu-

2011 [26] DG control interface

Hierarchical control Simplified model
for microgrids
Only simulations
Grid-connected and
Does not integrate
islanded mode

2011 [27] DG integration in mi-

volt/var manage- Radial feeders
Simulations only
Faults management
RES integration

variable power generation due to RES integration, low fault currents when islanded,
etc. A potential hierarchical control of microgrids is discussed in [20, 35, 36]. In this
context, the primary control is designed for controlling DG units to add virtual inertias
and to control output impedances. Secondary control deals with corrections of steady-
state errors in frequency and voltage magnitudes produced by the primary control loop.
The tertiary control is conceived for energy management according to different design
criteria, such as: optimal power flow, microgrid stability, environmental issues, etc.

Figure 1.1: Hierarchical control scheme for power systems

Within the framework of environmental and economical issues, and microgrid

stability, optimality is directly linked with the minimization of fossil fuels consump-
tion, management of storage units and loads, and to guarantee a reliable operation
of the microgrid. Figure 1.2 shows a categorization of optimal control techniques for
controlling microgrids. The classification is made according to the objective function
to be minimized and the optimization method.

Optimal power flow (OPF)

The optimal power flow problem becomes a challenging task in the microgrid
operation due to the following issues: RES variability and non-constant load demand,
reverse power flows at the transmission-distribution boundaries, and energy export
from the distribution network to the transmission grid. A telecommunications
infrastructure and the use of smart meters (SM) allow fast interchange of local
measurements of power consumption and DG active power generation to feed power
flow equations. Reference [37] presents a weighted-sum objective function for solving a
multiobjective optimization problem within the OPF framework for a microgrid with
multiple DG units and battery storage systems (BSS), through a niching evolutionary
algorithm (NEA). Andreasson et al., [38] proposes a centralized controller which
minimizes a quadratic power generation cost function while keeps constant a frequency
reference of the nodes of the grid involved in the minimization function; this result
is compared with a distributed controller strategy. Reference [39] details a control
strategy for managing stored energy in order to optimize the overall microgrid power
consumption at the point of common coupling (PCC) considering constraints imposed

Figure 1.2: Classification of optimal control techniques for microgrids control

by the storage devices, voltage and limits, and power limits.

Load shedding
To counteract under systems instability issues, special protective algorithms
have been designed based on voltage and frequency limits, e.g. under voltage load
shedding (UVLS) and under frequency load shedding (UFLS) schemes, which work
in load shedding relays. An uncoordinated and non-optimal load shedding scenario
is commonly performed in the system under these circumstances. References [40, 41]
detail centralized load shedding strategies for preventing potential outages.

Carbon dioxide emissions (CDE) reduction

CDE reduction is one of the principal goals of SGs architectures. In this context,
apart from guaranteeing a stable operation of the microgrid, whether it is operating
grid-connected or isolated, some research papers have prioritized in their cost function
of the optimization algorithm and constraints, variables directly linked with CDE to
be minimized, as detailed in [42, 43, 44].

Predictive optimization
The MPC algorithm has the capability of performing a constrained minimization
of a customized cost function over a prediction horizon. There are research papers
related to the development of energy management systems (EMS) for microgrids with
MPC [45, 46, 47, 48]. For instance, in [45, 46] is proposed a distributed control strategy
managed by a supervisor MPC for manipulating the DG units set points online, that
guarantees an optimal energy balance in the microgrid. In [47] a supervisory MPC
is designed for optimal power management an control of a hydrogen-based microgrid.
Olivares et al.[48] proposes a centralized EMS with MPC, which optimizes the dispatch

of the energy in storage units, as well as decomposes the energy management problem
into two problems: unit commitment and OPF in order to simplify the optimizer

1.4 Contributions
Main contributions of this research work are listed:

A detailed framework for applying model-based control algorithms (MPC and

MRAC) that guarantees a reliable operation of microgrids in islanded mode;

A controller design for integrating a master generation unit (diesel engine (DE))
in a microgrid, that guarantees stable and secure operation of the network under
the presence of faults in the actuator of the DE and 3-phase faults in particular
nodes of the network;

A centralized optimal control strategy that process a data set formed by: batteries
state of charge, current RES power generation and forecasted load. The control
strategy predicts upcoming over generation issues when the microgrid is operating
in islanded mode to initiate automated load shedding procedures to balance the
power generated by the RES and the demand load.

According to the literature review, the necessity of an integrated strategy involving

CDE reduction, reliability, and prediction is needed. The methodology developed in
this research work points to solve the problem of integration of DG into microgrids.
The controllers to be used are model-based, whose flexibility allows the linkage of the
fields shown with dashed lines in Figure 1.2.
The control algorithms for the development of the solutions proposed in this re-
search were selected due to the following criteria:

Inherent capabilities for managing constraints within an optimal control problem


Drive operations based on economic or more global drivers, e.g. maximum profit,
maximum energy, maximum yield;

Focus is on process variables - generated power, frequency, voltage, angles, etc.;

Allows the possibility of sending setpoints to process control loops. It requieres

good regulatory control to achieve potential benefits.

A microgrid modeling procedure is also developed in this thesis, since the control
approaches to be used are model-based.
The islanded operation mode of a microgrid represents control challenges for reg-
ulating voltage and frequency, which is not the case when a microgrid is plugged into
the main power system. Since optimality and reliability are main concerns for the

microgrid operation, a first stage of the research was dedicated to the design of DCs
using MPC and MRAC for controlling the DG units. The main results of this stage
of the research were the methodologies for integrating a master generation unit into a
microgrid for guaranteeing a stable and secure operation, even under the presence of
faults in the actuator of the DE and 3-phase faults in particular nodes of the network.
The results showed much better performance than classic control techniques applied to
the same system. The following papers were generated as result of this first period of
the research: [49, 50, 51, 52, 53].
The next stage of the research is applied to a microgrid benchmark model, deve-
loped with the microgrid models generated in the previous stage, as well as the proposed
DCs for every DG unit. An optimal control strategy based on the batteries state
of charge (SOC), current RES power generation and forecasted load are used in a
microgrid centralized controller (MGCC) to identify upcoming over generation issues
when the microgrid is operating in islanded mode, in order to initiate automated load
shedding procedures to balance the power generated by the RES and the demand load
for guaranteeing a stable operation. An NMPC algorithm is used in the MGCC for
processing the data and generating the optimal control switching signals of the load
shedding strategy. The NMPC allows online constraints management, which is used
for updating maximum DEG power generation under faulty scenarios when the fault
detection and diagnosis (FDD) module of the DEG detects any actuator performance
degradation. This control strategy is assisted by a DMS, which performs real-time
monitoring of the generated power coming from the RES and the current load demand
at each node of the microgrid. Significant performance improvement of the microgrid
is achieved with the use of this control strategy, since it keeps the balance between the
power generated by the DG units and the load demand, which increases the microgrid
reliability. The following papers were generated as result of this stage of the research:
[54, 55].

1.5 Outline
Chapter 2 introduces some important concepts of power systems and control en-
gineering, which are used for the development of the methods proposed in this research
work. The concepts are treated with enough detail for readers to understand the model-
ing procedures and controller designs described in the upcoming chapters. The selected
references provide guidance for further studies about these topics.
Chapter 3 describes the modeling procedure of the DG units used in the microgrid
configurations tested in this thesis. Models of a DEG, a wind turbine generator (WTG),
a photovoltaic (PV) array, a BSS and power electronic converters are given, as well as
the programming of every model in MATLAB. A microgrid benchmark model that
integrates all the above-mentioned generation units into a rural distribution system is
also described in this chapter.
Chapter 4 presents a methodology for integrating a master generation unit into a
microgrid through the use of model-based controllers, particularly MPC and MRAC.

Simulation results of the proposed schemes are shown as well as an extended discussion
on its performance and its advantages over classic control techniques.
Chapter 5 presents the design and development of an MGCC using an NMPC. The
benchmark model developed in Chapter 3 is considered as the study case. The main
purpose of the control strategy in conjunction with the DCs developed in Chapter 3 is to
guarantee a stable and optimal operation of the microgrid when it is working in islanded
mode. Simulation results show significant improvement in the network reliability when
the proposed control strategy manages the microgrid in different operation scenarios.
Chapter 6 presents the conclusions of the research and recommends future work.
The advantages, and disadvantages of the proposed controllers are presented, and an
open horizon for future research activity in the microgrid operation and control is