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A genetic algorithm (GA) solution to the network-constrained economic dispatch problem is presented. A real-coded GA has been implemented to minimize the dispatch cost while satisfying generating unit and branch power-flow limits. A binary-coded GA was also developed to provide a means of comparison. GA solutions do not impose any convexity restrictions on the dispatch problem. The proposed method was applied on the electrical grid of Crete Island with satisfactory results. Various tests with convex and nonconvex unit cost functions demonstrate that the proposed GA locates the optimum solution, while it is more efficient than the binary-coded GA.