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An algorithm based on a nonlinear interior-point method and discretization penalties is proposed in this paper for the solution of the mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) problem associated with reactive power and voltage control in distribution systems to minimize daily energy losses, with time-related constraints being considered. Some of these constraints represent limits on the number of switching operations of transformer load tap changers (LTCs) and capacitors, which are modeled as discrete control variables. The discrete variables are treated here as continuous variables during the solution process, thus transforming the MINLP problem into an NLP problem that can be more efficiently solved exploiting its highly sparse matrix structure; a strategy is developed to round these variables off to their nearest discrete values, so that daily switching operation limits are properly met. The proposed method is compared with respect to other well-known MINLP solution methods, namely, a genetic algorithm and the popular GAMS MINLP solvers BARON and DICOPT. The effectiveness of the proposed method is demonstrated in the well-known PG&E 69-bus distribution network and a real distribution system in the city of Guangzhou, China, where the proposed technique has been in operation since 2003.
Date of Publication: May 2009