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Electric power grid operation being an ever challenging scientific field is faced with a high variety of optimization problems. Since the future vision of so called smart grids causes higher complexity and new requirements to these problems, sophisticated investigation in suitable optimization algorithms is essential. Here, metaheuristic optimization strategies are proven to be suitable for high dimensional multimodal problems, and are capable of computing good solutions for hard problems in reasonable time. Therefore, a simulation- based optimization approach is introduced forming a highly applicable framework for testing the suitability of metaheuristic algorithms to practical optimization problems in power grid operation. Different algorithms will be experimentally compared to each other based on Optimal Power Flow computation to the standardized IEEE 30-Bus testcase.