Integrated Volt/Var Control Method for Voltage Regulation and Voltage Unbalance Reduction in Active Distribution Networks

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The emergence of distributed generation such as solar systems has introduced new challenges in distribution networks that are becoming more apparent with increasing penetration levels. The time mismatch between peak load and peak generation can make voltage levels in distribution networks swing towards extreme limits during a day. Distribution network service providers are struggling to cater for new distributed generation installations while ensuring that the quality of steady state supply voltage meets stipulated requirements. The segregation between medium and low voltage networks in control strategies may result in unnecessary or worse, opposing control actions leading to voltage issues and control on one side of the distribution network influencing the other. By developing an efficient volt/var control method, the steady state voltage level and voltage unbalance in a comprehensive distribution network can be controlled simultaneously. This paper analyses voltage issues and volt/var control in medium and low voltage networks as a whole, unabridged problem. This paper proposes a pragmatic and effective volt/var control method that addresses voltage regulation and voltage unbalance simultaneously using existing infrastructure. The proposed control method is implemented on three types of representative Australian distribution networks and results obtained demonstrate that the proposed volt/var control can simultaneously manage voltage level and voltage unbalance whilst reducing the number of tap change operations and maximizing solar penetration.

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