Hosting Capacity Assessment Strategies and Reinforcement Learning Methods for Coordinated Voltage Control in Electricity Distribution Networks: A Review

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Increasing connection rates of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems to electricity distribution networks has become a major concern for the distribution network service providers (DNSPs) due to the inability of existing network infrastructure to accommodate high levels of PV penetration while maintaining voltage regulation and other operational requirements. The solution to this dilemma is to undertake a hosting capacity (HC) study to identify the maximum penetration limit of rooftop PV generation and take necessary actions to enhance the HC of the network. This paper presents a comprehensive review of two topics: HC assessment strategies and reinforcement learning (RL)-based coordinated voltage control schemes. In this paper, the RL-based coordinated voltage control schemes are identified as a means to enhance the HC of electricity distribution networks. RL-based algorithms have been widely used in many power system applications in recent years due to their precise, efficient and model-free decision-making capabilities. A large portion of this paper is dedicated to reviewing RL concepts and recently published literature on RL-based coordinated voltage control schemes. A non-exhaustive classification of RL algorithms for voltage control is presented and key RL parameters for the voltage control problem are identified. Furthermore, critical challenges and risk factors of adopting RL-based methods for coordinated voltage control are discussed.

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