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Home | Seminars and Symposia | Past seminars/symposia: Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DTC Seminar Series

Power Distribution System Voltage Control under Imperfect Communications


Hao Zhu
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
5:15 p.m. reception
5:35 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

One crucial objective of the smart grid vision is to revitalize power distribution systems by improving network architecture. Significant effort and investment has been made to resolve the issue of loss of voltage regulation along distribution feeders due to increasing penetration of distributed energy resources (DERs). In this talk we will first give an overview of the voltage control problem in distribution systems with high penetration of DERS, and describe various decentralized solutions to the problem, such as using on-load tap changer (OLTC) transformers, capacitor banks, and distributed generations (DGs). Then we will focus on the fast voltage control problem using the VAR-capable inverters of DGs and batteries that are dependent on the availability and quality of communication links. With no communication capability, inverters can perform local voltage control by measuring bus voltage, such as in droop control design. We will present a distributed voltage control approach that is resilient to random failures of communication links using bus-to-bus communications. Compared to existing distributed solutions, our proposed approach measures only local voltage magnitude and thus has minimal requirements for sensing hardware. We will present numerical results by testing the proposed methods on realistic three-phase distribution feeders. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods under limited or imperfect communication scenarios.


Hao Zhu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She received a Bachelor’s of Engineering degree from Tsinghua University, China, in 2006, and Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in 2009 and 2012, all in electrical engineering. After graduation, she was a postdoctoral research associate working on power grid modeling and validation at the UIUC Information Trust Institute before joining the ECE faculty in January 2014. Her current research interests include power grid monitoring, power system operations and control, and energy data analytics.