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Published March 2016 | Published
Journal Article Open

An Online Gradient Algorithm for Optimal Power Flow on Radial Networks


We propose an online algorithm for solving optimal power flow (OPF) problems on radial networks where the controllable devices continuously interact with the network that implicitly computes a power flow solution given a control action. Collectively the controllable devices and the network implement a gradient projection algorithm for the OPF problem in real time. The key design feature that enables this approach is that the intermediate iterates of our algorithm always satisfy power flow equations and operational constraints. This is achieved by explicitly exploiting the network to implicitly solve power flow equations for us in real time at scale. We prove that the proposed algorithm converges to the set of local optima and provide sufficient conditions under which it converges to a global optimum. We derive an upper bound on the suboptimality gap of any local optimum. This bound suggests that any local minimum is almost as good as any strictly feasible point. We explain how to greatly reduce the gradient computation in each iteration by using approximate gradient derived from linearized power flow equations. Numerical results on test networks, ranging from 42-bus to 1990-bus, show a great speedup over a second-order cone relaxation method with negligible difference in objective values.

Additional Information

© 2016 IEEE. Manuscript received July 31, 2015; revised November 17, 2015; accepted December 17, 2015. Date of publication February 3, 2016; date of current version March 15, 2016. This work was supported in part by ARPA-E under Grant DE-AR0000226, in part by the DTRA under Grant HDTRA 1-15-1-0003 and in part by Skoltech through a collaboration agreement 1075-MRA.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023