UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Optimal micro phasor measurement unit placement for complete observability of the distribution system Kerns, Brittney


The electrical power distribution system was originally designed for one way power flow. With the addition of renewable energy sources on the electrical grid, bidirectional power flow is now oc- curring and is causing previously unseen fluctuations in voltage. This, in addition to an increasing power demand from utility users, is decreasing grid stability and increasing the chance of cascad- ing blackouts. The distribution system needs to be monitored in real time so that minor issues relating to grid stability can be noted and fixed before they cascade into system failure. A micro phasor measurement unit (μPMU) is a device that is able to monitor the distribution system in real time. When placed at a node, it is capable of measuring the voltage phasor at the node and all incident current phasors to the node. However, the high cost of these devices, in addition to the communication infrastructure that would be needed, makes it unfeasible to place them at every node on a feeder. However, it is also not necessary to place them on every node since, if the line impedance is known, the surrounding node voltage values can be accurately calculated. Therefore, this thesis proposes an algorithm that optimally places μPMUs on distribution net- works for complete observability. This algorithm is based on a greedy algorithm which has many benefits such as fast computation time and high reliability. High reliability occurs when most of the distribution system is being monitored even in the event of a μPMU failure. The algorithm was tested on standard IEEE distribution feeders: 13-node, 33-node, 34-node, 37-node and 123- node. The results presented include the number of μPMUs needed for complete observability, computation time, and a measure of the reliability.

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