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Optimal Operation of Distributed Energy Storage

Units for Minimizing Energy Losses

Alejandro Garces, Member IEEE Carlos Adrian Correa, Member IEEE Ricardo Bolaños
Department of Electrical Engineering Department of Electrical Engineering Operation Coordination Direction
Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira Universidad de La Salle XM Filial de ISA
Pereira, Colombia Bogota, Colombia Medellin, Colombia

Abstract—This paper presents an algorithm for the optimal any similar approach to the problem despite its practical appli-
scheduling of distributed energy storage units from the system cability. The main advantage of using non-linear programming
losses standpoint. An exact model based on Lagrange relaxation approaches is the additional information that Lagrange multi-
is proposed. Simulation results on the IEEE 37-bus test feeder
demonstrate that an energy storage system can be used for min- pliers or dual variables can give about the optimal operation
imizing transmission losses in a distribution system by reshaping of the system. This information is used for determining the
the load curve. optimal placement and size of the DESU. Other objectives
The main contribution of this approach is the objective such as minimal operative cost and power smoothing can be
function and the optimization algorithm. Lagrange multipliers also studied using the proposed methodology. Contrary to what
are used for determining optimal placement and sizing of the
energy storage units. A discussion about the impact of energy is expected, these objectives are not completely equivalent. In
storage units on the distribution planning is also presented. some cases, the maximum spot price does not coincide with
Index Terms—Energy storage, Optimization, Power distribu- the maximum load in the section of the distribution feeder that
tion systems is under study. In those cases, the optimization algorithm can
give different solutions according the objective function.
I. I NTRODUCTION The paper is organized as follows: First, the model of the
Distributed energy storage units (DESU) have demonstrated DESU is described, followed by the proposed optimization
to be an efficient solution in low and medium power applica- model for minimal losses based on Lagrange relaxation. After
tions with high variability in load and/or generation [1]–[3]. that, simulation results on the IEEE 37-Bus test distribution
They contribute to flatten the power curve and to increase the feeder are presented. Finally, the impact of energy storage on
stability in systems with high penetration of wind [4], [5], the planning of distribution systems is discussed, followed by
photo-voltaic [6], [7], and/or wave energy [8] among other conclusions.
renewable resources.
Different techniques have been proposed for optimal II. M ODEL OF THE DESU
scheduling of DESU. In most of the cases, discrete models A clear disadvantage of electric energy is the difficulty of
and heuristic approximations have been suggested due to storing for future needs. This has lead to research of different
the complexity of the problem. The optimization algorithms energy storage technologies such as electrochemical, flywheel,
used in those applications include dynamic programming [9], compressed air, and superconducting coil.
particle swarm [10] and genetic algorithms [11]. Different A distributed energy storage unit consists of a bank of bat-
objective functions such as cost reduction, power smoothing teries integrated to the distribution grid by a power electronics
and spinning reserve have been proposed [12]. However, inverter and transformer, as shown in Fig. 1.
energy storage systems for minimizing transmission losses The present approach considers electrochemical batteries
have not been studied. DESU can be used as compensator for storing energy. The main Rechargable electrochemistries
from the energy point of view. In other words, the objective available today are lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal
is to minimize energy losses instead of power losses as in a hidride, lithium-ion, lithium-polymer and zinc-air. The first
conventional optimal power flow. In addition, the optimization type of battery is more often used due to its reduced cost.
algorithm can take advantage of the three-phase converter that Nickel-cadmium in spite of being a mature technology has
is required for controlling the DESU, which can be used for been subject of critics from the environmental point of view.
reactive power compensation. An inverter is required for controlling the charge and
This paper proposes a new optimization model for optimal discharge of the battery and for converting from DC to three-
scheduling of DESU from the losses standpoint. In contradis- phase AC. This inverter can also compensate reactive power
tinction to heuristic approaches, the proposed algorithm uses and reduce harmonic distortion. These two alternatives are
a Lagrange relaxation and a backward/forward sweep-based not studied in this article. A transformer is used for galvanic
load flow. To the best of the author’s knowledge there is not isolation and for raising the voltage. Distributed energy storage
978-1-4799-6251-8/14/$31.00 2014

Pb(t) ≤ Pb(max) (6)
where Rk is the resistance of the k-th distribution line, Ik(t)
is the current in the line k at the time t, and Eb(t) is the
energy stored in each DESU. The decision variable Pb(t) is
DC the power delivered by the DESU b in the time t. If this value
is negative then the energy storage unit is charging, otherwise
it is discharging. Ωb represents the set of the DESU installed
in the distribution system while Ωl is the set of branches of
Battery the system.
Let us consider first a reduced problem with only the total
energy constraint (3). There is one of these constraints for
Fig. 1. Detail of a distributed energy storage unit each DESU placed in the system. Therefore, the Lagrangian
function requires one Lagrange multiplier for each DESU as
given in (7):
devices up to 4 MW have been reported [13]. Therefore,
the proposed methodology fully agrees with the technology 24
X X 24
available in the market. L= f (t)∆t + λb Pb(t) (7)
There are different models for the DESU. In this case, a 0 b∈Ωb 0
simplified energy model is used. This model will be discussed The optimality conditions are obtained by derivation of L
in detail in the next section. as function of Pb(t) and λb as given in (8) and (9).
∂L X ∂f (t)
Let us define f (t) as the total active power loss in a = + λb =0 (8)
∂Pb(t) 0
distribution feeder in the time t. This power loss changes
according to the power Pb(t) injected or extracted by each 24
∂L X
energy storage system. The objective is to minimize the total = Pb(t) = 0 (9)
∂λb 0
energy losses in one day as given in (1). The total energy
supplied or absorbed by each DESU in a complete period Equation (8) implies the optimal operation is achieved if
must be zero as given in (3). This means the load profile the derivative of f respect to Pb is time invariant as given in
is approximately the same every day. This approximation is (10):
valid in some cases, for example in equatorial countries in
which seasons do not affect the power demand. In a more ∂f
λb = − ∀t (10)
general case, the total energy stored at the end of one period ∂Pb(t)
is given by a first stage of long term optimization. On the Therefore, the optimal operation can be determined by an
other hand, the internal model of the battery imposes some algorithm that iteratively approach this condition maintaining
additional constraints related to the power transmission rate constraint (9).
and the state of charge. These constraints are given in 5 and One challenge for this methodology is to calculate the
6. The complete optimization model is as follows: derivative of the transmission losses in Eq (10). It could be
24 calculated from the Jacobian result of the load flow. Neverthe-
less, Newton-Raphson based methods are not convenient for
M in f (t) (1)
studies in distribution systems due to the low ratio between x
and r. Therefore, a backward/forward sweep-based load flow
subject to is used for the losses calculation [14]. The value of λb(t) in (8)
X is then calculated by numerical differentiation as given in (11).
f (t) = Rk Ik(t) (2) A load flow for a small variation of the power Pb(t) + ∆Pb(t)
k is required in order to calculate this derivative. This load flow
X is initialized with the voltages for Pb(t) and therefore it only
Pb(t) = 0 (3) requires one or two additional backward/forward iteration.
PL (Pb(t) ) − PL (Pb(t) + ∆Pb(t) )
t λb(t) ≈ (11)
X ∆Pb(t)
Eb(t) = Emin + Pb(t) (4)
0 The value of Pb(t) is initialized in such a way that constraint
(3) is met. It is expected that the final optimal operation will
Emin ≤ Eb(t) ≤ Emax (5) charge the DESUs during the first hours in the morning in
Initialize 
 0, Pb(t) ≤ Pb(max)
g(Pb ) = P − Pb(t) , Pb(max) > Pb(t) (15)
t = t+1  b(max)
Pb(t) − Pb(max) , Pb(t) < −Pb(max)

Power Flow for Pb(t)

where β is a tunning parameter and g is the penalization
Pb(t) + ∆P

Calculate λb(t) = ∂PL Energy losses in the distribution feeder are directly related
to load limits in transmission lines. As energy losses reduce,
maximum currents are also reduced. Therefore, a highly
loaded transmission line can be relieved by placing DESUs
t ≥ 24? Yes Calculate λmean , ∆λ along the primary feeder. Consequently, energy storage units
could have impact on the distribution system planning. New
No Pb = Pb + ∆λ transmission lines may not be required as a consequence of
reshaping the load curve seen from the substation. It should
be noted that energy planning and power planning, although
related, are usually considered independently. Transmission
t = 0 ∆λmax ≤ 
and distribution expansion planning models are usually built
using a power approach which does not consider the load curve
Yes but only the maximum power. This approach is suitable for
conventional distribution systems in which the new transmis-
END sion system must be capable of safely transmit power during
hours of peak demand. However, these hours represent less
Fig. 2. Algorithm for optimal scheduling of distributed energy storage units than 10% of the whole operation of the system. By an energy
approach, the distribution planning could be improved. The
proposed algorithm re-arranges the load in such a way that
order to be discharged during the day. Therefore, a possible the peak of one load is not coincident with the other loads
initial condition of power is given by (12). and the whole system is relieved.
 On the other hand, the proposed objective function is
−Pb(max) t ≤ 12 different than the conventional load reshaping model. In that
Pb(t) = (12)
Pb(max) t > 12 model, the total cost of the energy is minimized. That is
suitable from the final user standpoint but not from the
Once λk is determined for each time t, the new value
distribution system operator standpoint, particularly, in some
of Pb(t) is calculated as given in (13) where ψ is a tuning
market schemes where the spot price is unified in the whole
transmission system. In general, it is expected that peak load
corresponds to maximum price. However, since the price is
Pb(t) ← Pb(t) + ψλb(t) (13) unified, this peak load is the sum of all load in the system.
Notice Peak load in a particular feeder could happen to be at different
P that constraint (3) is met during all the algorithm time than aggregated demand according to the type of load
since ∆λb(t) = 0. The complete algorithm is shown in Fig
2. (residential, commercial or industrial). Therefore, the market
On the other hand, the power capacity of the DESU is approach gives a different solution than the proposed energy
determined by using this reduced problem since constraints (5) losses approach.
and (6) are not taken into account yet. This information is used V. R ESULTS
for optimal placement of the DESU in the power distribution
system as presented in the results. The proposed algorithm was tested on the IEEE 37-bus test
The inequality constraints can be effortlessly included in the distribution feeder which was modified by adding two DESUs
optimization algorithm by adding a penalization factor in the in nodes 29 and 12 as shown in Fig 3. Parameters of the feeder
objective function. This penalization factor is proportional to for balanced operation are given in Table I for a SBASE =
the difference between the actual power and the violated limit 1000 kW and VBASE = 4.8 kV. The voltage regulator placed
as given in (14) and (15) in the slack node is maintained in 1 p.u. in order to determine
the effect of the DESU on the voltage profile. It is assumed that
f (t) =
Rk Ik(t) + βg(Pb(t) ) (14) the system has two types of loads: residential and industrial.
The load curves corresponding to each of those type of loads
are depicted in Fig 4 where nodes 25 to 34 are industrial loads TABLE I
and the remaining nodes are residential loads. PARAMETERS OF THE IEEE 37 N ODES D ISTRIBUTION F EEDER

Na Nb R X B/2 P Q
1 34 1 2 0.0080 0.0320 0.0000 0.6300 0.3150
tap=1 2 3 0.0060 0.0016 0.0005 0.0000 0.0000
3 4 0.0083 0.0022 0.0007 0.0000 0.0000
36 2 33 32 4 5 0.0111 0.0051 0.0002 0.0850 0.0400
5 6 0.0037 0.0017 0.0001 0.0000 0.0000
6 7 0.0018 0.0362 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000
37 35 3 25 26 29 6 8 0.0111 0.0051 0.0002 0.0850 0.0400
6 9 0.0059 0.0027 0.0001 0.0000 0.0000
DESU2 9 10 0.0082 0.0033 0.0001 0.0420 0.0210
24 22 21 4 27 30 9 11 0.0059 0.0027 0.0001 0.0850 0.0400
11 12 0.0104 0.0048 0.0002 0.0420 0.0210
12 13 0.0118 0.0055 0.0002 0.1400 0.0700
23 5 28 31 13 14 0.0074 0.0034 0.0001 0.1260 0.0620
14 15 0.0074 0.0034 0.0001 0.0000 0.0000
15 16 0.0051 0.0021 0.0001 0.0850 0.0400
15 17 0.0074 0.0034 0.0001 0.0420 0.0210
10 9 6 8 12 18 0.0133 0.0054 0.0001 0.0000 0.0000
18 19 0.0328 0.0134 0.0003 0.0420 0.0210
18 20 0.0051 0.0021 0.0001 0.0850 0.0400
19 11 7 4 21 0.0062 0.0025 0.0001 0.0420 0.0210
21 22 0.0052 0.0024 0.0001 0.0420 0.0210
22 23 0.0051 0.0021 0.0001 0.1260 0.0630
18 12 16 22 24 0.0072 0.0029 0.0001 0.0420 0.0210
3 25 0.0067 0.0031 0.0001 0.0850 0.0400
DESU1 25 26 0.0096 0.0045 0.0002 0.0000 0.0000
20 13 14 15 17 26 27 0.0021 0.0008 0.0000 0.0380 0.0180
27 28 0.0133 0.0054 0.0001 0.0850 0.0400
26 29 0.0148 0.0068 0.0003 0.0850 0.0400
Fig. 3. IEEE37 test distribution feeder with two distributed energy storage 29 30 0.0111 0.0051 0.0002 0.0000 0.0000
units (DESU1 and DESU2) 30 31 0.0072 0.0029 0.0001 0.0420 0.0210
29 32 0.0236 0.0096 0.0002 0.0000 0.0000
The total power losses with and without energy storage are 32 33 0.0031 0.0013 0.0000 0.1610 0.0800
32 34 0.0195 0.0079 0.0002 0.0420 0.0210
shown in Fig 5. The power losses in the distribution system 3 35 0.0103 0.0042 0.0001 0.0000 0.0000
are highly reduced during peak hours while they increase 35 36 0.0062 0.0025 0.0001 0.0850 0.0400
during low demand hours due to the charge of the DESUs. 35 37 0.0082 0.0033 0.0001 0.0930 0.0440
Nevertheless, the total energy loss is decreased by 5.3%.
The reduction in terms of peak power losses is even more 15
Power Losses [%]

significant. It drops from 0.1458 pu to 0.085 pu meaning a

reduction of 41.42%. 10
The power exchanged between each DESU and the distri-
bution grid is depicted in Fig 6. Since DESU1 is placed in a
residential zone, its power profile is similar to the load curve
for residential loads. The maximum required power capability
is less than 400 kW which is a value available with the state 0 5 10 15 20 25
Time [h]
of the art of the technology.
Inequality constraints where also considered in the algo- Fig. 5. Total power losses for the operation in one day. ( ) without energy
rithm. The maximum power capability of the DESUs was storage. ( ) with optimal operation of DESUs

Pb(t) [pu]

P [pu]

0.6 0

0.4 −0.2
0 5 10 15 20 25 0 5 10 15 20 25
Time [h] Time [h]

Fig. 4. Load curves used for the simulation. ( ) load curve for residential Fig. 6. Battery charging/discharging profile for each DESU. ( ) DESU1.
loads. ( ) load curve for industrial loads. ( ) DESU2
0.2 11 10 8 5
12 4
4 14 3
Pb(t) [pu]


Loss Reduction [%]

Pmax 15 19
0 20

−Pmax 21
3 18 25
28 23
−0.2 34
0 5 10 15 20 25 31
32 29 27
30 36
Time [h] 2 33

Fig. 7. Battery chargin/discharging profile for each DESU considering 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
inequality constrains. ( ) DESU1. ( ) DESU2 Required Power Capacity [pu]

Fig. 9. Loss reduction for placement of DESU in different nodes


V [pu]

0.9 A new algorithm for the optimal scheduling of distributed

energy storage units from the losses standpoint was proposed.
0.85 The algorithm considers the main constraints of this type of
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 devices and permits real time operation if the load curve
is accurately predicted. Simulation results on the IEEE 37
Fig. 8. Voltages profile in t = 20h. ( ) without DESU. ( ) with nodes test system demonstrate the advantages of the proposed
DESU methodology.
Lagrange multipliers are used as sensitivity factor for deter-
mining the size and optimal placement of distributed energy
limited to 0.2 pu. The battery charging and discharging profile storage units.
for this case is shown in Fig 7. The problem could be analyzed as a multi-objective opti-
mization with two conflicting objectives: minimum transmis-
In contradistinction to transmission systems, voltage profile
sion losses and minimum power capability. The impact of
in distribution systems is dependent on the active power. The
distributed energy storage units in the expansion planning was
reason behind this behavior is the close relation between r
also discussed.
and x in each distribution line. This effect is depicted in Fig 8
The impact on the distribution system was clearly shown,
where the voltage profile with and without distributed energy
and becomes evident that allows a more efficient operation by
storage units is presented for t = 20h which is the peak hour.
reshaping the load curve. If there is massive implementation
The maximum reduction in terms of power losses is deter- of DESUs, it could also impact electricity prices, as well as
mined by using the reduced problem (see Section III-A). In investment cost of new equipment to reinforce distribution
addition, the required power capacity can be determined by systems.
using the information given by the Lagrange multipliers. Fig After showing the positive impacts, there should be adjust-
9 shows the total energy reduction in percentage as function ments in the regulation and policies to stimulate real imple-
of the required power capacity for placement of one DESU in mentation of DESUs, which is often one of the difficulties to
different nodes. Energy losses reduction is different according make these projects a reality.
to the node where the DESU is placed. For example, by By reshaping the load curve when using storage technolo-
placing a DESU in Node 3 the maximum reduction of energy gies, conventional generation resources are optimized, leading
losses is 3.8% and requires a capacity of 0.51 pu. Almost the to mitigation of CO2 emissions, which is also an issue of great
same reduction can be achieved placing a DESU in Node 14 concern nowadays.
with a required capacity of 0.31 pu. Nodes too close to slack
bus such as Node 2 or 3 as well as nodes too far as Node 34
are the less efficient for minimal losses.
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