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Improving the Energy Market: Algorithms, Market Implications, and Transmission Switching


This dissertation aims to improve ISO operations through a better real-time market solution algorithm that directly considers both real and reactive power, finds a feasible Alternating Current Optimal Power Flow solution, and allows for solving transmission switching problems in an AC setting. We show how to enhance the current IEEE data sets by adding appropriate thermal limits and how to convert apparent power limits to current limits, as current limits are closer to the 'actual' physical limit. We introduce a sequential linearized programming (SLP) approximation of the current-voltage formulation of the ACOPF. We show how the SLP approximation yields AC feasible generator dispatch profiles with little error in cost compared to the exact problem and that the SLP computational time is linear in the problem size. Next, we show how the SLP can be used to run a more complete real-time power market. We show how to use the SLP formulation in corrective switching and how it fixes issues with voltage and line flow. We also test out common heuristics for economic switching.

Most of the IEEE systems do not contain any thermal limits on lines, and the ones that do are often not binding. Chapter 3 modifies the thermal limits for the IEEE systems to create new, interesting test cases. Algorithms created to better solve the power flow problem often solve the IEEE cases without line limits. However, one of the factors that makes the power flow problem hard is thermal limits on the lines. The transmission networks in practice often have transmission lines that become congested, and it is unrealistic to ignore line limits. Modifying the IEEE test cases makes it possible for other researchers to be able to test their algorithms on a setup that is closer to the actual ISO setup. This thesis also examines how to convert limits given on apparent power - as is in the case in the Polish test systems - to limits on current. The main consideration in setting line limits is temperature, which linearly relates to current. Setting limits on real or apparent power is actually a proxy for using the limits on current. Therefore, Chapter 3 shows how to convert back to the best physical representation of line limits.

A sequential linearization of the current-voltage formulation of the Alternating Current Optimal Power Flow (ACOPF) problem is used to find an AC-feasible generator dispatch. In this sequential linearization, there are parameters that are set to the previous optimal solution. Additionally, to improve accuracy of the Taylor series approximations that are used, the movement of the voltage is restricted. The movement of the voltage is allowed to be very large at the first iteration and is restricted further on each subsequent iteration, with the restriction corresponding to the accuracy and AC-feasiblity of the solution. This linearization was tested on the IEEE and Polish systems, which range from 14 to 3375 buses and 20 to 4161 transmission lines. It had an accuracy of 0.5% or less for all but the 30-bus system. It also solved in linear time with CPLEX, while the non-linear version solved in $O(n^{1.11})$ to $O(n^{1.39})$. The sequential linearization is slower than the nonlinear formulation for smaller problems, but faster for larger problems, and its linear computational time means it would continue solving faster for larger problems.

A major consideration to implementing algorithms to solve the optimal generator dispatch is ensuring that the resulting prices from the algorithm will support the market. Since the sequential linearization is linear, it is convex, its marginal values are well-defined, and there is no duality gap. The prices and settlements obtained from the sequential linearization therefore can be used to run a market. This market will include extra prices and settlements for reactive power and voltage, compared to the present-day market, which is based on real power. An advantage of this is that there is a very clear pool that can be used for reactive power/voltage support payments, while presently there is not a clear pool to take them out of. This method also reveals how valuable reactive power and voltage are at different locations, which can enable better planning of reactive resource construction.

Transmission switching increases the feasible region of the generator dispatch, which means there may be a better solution than without transmission switching. Power flows on transmission lines are not directly controllable; rather, the power flows according to how it is injected and the physical characteristics of the lines. Changing the network topology changes the physical characteristics, which changes the flows. This means that sets of generator dispatch that may have previously been infeasible due to the flow exceeding line constraints may be feasible, since the flows will be different and may meet line constraints. However, transmission switching is a mixed integer problem, which may have a very slow solution time. For economic switching, we examine a series of heuristics. We examine the congestion rent heuristic in detail and then examine many other heuristics at a higher level. Post-contingency corrective switching aims to fix issues in the power network after a line or generator outage. In Chapter 7, we show that using the sequential linear program with corrective switching helps solve voltage and excessive flow issues.

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