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Substation Automation and Optimization of Distribution Circuit Operations


The grid is progressing toward less dependency on central generating plants due to the deployment of distributed energy resources (DERs) in the distribution system. These changes impact the role of utility substations, and create the need for research to address the challenges associated with integrating and managing massive amounts of DERs on circuits served by distribution substations. This thesis addresses a major step toward this end, namely the automatic control of substations to manage circuits populated with a large population of DERs. In particular, the research (1) considered each circuit emanating from utility substations as a microgrid, (2) developed a model for substation automatic control using a Generic Microgrid Controller compliant with the IEEE 2030.7 standard, and (3) evaluated the role and impact of substation automation control to improve energy management, increase grid reliability, resiliency, and efficiency, and improve environmental quality.

To this end, a digital simulation model of two 12kV distribution circuits emanating from a substation was developed with individual homes modeled and results verified using data obtained from the Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration (ISGD) project.

The substation automation control of DERs on circuits emanating from the substation was found to increase reliability and efficiency, reduce emissions, and enable demand response as an effective resource to mitigate grid challenges associated with a high penetration of DER. In addition, the deployment of a fuel cell as a distributed energy resource at the substation was found to improve reliability and resiliency of the circuits served by the substation.

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