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4, JULY 2014 1547

An Extension of FBS Three-Phase Power Flow for

Handling PV Nodes in Active Distribution Networks
Yuntao Ju, Wenchuan Wu, Senior Member, IEEE, Boming Zhang, Fellow, IEEE, and
Hongbin Sun, Senior Member, IEEE

Abstract—Forward/backward sweep power flow (FBS) is widely The FBS method is one of the most widely used in dis-
used in distribution network analysis because it is very efficient tribution power flow method because it takes full advantage
for radial and weakly meshed networks. In these types of methods, of the weakly meshed structure of distribution networks, and
sensitivity-based approaches are commonly used to account for PV
nodes in active distribution system; however, the convergence de- thus is highly efficient [1], [2], [8]. Methods for including PV
teriorates as the number of PV nodes increases, and may even di- nodes have been proposed in [1], [6]–[8], [10]–[12]. The secant
verge for large-branch R X ratios. We propose an efficient method method was first introduced to solve the PV-node problem in
for handling PV nodes based on loop analysis incorporated in the the backward/forward procedure [1], where the secant infor-
FBS framework. Here, PV nodes refer to nodes connected by dis- mation between two adjacent iterations was used to update the
tributed generators with constant voltage control. As an extension
of FBS, the proposed method’s convergence remains satisfactory reactive power of the PV nodes. However, this method does
when the number of PV nodes increases for a wide range of branch not take into account the interaction between the PV nodes,
R X ratios. Numerical simulations with three-phase models were which leads to convergence issues for multiple PV nodes. To
carried out to quantify the performance of the method. improve the convergence of distribution-load flow models that
Index Terms—Active distribution network (ADN), back- consider PV nodes, a sensitivity matrix in polar coordinates
ward/forward power flow, loop analysis, PV nodes. was proposed to update the reactive injected power at the PV
nodes [6]; a sensitivity matrix in Cartesian coordinates has also
been proposed [10]. Positive sequence sensitivity reactance
matrices have been proposed to deal with the three-phase
FBS Forward/backward sweep power flow. unbalanced problem [15], [19]. In [6], [10], [15], and [19], the
reactive power injection at PV nodes was chosen as the variable
DPF Direct power flow.
to be updated using a sensitivity analysis. The reactive current
HPF Hybrid power flow proposed in this paper. injection at the PV nodes can also be chosen as the variable to
be solved; the relevant sensitivity matrix was proposed in [6],
I. INTRODUCTION [10]. This method is similar to the positive sequence sensitivity
reactance matrix, which uses the branch impedance magnitude
W ITH the integration of distributed energy resources
(DERs) and deployment of advanced distribution au-
tomation (ADA), passive distribution networks have evolved
instead of the branch reactance. A revised version of the method
described in [10] was proposed in [15] to improve convergence.
In the existing FBS methods for handling PV nodes, the PV
into active distribution networks (ADNs). A number of
nodes are transformed into PQ nodes in an iterative procedure,
power-flow algorithms have been developed for passive dis-
and the mismatching reactive power is calculated according to
tribution networks. However, new technical challenges have
an approximate sensitivity matrix. However, all these existing
arisen for ADNs. Distributed generator is usually modeled as
methods for handling PV nodes require more iterations, and
PQ, PV, or PQ(V) node, and PQ and PQ(V) nodes are easy to
may even diverge when the branch R X ratios increase.
be handled in FBS power flow. One of them is how to deal with
A DPF method was proposed in [5], whereby all the con-
PV nodes that result from the integration of DERs.
stant power loads are transformed into impedance loads to con-
Existing distribution-network power-flow methods can
struct an impedance matrix of the distribution network. The
be grouped into three varieties: direct (DPF) methods,
node voltage can then be obtained from a direct circuit solu-
Newton–Raphson methods, and FBS methods.
tion. DPF methods have been extended to handle PV nodes in
distribution networks [14]; however, they require more itera-
Manuscript received September 27, 2013; revised January 06, 2014; accepted
tions (and hence calculation time) as the number of PV nodes
March 05, 2014. Date of current version June 18, 2014.This work was supported
in part by the National Key Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) increases.
(2013CB228203), National Science Foundation of China (51177080), and New Furthermore, very short branches need to be modeled
Century Excellence Talent in Universities (NCET-11-0281). Paper no. TSG-
in power flow analysis for distribution network. For ex-
The authors are with the State Key Laboratory of Power Systems, Department ample, jumpers between two busbars, middle winding of
of Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China (e-mail: three-winding transformer are modeled as very short branches
whose impedance is near to zero. These problems can be well
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. solved in FBS method, and FBS has been widely used in
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TSG.2014.2310459 some commercial software packages, thereby how to handle

1949-3053 © 2014 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.
See http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.

PV nodes in FBS is still an interesting problem to be solved,

especially for active distribution network.
In the distribution system, its root node is a slack bus and
modeled as bus whose voltage magnitude and angle is con-
stant. In this paper, the PV nodes are formulated as nodes
in FBS procedure, and correction equations are developed to
calculate the mismatch in the power-flow of the PV nodes in-
stead of using an approximate sensitivity matrix. The proposed
method introduces two main elements. First, a revised back-
ward/forward sweep algorithm is used, which was proposed by
the authors previously [17] and has favorable convergence for Fig. 1. Schematic diagram illustrating a weakly meshed distribution network
with two independent loops.
meshed networks. Second, Newton’s method is used to solve the
correction equations for the power mismatch of the PV nodes.
where and denote the negative and zero sequence injec-
We term this proposed method the hybrid power flow (HPF)
tion currents of the DER, respectively, is the positive se-
scheme, because both Newton’s method and the FBS method
quence active power control target of the DER, is the pos-
are used.
itive sequence voltage magnitude control target, and is the
As an extension of the classical forward/backward sweep
positive sequence voltage of the DER terminal.
power flow, the HPF method proposed in this paper has the
There are other DER control strategies which make its three-
following advantages.
phase terminal voltage balanced. This kind of DER can be ex-
(1) The main part of HPF method is realized in a FBS form,
pressed by the following equations:
so its implementation is straightforward and suitable for
weakly meshed distribution networks. (5)
(2) The HPF method is suitable for dealing with multiple
PV nodes and is better to handle PV nodes with varying (6)
branch resistances and reactances than existing methods.
This paper is organized as follows. The three-phase PV node (7)
model is described in Section II. A method for handling PV (8)
nodes is proposed in Section III. Section IV compares conven-
tional methods and the HPF method, and demonstrates the im- If there are other special control strategies for DER, the cor-
proved convergence of the HPF method when the number of PV responding correction equations can be formulated and can be
nodes and branch R X ratios increases. Section V describes nu- solved by the proposed method in similar way.
merical test results of an IEEE 123 system, and conclusions are

A. Loop-Analysis
II. THREE-PHASE PV NODE MODEL To improve the readability of the paper, some basic loop-anal-
ysis definitions are briefly reviewed in this section.
Three-phase PV models for DERs are strongly affected by As shown in Fig. 1, a weakly meshed network is composed
the control target of the DERs. The positive sequence voltage of two parts: tree and link branches. Supposing that the net-
magnitude and active power are usually controlled so that they work has nodes, link branches, and root nodes. Then,
are constant [15], [19], [20]. Different control strategies for neg- the number of independent nodes is , the number
ative and zero sequence models for PV nodes are reviewed in of tree branches is , and the total number of branches is
[20]. Since space limitations, only one type of PV node is an- . When two slack buses exist, they will form
alyzed in this paper. However, other types of PV nodes can be an extra loop marked as “loop1” shown in Fig. 1.
analyzed in a similar manner. A “path” is an important concept in loop-analysis. Every node
For most conditions, the DER is controlled to make its in the network can be traced by a single path to a root node. The
injected three-phase current balanced, which has less impact path for a given node can be defined as the set of branches along
on the unbalance level of distribution system [20]. The con- this route. Some incidence matrices describing the topology of
straints for this kind of DER can be expressed by the following the distribution network are defined as follows.
relationships: is an node-path incidence matrix. Each indepen-
dent node except the root nodes has one path composed of tree
branches to reach the root node. If tree branch is on path ,
; otherwise.
is an loop-branch incidence matrix. The positive
(2) direction of the loop is in accord with the link branch. If branch
on loop has the same direction as the loop, ;
(3) if it is in the opposite direction. If branch is not
(4) on loop , .

is the voltage vector for node (i.e., root node). the corresponding mismatches. The correction equation for the
If none of terminals of the branch is a node, then its positive sequence voltage magnitude is
element .
Example , and for the distribution network shown (11)
in Fig. 1 are as follows:
The correction equation for the positive sequence active power

The correction equation for the negative sequence current is

Let us assume the following:

is an node current injection vector;
The correction equation for the zero sequence current is
is an branch current vector;
is an branch voltage vector;
is a diagonal matrix of branch impedances;
is an loop current vector; (14)
is an loop admittance matrix, which is equal
where represents the real part of the equations; denotes
to .
node adjacent to the PV node; refers to the itera-
Based on the above definitions, the node voltage vector can tion result of the FBS method; is the positive sequence
be formulated as voltage of the node adjacent to node ; , , , and denote
the negative and zero sequence voltages of the node adjacent to
node ; and is the positive sequence branch impedance.
(9) For the three-phase balanced terminal voltage PV-node
model [(5)–(8)] presented in Section I, the correction equation
Further details regarding the derivation of this formulation for the positive sequence voltage magnitude and positive se-
can be found in the Appendix. Equation (9) will be used to de- quence active power is the same with (11)(12). The correction
velop the method for PV node analysis. equation for the negative sequence and zero sequence terminal
voltage is
B. Principle for Handling PV Nodes
Assume that is a voltage vector of the PV node, (15)
and are the real and imaginary parts of the PV node voltage (16)
vector, respectively, and is the number of PV nodes. In
the FBS method, the voltage vector of the PV node can be From (9), the relationship between the PV node voltage and
converted into a sequence frame as follows: the voltages at the adjacent nodes can be expressed as


where and are the real and imaginary parts of the zero (17)
sequence PV node voltage vector, and and are the real where , are the vectors containing ,
and imaginary parts of the negative sequence PV node voltage (where ). refers to the row
vector. of , which can be calculated from
All the PV nodes are first modeled as nodes, and the
power-flow solution is obtained using the FBS method. In this (18)
solution, there are active power and voltage mismatches at the
PV nodes. where is a vector, the elements of which represent
For the three-phase balanced current PV-node model pre- whether one terminal of a branch links to the PV node. If
sented in Section I, (1)–(4) must all be satisfied. Therefore, the one terminal of branch links to the PV node, ;
following four correction equations are proposed to eliminate otherwise, . Here, is an path-branch matrix

and is an loop-branch matrix. is a positive sequence

primary branch impedance matrix and is given by


Substituting (17) into (12), the unknown variable can be Fig. 2. Four-node test case.
eliminated, and (12) can be rearranged as
and separately. The dimensions of (11) and (20) are both .
The computational cost of solving these correction equations is
relatively small because the number of PV nodes is small in dis-
tribution networks.
C. Power Flow Accounting for PV Nodes
Among the correction equations,(13) and (14) are linear The procedure of the HPF method can be outlined as follows.
and can be solved directly to calculate the unknown variables 1) In the initial iteration at the PV node, the real part
and , respectively. Mean- of the PV node voltage is initialized with the voltage
while, equations(11) and (20) are quadratic, which can be magnitude and the imaginary part ; the zero se-
solved using Newton’s method to calculate and . quence voltage and , as well as the negative se-
In the follows, we will introduce the solution for correction quence voltage and , are all be initialized to zero.
equations (11) and (20). Then, all PV nodes are converted to nodes.
We define the conjugate of the positive admittance for 2) Use the FBS method to solve the voltage vector at all nodes
branch as in the phase frame.
3) Convert the voltage vector in the phase frame of the PV
(21) nodes and the adjacent nodes into a voltage vector in the
sequence frame.
4) Calculate the mismatch of the positive voltage
We can define the real and imaginary parts of as at the PV nodes by solving (11) and (20) using
Newton’s method.
(22) 5) Calculate the mismatch of the zero and negative sequence
voltages and at the PV
The positive sequence voltage magnitude mismatch , nodes by the solving the linear correction (13) and (14)
which appears in (11) in the iteration, can be expressed as separately.
6) Update , , and with

The positive sequence active power mismatch of (20) in
the iteration is given by

and convert them into voltage vectors in the phase frame.

7) If the 2-norm of and is less than a threshold
value (we used ), then end; otherwise,
increment and go to step 2.
(24) Because of the correction equations used, the values of
, , and
The Jacobin matrix for (23) and (24) are listed in Appendix B. are very accurate at each iteration, which should guarantee
We neglect the coupling effect between the sequence networks convergence of the procedure. This is investigated using the
in NR part of HPF method. As it is known that, it does not numerical simulations described in the next section.
need very accurate Jacobin matrix in NR method. The coupling
effect between the sequence networks does not deteriorate the
accuracy of the solution.
From the above, we can see that the PV nodes are modeled The four-node test system illustrated in Fig. 2 was used to
as nodes, so that the solution of the FBS method has mis- analyze the convergence of the HPF, which was compared with
matches in the PV nodes. Therefore, the correction equations are the methods described in [12].
formulated to account for these mismatches. It should be noted Different resistances and reactances in the distribution net-
that all of the corrections (11), (13), (14), and (20) are accurate. work may affect the performance of those sensitivity-based FBS
Equations (13) and (14) are linear and can be solved directly methods in handling the PV nodes. The parameters describing


the network are listed in Table I. Node 1 is the slack bus and has Fig. 3. Number of iterations required to achieve convergence as a function of
a voltage of . the resistance of one of the branches.
The method proposed in [10] (referred to hereafter as Method
1) uses the following relationship between increments of the real To quantify the convergence performance of Method 1,
part of the node voltage and the node reactive power: Method 2, and our HPF method with varying branch resis-
tances, the resistance of branch 3 was changed from 0 to 0.2
p.u. The convergence curves are shown in Fig. 3. Method 1
(25) diverged when the resistance of branch 3 reached 0.2 p.u.,
and Method 2 required a large number of iterations to achieve
convergence for most conditions. However, the convergence
where of the HPF method was rapid for all scenarios considered. In
Method 1, only the reactance of the branches is considered;
(26) therefore, it fails when the resistance of a branch becomes
large. The reason that Method 2 requires such a large number of
and iterations to achieve convergence is that the term in (28) is an
approximate sensitivity matrix. This method is straightforward,
(27) but the correction of reactive power for the voltage deviation
is very approximate in iterations. Therefore, the correction
Again, denotes the iteration. refers to the PV node, procedure need more iteration or even leads to divergence.
is the reactance from the PV nodes to slack bus 1, and In the HPF method, PV type node is formulated as bus.
is the mismatch between the real part of the node voltage with The mismatch for active power on PV type node is calculated
the target value. through a set of very accurate correction equations for the
The method proposed in [15] (referred to here as Method 2) voltage angle deviation. This is what makes the method robust,
uses the following relationship between increments of the reac- and also why it converges with a very small number of itera-
tive injected current magnitude and the node voltage: tions for all the branch resistances considered. The following
numerical tests show that the HPF method also provides fast
(28) convergence when the number of PV nodes increases.

where is the positive sequence sensitivity impedance matrix

of size . The diagonal elements of are the absolute
value of the positive sequence of the sum of series line imped-
ances between each PV node and the source node. The off-di- Further test cases were carried out on an IEEE 123 system
agonal elements are the sums of the common series line imped- [21], which is a three-phase unbalanced system.
ances between a given pair of PV nodes and the source node. Two DER units were added and connected to nodes 56 and 66.
We can write The parameters of the DERs are listed in Table II; the remaining
parameters of the IEEE 123 system remained unchanged and are
(29) described in [21].
The proposed method was implemented using C/C++, and all
where corresponds to the angles of the converged voltage numerical tests were performed on a notebook PC ( Thinkpad
at the PV node. The correction to the reactive power of a DER W520, with a 2.2-GHz CPU). The convergence threshold used
can be formulated as follows: was . To compare the convergence performance of the dif-
ferent methods for handling PV nodes, a multiplier was used
(30) to scale the resistances of all branches.



Fig. 4. Convergence curves of the IEEE 123 test system with different resis-
tances for the three different methods.

Fig. 6. Mismatch of DER56 positive sequence voltage for Methods 1, 2, and


method was on the order of 10 , while that of Methods 1 and

Fig. 5. Computation times of the different methods for the IEEE 123 test 2 was on the order of 10 . The seven orders of magnitude im-
provement in the accuracy was achieved with less CPU time
compared to Methods 1 and 2.
A. Robustness Analysis of the HPF Method The positive sequence voltage mismatch of the PV nodes with
The convergence curves of Method 1, Method 2, and the HPF are listed in Table V for the three different methods. The
method are plotted in Fig. 4, in which the resistance of the dif- HPF method was more accurate than the other two methods.
ferent branches was scaled by altering . The HPF method pro-
vided the best convergence performance at larger resistances; D. Convergence Analysis Under Growing Load Scenarios
Method 1 diverged when .
Different growing load scenarios are realized with each
B. Efficiency of the HPF Method load multiplied by load growing factor. Results are shown in
Table IV. The HPF method is more efficient than method 1 and
The CPU times for the different methods are shown in
2 when load growing factor becomes larger.
Fig. 5. The HPF method used much less CPU time than the
other methods for all conditions. The CPU times for different
methods with are listed in Table III. The HPF method E. Impact of the Number of PV Nodes on the HPF Method
was not only more robust, but also had the best computational We included additional DERs at nodes 250, 48, and 61, which
efficiency. were modeled as PV nodes. The parameters of these DERs were
the same as DER56 and DER66. Table VI lists the number of
C. Accuracy of the HPF Method iteration numbers required for the different methods when the
The mismatch of the positive sequence voltage of the PV number of PV nodes increased from 1 to 5. The HPF method
nodes is shown in Figs. 6 and 7. The accuracy of the HPF achieved convergence in fewer iterations than Methods 1 or 2.


existing models, and is more robust, maintaining performance

across a wide range of R X ratios while methods based on sen-
sitivity approaches deteriorated dramatically. The HPF method
is suitable for active distribution networks with large-scale DER
integration. It is a combination of Newton method and FBS
method. Distribution network analysis with DER integration
can benefit from the proposed method. For more complicated
doubly fed induction generator (DFIG), it is already done in one
of our previous work [22]. In [22], the constraint equations of
DFIG are solved with Newton method, which also can be treated
as a combination of Newton method and FBS method.
Fig. 7. Mismatch of DER66 positive sequence voltage for Methods 1, 2, and
TABLE IV Dotted vectors and matrices denote complex quantities. From
CPU TIMES OF DIFFERENT METHODS WITH Ohm’s law, for a branch we have


where is a branch current vector. The positive direction

of the branch current is in accord with the branch. is the
voltage drop vector along the branch, with the positive
direction in accord with the branch current. is the primary
branch impedance matrix.
Equations corresponding to Kirchhoff’s current and voltage
laws can be expressed as follows, according to loop analysis

POSITIVE SEQUENCE VOLTAGE MISMATCH OF THE PV NODES WITH where is a loop current vector; the positive direction
of the loop current is in accord with the link branch. is the
current injected at a given node, as shown in Fig. 1; the positive
direction of the node current injection corresponds to injection
into the node. is a voltage vector describing the
nodes (i.e., the root nodes); if one terminal of the branch
links to the node, then the row . Here,
is the voltage of the node.
The node voltage vector can be expressed by
FBS method is suitable for solving PQ or PQ(V) type node,
while PV type node is difficult to be handled. Sensitivity-based Substituting (A-1), (A-2), and (A-3) into (A-4) by removing
method to correct the mismatch of PV nodes leads to bad con- the loop current vector, the node voltage vector can be reformu-
vergence. In this paper, the PV type node is formulated as lated as
bus in FBS procedure, and the correction of voltage angle de-
viation is obtained with accurate correction equations by the
Newton method. Our method provides faster convergence than (A-5)





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[20] M. Z. Kamh and R. Iravani, “Unbalanced model and power-flow anal- degree in electrical engineering from Tsinghua
ysis of microgrids and active distribution systems,” IEEE Trans. Power University, Beijing, China, in 1985.
Del., vol. 25, pp. 2851–2858, 2010. He is now a Professor in Department of Electrical
[21] “Radial Distribution Test Feeders,” [Online]. Available: http://ewh. Engineering, Tsinghua University. His interest is in
ieee.org/soc/pes/dsacom/testfeeders/ power system analysis and control, especially in the
[22] Y. Ju, W. Wu, B. Zhang, and H. Sun, “Three-phase DFIG steady model EMS advanced applications in the Electric Power
and fast three-phase load flow algorithm for distribution power sys- Control Center (EPCC). He has published more than
tems,” in Proc. Int. Conf. Power Syst. Technol. (POWERCON), Oct. 300 academic papers and implemented more than 70
24–28, 2010, pp. 1–6. EMS/DTS systems in China.
Prof. Zhang is now a steering member of CIGRE
China State Committee and of the International Workshop of EPCC.

Yuntao Ju received the B.S. degree in mechanical Hongbin Sun (SM’12) received the double B.S. de-
engineering and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engi- grees from Tsinghua University in 1992, the Ph.D.
neering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in degree from Department of Electrical Engineering,
2008, and 2013, respectively. Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1997.
He is currently a Research Assistant with the State He is now a Professor in Department of Electrical
Key Laboratory of Power Systems, Department of Engineering, Tsinghua University. His interests in-
Electrical Engineering, Tsinghua University. His clude energy management systems (EMS) and dis-
research interests include nonlinear circuit analysis, tribution management systems (DMS).
dynamic simulation and control of medium-voltage,
and low-voltage electric network