Optimal Design of Volt/VAR Control Rules of Inverters using Deep Learning

Sarthak Gupta, Vassilis Kekatos, Spyros Chatzivasileiadis

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Distribution grids are challenged by rapid voltage fluctuations induced by variable power injections from distributed energy resources (DERs). To regulate voltage, the IEEE Standard 1547 recommends each DER inject reactive power according to piecewise-affine Volt/VAR control rules. Although the standard suggests a default shape, the rule can be customized per bus. This task of optimal rule design (ORD) is challenging as Volt/VAR rules introduce nonlinear dynamics, and lurk trade-offs between stability and steady-state voltage profiles. ORD is formulated as a mixed-integer nonlinear program (MINLP), but scales unfavorably with the problem size. Towards a more efficient solution, we reformulate ORD as a deep learning problem. The idea is to design a DNN that emulates Volt/VAR dynamics. The DNN takes grid scenarios as inputs, rule parameters as weights, and outputs equilibrium voltages. Optimal rule parameters can be found by training the DNN so its output approaches unity for various scenarios. The DNN is only used to optimize rules and is never employed in the field. While dealing with ORD, we also review and expand on stability conditions and convergence rates for Volt/VAR dynamics on single-and multi-phase feeders. Tests showcase the merit of DNN-based ORD by benchmarking it against its MINLP counterpart.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Number of pages13
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • IEEE 1547.8 standard
  • Linearlized distribution flow model
  • Multiphase feeders
  • Gradient backpropagation


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