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Distributed Power Loss Minimization in Residential Micro Grids: a Communications Perspective

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The constantly increasing number of power generation devices based on renewables is calling for a transition from the centralized control of electrical distribution grids to a distributed control scenario. In this context, distributed generators (DGs) are exploited to achieve other objectives beyond supporting loads, such as the minimization of the power losses along the distribution lines. The aim of this work is that of designing a full-fledged system that extends existing state of the art algorithms for the distributed minimization of power losses. We take into account practical aspects such as the design of a communication and coordination protocol that is resilient to link failures and manages channel access, message delivery and DG coordination. Thus, we analyze the performance of the resulting optimization and communication scheme in terms of power loss reduction, reduction of aggregate power demand, convergence rate and resilience to communication link failures. After that, we discuss the results of a thorough simulation campaign, obtained using topologies generated through a statistical approach that has been validated in previous research, by also assessing the performance deviation with respect to localized schemes, where the DGs are operated independently. Our results reveal that the convergence and stability performance of the selected algorithms vary greatly. However, configurations exist for which convergence is possible within five to ten communication steps and, when just 30% of the nodes are DGs, the aggregate power demand is roughly halved. Also, some of the considered approaches are quite robust against link failures as they still provide gains with respect to the localized solutions for failure rates as high as 50%.


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