Monitor Placement for Estimation of Voltage Sags in Power Systems

  • Jose Avendano-Mora

Student thesis: Phd


Power quality related problems cause large financial losses in the order of billions worldwide. The evaluation process aimed at determining effective remedial actions starts with the correct identification and characterization of power quality disturbances. Measurements performed in the electrical power network and the corresponding collection and process of data are the primary method of characterization of the phenomena. The ideal deployment of monitoring devices would entail a monitor installed at each node of the network so that the power quality throughout the system could be directly assessed. In reality, however, technical and mostly economical constraints limit the number of monitors a network operator can install in the system. Power quality at non-monitored sites, therefore, has to be estimated by extrapolating the data from monitored sites. Consequently, it is crucial to identify the sites that provide the most accurate picture of the system's overall power quality. Unfortunately, no recommended practices or guidelines for determining the minimum number and the best locations for optimal power quality monitoring have been prescribed in standards or reports. This thesis investigates voltage sag monitoring as part of a larger power quality monitoring scheme. The aim is to develop a methodology for optimal monitor placement for fault location and sag estimation. The thesis, divided in four main parts, focuses on network sag performance estimation and optimal monitor placement for fault localization and sag estimation. The introductory part of the thesis gives an overview of power quality surveys conducted around the world in recent years with special emphasis on the monitor placement criteria used. It also summarizes the main methods for network sag performance estimation proposed to date. The main part of the thesis firstly reviews the most referred optimal monitor placement method for sag estimation proposed in academia, highlighting its limitations. Then a robust fault location algorithm is proposed to enhance this method and overcome the identified limitations. The enhanced method is thereafter used as the basis for the generalization of one of the leading methods for optimal monitor placement for fault location in the second part of the thesis. The formulation of its optimization problem is extended for application in large power networks by adapting the modeling approach for the sag monitor placement problem. To reduce the high computational and memory burden associated with finding the optimal fault location monitor program, the thesis introduces a less memory intensive heuristic search algorithm in the third part of the thesis. A series of custom objective functions are proposed to be used with this algorithm to find optimal fault location and sag monitoring programs aimed at estimating the most critical events for customers. In the final part of the thesis, the main concepts and techniques introduced in the first three sections are combined to develop a synergistic approach to optimal monitor placement for sag characterization based on fault location. The suitability of the new method for techno-economic assessment of voltage sags using strategically or conventionally deployed monitors is established.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJovica Milanovic (Supervisor)


  • Monitor placement, voltage sag, fault location

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