Robert Bass

Date of Award

Spring 7-7-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 106 pages)


Distributed generation of electric power, Distributed resources (Electric utilities) -- Electric power distribution




Oregon utilities are replacing their portfolios of traditional fossil fuel generation with renewable generating sources. Stepping away from carbon-producing energy will leave a deficit of on-demand power, resulting in decreased reliability. To overcome these technical challenges, utilities must maximize the use of their present dispatchable resources. One such resource is the Portland General Electric (PGE) Dispatchable Standby Generation Program (DSG), which is an aggregated 105 MWs of distributed generation (DG). These resources are brought on-line when there is a critical need for power. Resources are added to the program if a transfer trip scheme is in place or a modeling study reveals that the feeder load is at least three times the generator capacity. If the load-to-capacity ratio were lower, more assets could be added to the DSG program.

To investigate the impacts of lowering the DG load-to-capacity ratio on existing distribution feeders, we use Open-Source Distribution System Simulator (OpenDSS). We modeled the Oxford Rural feeder by converting a utility CYME database to instantiation files using several MATLAB programs. A MATLAB control program varies the load-to-capacity ratio of the OpenDSS feeder model and monitors the generator behavior immediately following a fault. We analyzed the results to determine the ideal load-to-capacity ratio that prevents unintentional islanding. The results show that the instantaneous (50) relay element settings dictate both the minimum load-to-capacity ratio and the maximum DG capacity. The present three-to-one ratio is very conservative and can be reduced.

Additional dispatchable resources include a five MW battery-inverter system currently used as grid-back up. The battery is grid-tied to a 12.4 kV feeder making it an ideal candidate for conservation voltage reduction (CVR). Using the same feeder model, we investigated the effects of lowering the system voltage to the allowable minimum using injections of reactive power. A lower system voltage reduces the load at peak times. Conversely, increasing the voltage prevents generation conflicts. To determine the benefit of CVR by VAr-injection on the Oxford Rural feeder, we created a MATLAB optimization program to output the optimal feeder voltage for reduced system power. We use a Simulink feedback model to determine the appropriate reactive power needed to achieve the voltage change. We analyze the system model to reveal that the feeder is ideal for CVR but the system capacity must be increased to achieve the maximum power reduction.

Persistent Identifier