The challenges of estimating the impact of distributed energy resources flexibility on the TSO/DSO boundary node operating points

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Luís Seca
Vladimiro Miranda
Manuel Matos
João Vieira Silva
Jean Sumaili
Ricardo Jorge Bessa
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The increasing penetration of renewable energy sources characterized by a high degree of variability and uncertainty is a complex challenge for network operators that are obligated to ensure their connection while keeping the quality and security of supply. In order to deal with this variable behavior and forecast uncertainty, the distribution networks are equipped with flexible distributed energy resources capable of adjusting their operating point to avoid technical issues (voltage problems, congestion, etc.). Within this paradigm, the flexibility that, in fact, can be provided by such resources, needs to be estimated/forecasted up to the transmission network node (primary substation) and requires new tools for TSO/DSO coordination. This paper addresses this topic by developing a methodology capable of finding the flexibility area while taking into account the technical grid constraints. The proposed approach is based on the formulation of a single optimization problem which is run several times, according with the expected precision for the flexibility area estimation. To each optimization problem run, a different objective function belonging to a family of straight lines is assigned. This allows exploring the active and reactive power flow limits at the TSO/DSO boundary nodes - which define the flexibility area. The effectiveness of the proposed model has been evaluated on two test networks and the results suggest a step forward in the TSO/DSO coordination field. Nevertheless, further investigations to study the effect of assets with discrete control nature (e.g., on load tap changers - OLTC, capacitor banks) on the occurrence of disjoint flexibility areas should be carried. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.