Distribution utilities are facing increasing challenges to efficiently integrate distributed energy resources. The research community is providing much-needed support in developing newer algorithms and control strategies to address these challenges; however, there is a shortage of realistic, large-scale U.S. test systems for the evaluation of such advanced algorithms. Some available tools to build large-scale test systems are of European style, and their application for studies focused in the United States might not be desirable given very different characteristics between the European and U.S. distribution systems. Motivated by this need, this paper develops detailed algorithms to build large-scale U.S. distribution systems. A new Reference Network Model has been developed to build synthetic grids in the United States, starting with information from street maps and a catalog with electric equipment that includes power lines, transformers, voltage regulators, capacitors, and switching devices. The paper presents the algorithms through an illustrative case study of the different steps that compose the process of building a synthetic distribution grid. Finally, it presents a medium and a large-scale data set covering 10 million electrical nodes and 120,000 km of power lines, demonstrating the applicability of the proposed method to build very-large scale synthetic distribution systems.
Keywords: Distribution system; synthetic systems; test feeder; power utilities; power flow; power systems; Reference Network Model, representative system
Registration date: 2019-02-11