Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering (Holcomb Dept. of)

Committee Member

Elham B Markam, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Daniel L Noneaker

Committee Member

Edward R Collins

Committee Member

Ramtin Hadidi


The most rapidly changing part of today’s power grid is the distribution system. Many new technologies have emerged that revolutionize the way utilities provide, and now sometimes receive, power to and from their customers. To an extent, the push for de-regulation of utilities has also led to an increased focus on reliability and efficiency. These changes make design and operation of power systems more complex causing utilities to question if they are operating optimally.

Operations Research (OR) is an area of mathematics where quantitative analysis is used to provide a basis for complex decision making. The changing landscape in electric distribution makes it a prime candidate for the application of OR techniques. This research seeks to develop optimization methods that can be applied to any distribution feeder or group of feeders that allows for optimal decisions to be made in a reasonable time frame.

Two specific applications identified in this thesis are optimal reconfiguration during outage situations and optimal location of Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). Response to outages has traditionally relied on human-in-the-loop approaches where a dispatcher or a crew working the field decides what switching operations are needed to isolate affected parts of the system and restore power to healthy ones. This approach is time consuming and under-utilizes the benefits provided by widely-adopted, remotely-controlled switching technologies. Chapters Two and Three of this thesis develop a partitioning method for determining the switching operations required to optimize the amount of load that is restored during an event.

Most people would agree that renewable forms of Distributed Generation (DG) provide great benefits to the power industry, especially through reduced impact on the environment. The variable nature of renewables, however, can cause many issues for operation and control of a utilities’ system, especially for distribution interconnections. Storage technologies are thought to be the primary solution to these issues with much research focused on sizing and control of BESSs. Equally important for integration, but often overlooked, is the location at which the device is connected. Chapter Four explores this idea by drawing conclusions about optimal BESS location based on well-studied ideas of optimal capacitor location.



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