In concert with increasing co-ordination of energy
markets, transmission planning for location-constrained
generation is forcing a shift from regional to wide-area
transmission network planning. Planning for locationconstrained
generators, notably wind and solar resources, is
complicated by uncertainty in policies driving their growth. To
design transmission systems robust to uncertain future
expansion of location-constrained generators, planners must
incorporate stochastic generation into models. The size of the
transmission expansion problem makes this computationally
intractable. This paper presents a screening model to reduce the
number of transmission investments which must be considered.
The screening model combines sampled generation expansion
scenarios with a two-stage relaxed planning model to identify
corridors of interest. A St.Clair curve-based filter translates
corridors to investment variables. In a 240 bus model of WECC,
this method reduced the number of corridors of interest 98%
from 19,503 to 303 and reduces the number of investment
variables 99% from 58,503 to 432.

© All Rights Reserved

3 vues

In concert with increasing co-ordination of energy
markets, transmission planning for location-constrained
generation is forcing a shift from regional to wide-area
transmission network planning. Planning for locationconstrained
generators, notably wind and solar resources, is
complicated by uncertainty in policies driving their growth. To
design transmission systems robust to uncertain future
expansion of location-constrained generators, planners must
incorporate stochastic generation into models. The size of the
transmission expansion problem makes this computationally
intractable. This paper presents a screening model to reduce the
number of transmission investments which must be considered.
The screening model combines sampled generation expansion
scenarios with a two-stage relaxed planning model to identify
corridors of interest. A St.Clair curve-based filter translates
corridors to investment variables. In a 240 bus model of WECC,
this method reduced the number of corridors of interest 98%
from 19,503 to 303 and reduces the number of investment
variables 99% from 58,503 to 432.

© All Rights Reserved

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Pearl Donohoo

Mort Webster

Engineering Systems Division

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, USA

pdonohoo@mit.edu

Abstract In concert with increasing co-ordination of energy

markets, transmission planning for location-constrained

generation is forcing a shift from regional to wide-area

transmission network planning. Planning for locationconstrained generators, notably wind and solar resources, is

complicated by uncertainty in policies driving their growth. To

design transmission systems robust to uncertain future

expansion of location-constrained generators, planners must

incorporate stochastic generation into models. The size of the

transmission expansion problem makes this computationally

intractable. This paper presents a screening model to reduce the

number of transmission investments which must be considered.

The screening model combines sampled generation expansion

scenarios with a two-stage relaxed planning model to identify

corridors of interest. A St.Clair curve-based filter translates

corridors to investment variables. In a 240 bus model of WECC,

this method reduced the number of corridors of interest 98%

from 19,503 to 303 and reduces the number of investment

variables 99% from 58,503 to 432.

Index Terms-- Power transmission planning, Power generation

planning, EHV Transmission, Wind energy

I.

INTRODUCTION

location-constrained generation is forcing a shift in

transmission expansion planning from local/regional scales to

interconnection, national and even continental scales. This

shift is evidenced by the many new transmission initiatives,

for example [1]-[3]. Unlike much of conventional fossil

generation, location constrained generation can only be

economically sited in areas with specific natural resources.

These types of generation include wind, hydropower,

concentrating solar power, photovoltaics, geothermal, aircompression based storage, and carbon capture and

sequestration plants. The transmission network, specifically

the high voltage transmission network, determines the ability

to access and transport generation from remote locationconstrained generators.

Planning for the integration of these location-constrained

generators presents numerous issues for transmission planners.

Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. 1122374 and

National Science Foundation Grant No. 835414.

Ignacio Prez-Arriaga

Instituto de Investigacin Tecnolgica

Pontifical Comillas University

Madrid, Spain

policy, and the policies are subject to changing political will.

In the United States, for example, wind generation installation

has fluctuated in sync with the availability of the production

tax credit. With many geographic areas of equivalent natural

resource, new generation may be developed in a multitude of

new areas. In addition, the responsibility for transmission

planning is decoupled from capacity planning in many power

systems, forcing the planner to consider a future in which

neither the quantity nor location of new generation is known.

This Transmission Network Expansion Planning (TNEP)

problem would be computationally demanding even on a

regional basis, and planners are instead considering up to

continental scales.

Assuming that the location and quantity of new generation

was known, the wide-area TNEP problem would still be

computationally intractable due to the number of candidate

corridors. A system considering 200 nodes has 19,990

potential corridors with a multiplicative number of investment

variables given the potential to develop lines at different

voltage ratings. While these corridors may be manually

screened in small systems by a planning expert, it is unlikely

that a planner will have sufficient in-depth knowledge of a

system that spans an area the size of continental Europe, for

instance, with more than 5000 transmission nodes.

This work presents an algorithmic screening method to

reduce the computational size of the problem without reliance

on expert judgment. The algorithm combines sampling and a

linear relaxation to reduce the set of investment variables

considered in the wide-area stochastic TNEP problem. The

relaxed formulation of the TNEP problem has continuous

investment variables and transportation-based flows. The

linear relaxation has been used as a screening model for the

TNEP in the context of multi-scale modeling [4-5]. This work

demonstrates that when coupled with sampling and a St.Clair

filter, a screening model can be constructed that has reduced

the number of corridors for consideration by 98% in the

realistic case example being studied.

II.

METHODOLOGY

the first stage, the relaxed TNEP problem is solved for

sampled future generation. This first stage identified corridors

of interest and a tentative value for their capacities. These

identified corridors are connections between node pairs but

the tentative capacity values do not precisely describe

specific line investments. The second stage translates from

corridors of interest to specific investment variables through a

St.Clair filter (see below). This filter identifies the most

economic line size given required carrying capacity and line

length. This screening method is applied to a 240 node

model of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council

interconnection [6]. Location-constrained generation was

added to the model through wind generation potential in 53

Western Renewable Energy Zones [7].

A.

was coded in GAMS for this screening model. In future work,

a model formulation with losses will be used. We expect

including losses will produce a greater number of corridors of

interest but that the overall reduction in number of corridors

of interest will be of the same order of magnitude. The hybrid

transmission planning model uses a DC representation for

existing lines (flows driven by differences in angles) and a

transportation model (flows that only obey Kirchhoffs first

law) for new lines. It is given by:

Minimize:

s.t.:

z=(ct

1)

1+

+ (ct

oc= h

2+

2 )(1

(1)

(2)

(3)

fe (i,j) =ij i -j

(4)

(5)

d=g+u+

fe, ij

gh-min gh gh-max

Where:

(6)

(7)

fe is the flow on existing network lines

Sn is the node-incidence matrix for new corridors

fn is the flow in new corridors

is the line susceptance

is the nodal voltage angle

1 indicates the first time horizon, 10 years

2 indicates the second time horizon, 25 years

B. Test System

The test system used in this model is a 240 bus model of

the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC)

footprint which was augmented with 53 unique Western

Renewable Energy Zones (WREZs) [6-7]. The uncertainty

considered is the wind generation build-out in each of the 53

WREZs. All possible corridors connecting existing

geographically unique WECC nodes and new WREZs were

considered (19,503 unique corridors). We consider

transmission planning over two time horizons, 10 years and

25 years, corresponding to the indices 1 and 2 in equation

(1). A stratified sample of nineteen representative load hours

is used for each of the time horizons (year 10 and year 25),

and we assume a constant 2% annual load growth.

C. Sampling

The uncertain nature of future generation development

was captured using randomly sampled future generation

expansion scenarios. Each scenario specified the new

generation for each geographic zone for both 10-year and 25year planning horizons. Generation for each scenario was

sampled in two phases as seen in Fig. 1. First, each WREZ

was assigned a probability of selection. A random number

was then drawn from a uniform distribution for each

geographic zone. Zones with probabilities higher than the

randomly generated number were marked as selected.

Second, a second random number was generated from a

uniform distribution for each selected geographic zone. This

second random number was multiplied by the potential

generation in the geographic zone to determine the total new

generation in that zone.

1 indicates

selected

WREZ

xn

U(1,0)

yn

U(1,0)

pn

pgn

ngn

x is the vector of transmission investment variables

is the discount rate

u is the hourly non-served energy per node

oc are the operation costs

ph is the weighting for each hour

g is the hourly output of each generator

Of the 53 WREZs considered, only 23% have potential for

more than 1000 MW development (when de-rated by

capacity factor). The two different sets were used to ensure

comparison of their probability of selection and a randomly

generated number. Using this sampling methodology, each

future scenario has an expected rather than deterministic

number of WREZs selected for development. If left unscaled,

the probabilities for both sampling sets above would, on

average, select only one WREZ for development in each time

horizon. To provide a diversity of number of WREZs selected

and quantity of wind generation development, the

probabilities in each sample were scaled. This scaling

produces an expected number of WREZs selected in each

time horizon of 5, 10, 15 and 20.

Four hundred two-stage generation scenarios were

developed. The first scenario assumed the full development

of each geographic zone. The remaining 399 generation

samples were developed with the method above. All 400

samples were solved considering the full set of 19,503

possible corridors in the WECC/WREZ model. These

corridors represent all possible connections between existing

nodes in the WECC system, new WREZs and between

WECC and WREZ nodes.

The linear planning model was solved at multiple corridor

ratings to capture potential changes in corridor developments.

All 400 samples were modeled assuming 345kV double

circuit line costs and ratings. In addition, a 190 scenario

stratified sample of the 400 future scenarios were also

modeled assuming 765kV single circuit line costs and ratings.

D. St.Clair Filter

The resulting continuous investment variables from the

linear planning model were converted to integer investment

variables through a St.Clair filter. St.Clair curves are a nonlinear planning heuristic which estimate the capacity of a line

as a function of surge impedance loading, thermal rating and

line length. The St.Clair filter here was constructed using a

standard St.Clair curve [8]. For each corridor with non-zero

investment from the linear planning model, the maximum

capacity for a 345kV double circuit, 500kV single circuit and

765kV single circuit line was calculated and the least cost

option with sufficient capacity was selected.

The effect of corridor length on least cost line option in the

St.Clair filtering is shown through a 250 mile and 500 mile

corridor example. If, for example, the linear planning model

returns a capacity of 1250 MW for a 250 mile corridor, the

lowest cost option from the St.Clair filter, shown in Fig.2, is a

500kV line. The same required capacity, 1250 MW, for a 500

mile corridor would result in a 765kV line.

2000

first set, each zone was assigned a probability of selection

proportional to its potential generation development. This

first sampling set biases sampling selection toward those

areas with greater potential and thus scenarios with greater

quantities of wind development. In the second set, each zone

was assigned an equal probability of selection. With equal

probabilities of selection, this second set allows for greater

geographic diversity and is biased toward the selection of

future generation scenarios with lower quantities of wind

generation investment.

1500

1000

345kV

500kV

765kV

500

0

0

500

1000

1500

2000

Capacity (MW)

250 Mile Corridor

2500

3000

500

1000

1500

2000

Capacity (MW)

2500

3000

2000

1500

1000

500

0

0

Figure 2. Example cost vs. capacity result for line choice in a 500 mile and

250 mile corridor. The most cost effective line size for a given MW Capacity

is bolded; transmission costs assume a 40 year payback period.

III.

RESULTS

exponentially with the number of transmission investment

variables. As a result, a reduction in the number of lines is an

effective way to decrease the scope of the problem. The

results below indicate that the screening method proposed is

an effective way to reduce the number of investment

corridors and that a small number of corridors are developed

in all scenarios.

A. Number of Investment Corridors

The primary goal of a screening model is to reduce the

number of decision variables that the more complex full

problem is required to solve. The first screening case

assumed a 345kV double circuit capacity rating for each

corridor. As shown in Fig.3 and Table I, the 345kV model

converged to 112 unique corridors in the existing system

WECC within 110 samples. The number of intra-WREZ and

WECC-WREZ connections converged to 169 unique

corridors within 300 samples. This represents a 99%

reduction in the number of corridors considered (from 19,503

to 281).

The second 765kV case was explored to determine

whether a single screening case was sufficient to identify all

corridors of interest or whether multiple corridor ratings were

required to capture the full corridor set. As seen in Fig.4, the

765kV case converged in 164 samples, more quickly than the

345kV case. The 765kV case also produced a smaller

number of corridors because, in many situations, congestion

could be relieved within a specific corridor rather than

requiring multiple lines.

300

Unique Corridors

250

Existing System Only

200

Connecting WREZs

150

100

50

100

200

300

400

S

l

Figure 3. Cumulative number of unique corridors identified by sample in

345kV case.

reduced the total number of unique corridors to 303. This

reduction represents a reduction of 98% considered corridors

from the original 19,503; however, both the 345kV and

765kV cases identified unique corridors. If the 765kV case

alone was considered, 45% of the unique corridors identified

would have been missed. Likewise, 7% of all unique

corridors would not be identified if only the 345kV case was

considered. Thus, it would be insufficient to run only a single

linear relaxation.

the 345kV case, however, the capacity of each corridor was

limited to the 345kV double circuit capacity. Up to this value,

which for a set corridor length is always less than the capacity

of a 500kV or 765kV line, it is always cheaper to invest in a

345kV double-circuit line than a 500kV or 765kV line.

Given that each corridor may be developed at multiple

capacities, the St.Clair filter may increase the number of

investment variables, one for each feasible rating. As

demonstrated in Fig.5, the 765kV case produces investment

variables at all three line ratings. Most corridors (52%)

produce only a single investment variable, 28% of corridors

can have two investment variables, and the remaining 20% of

corridors can have investment variables for all three line

ratings (345, 500, and 765kV). For the test system modeled

here, the resulting number of investment variables is 432.

This is an increase of 30% compared to the number of

corridors; however, it is a 99% decrease in the number of

investment variables when all corridors are considered at

three potential ratings.

180

Unique Corridors

160

140

120

Connecting WREZs

100

80

60

40

0

50

100

150

200

Figure 4. Cumulative number of unique corridors identified by sample in

765kV case.

TABLE I

Cumulative Number of Unique

Corridors

345kV

765kV

Combined

Total Unique Corridors

281

165

303

112

75

121

Connecting WREZ

169

90

182

The corridors above identify areas for new transmission

development, but they cannot all be directly translated into

investment variables. Because investment variables in the

linear relaxation are continuous, corridors in the 765kV case

may be developed at fractional capacities of the full 765kV

rated flow.

Transmission Capacity may then more

filter.

One potential insight from the screening tool is that certain

corridors are developed across all scenarios and they are

robust to uncertainty in generation location. As shown in

Fig.6, this hypothesis is supported for a small percentage of

corridors in both planning horizons. In the 10 year planning

horizon, 0.062% of corridors are developed across all

scenarios and 0.11% of corridors are developed in 75% or

more scenarios. In the 25 year planning horizon, 0.13% of

corridors are developed across all scenarios and 0.33% of

corridors are developed in at least 75% of scenarios

A better way to identify the percentage of robust corridors

is to consider only the corridors in the existing system.

Corridors which connect a single WREZ to the existing

system or that WREZ to a WREZ are developed when that

specific WREZ is selected for development. Because WREZs

are sampled and not selected for development in each future

with a larger percentage of lines developed in a smaller

percentage of scenarios. As seen in Fig.7, when only lines

connecting existing WECC nodes are considered, both the 10

year and 25 year planning horizon have a higher percentage of

corridors developed in 100% of scenarios (0.11% in the 10

year horizon and 0.25% in the 25 year planning horizon). In

both horizons, the percentage of lines constructed in 10% or

fewer scenarios is also reduced.

100

Year 10

Year 25

90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0

0

0.5

1.5

% Corridors

y-axis), it is shown (x-axis) the percentage of intra-WECC, WECC-WREZ

and WREZ-WREZ corridors that experience some investment in at least that

% of scenarios Note that the x-axis is truncated at 2% for readability.

100

Year 10

Year 25

90

80

the robustness of a corridor.

IV.

CONCLUSIONS

expansions

of

location-constrained

generation

is

computationally intractable due to the size of the search space.

The screening model presented here is a first step toward

making this problem computationally feasible. In order to

reduce the number of investment variables without reliance on

expert judgment, a two-stage screening model was proposed

and demonstrated on a reduced order model of the Western

Electricity Coordinating Council. The first stage of the model

identified corridors of interest through sampled generation

expansion scenarios and a relaxed planning model and the

second stage specified the investment variables for those

corridors. The proposed model reduced the number of

corridors required for consideration 98%, from 19,503 to 303.

The model also translated from continuous investment

variables to binary investments through a St.Clair based filter,

and reduced the number of investment variables 99% from

58,503 to 432.

In addition to reducing the number of investment

variables, the screening model provides two additional pieces

of knowledge. First, it identifies robust corridors. Robust

corridors are those with development in all future generation

expansion scenarios.

Second, the model provides the

frequency with which corridors are developed. This

information could be used to guide a branch and bound or

other optimization algorithm.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

70

Society of Fellows for Sustainability.

60

50

40

REFERENCES

30

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, Rep. SR-550-47078,

2010.

[2] ENTSO-E, ENTSO-E views on Energy Roadmap 2050, ENTSO-E,

May, 2012.

[3] Friends of the Supergrid, Position paper on the EC Communication for a

European infrastructure package, Friends of the Supergrid, Brussels, 2010.

[4] R Romero and A. Monticelli, A zero-one implicit enumeration method

for optimizing investments in transmission expansion planning, IEEE Trans.

Power Syst. vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1385-1391, August 1994.

[5] R. Romero and A. Monticelli, A hierarchical decomposition approach

for transmission network expansion planning, IEEE Trans. Power Syst., vol.

9, no. 3, pp-373-380, February, 1994.

[6] J.E. Price and J. Goodin, Reduced network modeling of WECC as a

market design prototype, Power and Energy Society General Meeting, San

Diego, CA, 2011 IEEE. doi: 10.1109/PES.2011.6039476

[7] R. Pletka and J. Finn, Western Renewable Energy Zone, Phase 1: QRA

identification, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Co, Rep.

SR-6A2-468777, 2009.

[8] H.P. St.Clair, Practical concepts in capability and performance of

transmission lines, Power App. and Syst., Part III. Trans. of the Amer. Inst.

of Elect. Engineers vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 1152-1157, January 1953.

20

10

0

0

0.5

1.5

% Corridors

developed. Note that the x-axis is truncated at 2% for readability.

separated by a step function in Figures 6 and 7. This step

function results from running linear optimizations with both

345kV double circuit and 765kV single circuit corridor

ratings. For example, 77 corridors, i.e. 0.39% of all corridors,

are developed in year 25 for all 345kV scenarios; however,

only 31% of that 0.39% (24 corridors) is developed in all

345kV and 765kV cases. If only the 345kV corridor ratings

were considered, an additional 53 corridors, 20% of all

corridors developed, would be misconstrued as robust

corridors. Thus, screening models such as the one presented

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