Co-simulation of power and communication networks

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University of New Brunswick


The smart grid uses information and communication technologies to improve the efficiency, reliability, sustainability, and resilience of the modern power system. The new cyber-physical power systems require simulation tools to consider the performance effects of the communication system. There have been several approaches to obtain multi-domain (power and communication domains) models for the smart grid, but integrating existing domain-specific simulators can leverage well-proved models, techniques, and professional knowledge already developed. This thesis focuses on this approach, called co-simulation, and proposes a framework suitable to study power systems with high penetration of distributed energy resources. The proposed co-simulation framework uses a master-slave architecture where two popular, domain-specific simulators collaborate under the commands of a co-simulation coordinator. The coordinator was designed to ensure proper time synchronization between the continuous time-based power, and the event-driven communication, simulations. Developed in Python, it uses a COM interface and a MySQL database to implement inter-process communications and data exchange mechanisms. OpenDSS and OMNeT++ were selected as power and communications simulators, respectively. The framework is evaluated using standard IEEE buses and real utility test cases. The results show the effectiveness of the solution to assess the impacts of communications on important operational parameters of the power system. Finally, the thesis outlines the contributions of the work and some improvements as future work.