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Siemens Energy, Inc.

Power Technology Issue 107

Automatic Generation Control (AGC) Dynamic Simulation in PSS®E

Lu Wang, Ph.D. Dingguo Chen, Ph.D.
Staff Software Engineer Staff Engineer
Siemens PTI Siemens E D EA

Climate change and environmental concerns are tremendously influencing and shaping the future of the
power industry. As a positive consequence, there has been a remarkable, rapid increase in the past
several years in the megawatts produced by renewable energy resources across the globe, and this trend
will continue for the next decades. These renewable energy resources, including wind generating units
and solar generation, are for the most part intermittent in nature. Smart Grid technologies will enable
power systems to operate with larger amounts of these energy resources since they enable both the
suppliers and consumers to compensate for such intermittency. New features addressing the intermittent
nature of these resources should be added into Energy Management Systems (EMS) and power system
planning, so that systems with Smart Grids can be operated safely.
Automatic Generation Control (AGC) is an important function in modern EMS systems. Since January
1998, new control performance standards (CPS) have been enforced in North America by the North
American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). NERC requires that control areas must be no less than
100% compliant with CPS1 and no less than 90% compliant with CPS2. CPS1 measures the correlation of
a control area’s area control error (ACE) and interconnection frequency error over a moving window of a
12-month duration. CPS2 measures how many times a control area manages to hold the magnitude of its
10-minute ACE average within a predetermined ACE limit over a calendar month duration. In addition to
the new CPS criteria, the new disturbance control standard (DCS) was proposed to ensure that the
balancing authority is able to utilize its contingency reserve to balance resources and demand and return
interconnection frequency within defined limits following a reportable disturbance. These control
performance criteria continue to evolve. Adjustments to these control performance criteria have been
made over time, for instance, with the inclusion of automatic time error correction. The increased number
of renewable energy resources connected into power grids definitely imposes great challenges on AGC.
Questions arise which need to be answered: Can the current AGC in EMS meet the NERC criteria? How
much power injection from renewable energy resources can be connected so that NERC criteria can still
be met? If a new wind farm is planned, can it be connected to power grids without violating NERC criteria
on AGC? PSS®E can answer these questions.
PSS®E provides the capability to simulate extended term dynamics in power systems. The simulation
may extend to an unlimited period and include the effects of slow acting controls and equipment, such as
AGC, switched shunts, load tap changing transformers, load changes, etc. The integration time step may
vary in the course of the simulation. Theoretically, there is no upper limit for the integration time step and
it can be very large (e.g., 0.2 seconds).
This article first describes extended term dynamic simulation in PSS®E. Then three user-written models
are developed for extended term dynamic simulation, namely an AGC model, a load model and a wind
generation model. Simulation is run on a small power system. Simulation results are presented and
explained. Conclusions are made. The simulation presented in this article can quantify AGC performance.
It can be used for validating AGC performance both in EMS for real-time operation and in power system
planning for future renewable energy resource connections.
Power Technology February 2011

Extended Term Dynamic Simulation [1]

Extended term dynamic simulation in PSS®E is implemented using implicit (trapezoidal) integration. When
compared with the state space dynamic simulation in PSS®E which is implemented using improved
Euler’s method, extended term dynamic simulation has advantages: it allows a large integration time step
(theoretically, there is no upper limit for the integration time step) for quicker simulation, allows the
integration time step to change in the course of simulation and assures numerical integration stability at
the same time.
PSS®E was initially designed to model transients over a period of few cycles to several seconds following
disturbances. During this time frame, the important effects are inertial motions of turbine generators as
affected by the characteristics of generators, excitation systems, loads, static var sources, DC converters
and, to a lesser extent, turbine-governors. These phenomena have been broadly labeled Power System
Stability by power system engineers. The bandwidth of the effects being modeled is limited to about 10
Hz at the high end with typical integration time steps of 0.00833 seconds (1/2 cycle) for 60-Hz systems
and 0.01 seconds (1/2 cycle) for 50-Hz systems. Higher frequency effects require modeling of the
electrical network with differential equations using much smaller time steps, the domain of
electromagnetic transients programs. At the low-frequency end, the dynamic system models being
represented are valid down to 0 Hz or steady state. Thus within the bounds of modeling assumptions
(loads modeled without allowance for longer term constant power control effects, no tap changer action in
substation transformers, no switching of reactive sources, and no AGC or boiler effects) the dynamic
simulation is valid within a time scale resolution of about 20 ms to infinity.
As the time spectrum of power system dynamic effects is extended beyond several seconds, additional
effects come into play, such as the tendency of loads to exhibit constant power characteristics through
tap changer and/or load control devices, automatic switching of reactors or shunt capacitors, prime mover
power changes through primary speed control and/or AGC. Simulation of such longer-term effects
requires additional modeling of load restoration mechanisms and prime mover characteristics including
boiler effects, exhaust temperature control effects on gas turbines, etc.
Extended term simulation has three modes of operation, selected automatically and based on the size of
the time step and user-defined thresholds:
 For small time steps, such as the typical one-half cycle time step, the simulation response will be
essentially identical to that of simulations using the state space method.
 For larger time steps, typically 0.05 to 0.1 seconds (3 to 6 cycles for a 60-Hz system), all states of the
model and, hence, all swing modes are preserved. Damping of the lower frequency swing modes is
preserved while higher frequency swing modes tend to be filtered out. Numerical stability is
 For even larger time steps, 0.15 to 0.2 seconds, the program switches to a mode where the rotor
angle of each generator is adjusted at each time step to yield electrical torque equal to mechanical
torque less the unit’s share of the connected system’s global accelerating torque. This mode may be
used when all units in an island follow essentially the same frequency.
At the user’s discretion, the time step can be changed at any point in the simulation to adjust the solution
mode, i.e., to disclose high-frequency characteristics for a few seconds following a disturbance and then
revert back to a large time-step mode. If modeling results in an island with generators all essentially
infinite (very large inertias, H), then the constant island frequency mode should not be used. This mode
assumes all units are at the same speed. With infinite inertias, all machines, by default, are at the same
frequency (speed). To increase the time step, the user should also increase the constant island frequency
threshold, DLTEXT.
It is natural to expect that, with the increased integration step, details of “fast” processes will be lost. The
user should always keep a balance between the level of accuracy and the duration of the simulation.
Most of the standard models distributed with PSS®E can be used for the extended term simulation and
user-written models are allowed in the extended term simulation. These models which have “state”
variables and calculate derivatives must follow additional procedures established for extended simulation
models. All user-written models must follow the additional procedures to be used in extended term
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User-written AGC Model

The AGC control logic consists of two levels of control mechanisms: control area level and generating unit
level. On the control area level, the ACE equation is utilized to calculate ACE, which includes two major
components, ACE frequency component due to frequency deviation from its nominal value, and ACE
interchange component due to actual net interchange deviation from its scheduled net interchange value.
Additional ACE components may be incorporated as necessary, which may include time error correction,
meter error, ACE offset, etc. Once ACE is calculated, the control area’s total desired generation (PTDG)
may be derived based on a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control scheme or based on the
statistics of running CPS1 and CPS2 and the user-desired CPS1 and CPS2 targets. On the generating unit
level, the control area’s PTDG is allocated to each participating generating unit per economic consideration,
response speed, reservation contribution, unit’s operating mode, and unit’s characteristics.
This article considers a single area AGC control logic and therefore does not deal with anything but the
frequency component of ACE. A simple AGC model is built that controls the system frequency for the
conditions when the load in the system follows the given load demand and there is an intermittent
component of the wind generation.
To facilitate the simulation of AGC, three major steps are involved:
 Determine the control area's total desired generation.
 Determine the AGC unit's base points.
 Determine the AGC unit's regulation obligation.

A. Determine the control area's total desired generation

While there may be more ACE components to be considered in the ACE equation, the single-area
simulation here is limited to include only the one most important ACE component: ACE frequency
component. The ACE is calculated as follows:

ACE  10 Bf

where B is the frequency bias in units of MW/0.1Hz, and Δf is the frequency deviation in Hz. The AGC
PID control logic is shown in Fig. 1.



GD s
1  sTD

Figure 1 - AGC Control Logic

It should be pointed out that the state variables in the AGC PID controller are integrated differently than
other PSS®E state variables (e.g., the ones in generator models) during simulation. The AGC PID
integration time step is generally AGC cycle interval (e.g., 4 seconds or 2 seconds) while the integration
time step in PSS®E extended term simulation ranges from 0.00833 to 1 second. The PID integrator state
variable is initialized so that the integrator output is the initial total generation, that is, PTDG equals the total
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generation when ACE=0. During simulation, the integrator is reinitialized so that its output equals the
current total generation whenever ACE changes across zero (when ACE changes sign).
B. Determine the AGC unit's base points
The unit desired generation for each participating AGC unit is split into two components: the base point
and the regulation. The base point of each AGC participating unit is set at its Economic Dispatch (ED)

Pbpi = PEdi

where PEDi is calculated mathematically by an ED program, Pbpi is the base point.

C. Determine the AGC unit's regulation obligation
With step A to determine the control area's total desired generation, and with step B to determine AGC
unit's base points, the control area's total regulation is calculated as the difference between the control
area's total desired generation and the sum of the AGC unit's base points:

PRegsys = PTDG - ΣPbpi

where PRegsys is the control area’s total regulation. The control area's total regulation is then allocated
among all regulating units. There are various kinds of regulation allocation schemes. A simple regulation
allocation scheme is proposed and used in the simulation:

PRegi = min{(RRi / Σ RRj) PRegsys, PRegmaxi - Pbpi}

where PRegi is the regulation obligation of unit i, RRi is the ramp rate of unit i, and PRegmaxi is the maximum
regulation for unit i. The unit's regulation is allocated based on unit's ramp rate share and subject to its
maximum regulation with the unit's base point set to Pbpi.

If any unit's desired regulation PRegi plus its base point hits its maximum regulating limit, then subtract the
regulation allocated to this unit from the area's total regulation, then allocate the remaining area's total
regulation among the remaining regulating units.

User-written Load Model

A simple load model is used for all loads in the system to be simulated. Loads vary in time. System load
forecast and distribution factors are used to calculate loads at buses. It is assumed that each load has
constant power factor. The load model used in this article is shown in Fig. 2.

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Psystem(t) Σ Dil 1  K pfil f i (t ) Pil(t)


1 1  K qfil f i (t ) Qil(t)
Pf il2

Figure 2 - Load Model

where Psystem(t) is system load forecast, δ(t) is the load disturbance, Dil is the load distribution factor at bus
i, Δfi(t) is the frequency deviation at bus i, Kpfil and Kqfil are the active and reactive load frequency
sensitivities respectively at bus i, Pfil is the load power factor at bus i. Pil(t) and Qil(t) are split into three
parts: constant MVA load, constant I load and constant Y load, which are used to calculate the current
injection at bus I according to the voltage at bus i.

User-written Wind Generation Model

The wind generation is modeled as a generator with time varying active power output and constant power
factor. The active power output is intermittent. The typical data can be obtained from an actual wind farm.
The wind generation model is shown in Fig. 3.

Piwg(t) Piwg(t)

1 Qiwg(t)
Pf iwg

Figure 3 - Wind Generation Model

where Piwg(t) is the wind generation active power output, Pfiwg is the constant wind generation power factor
at bus i, Piwg(t) and Qiwg(t) are the actual MW and Mvar of the wind generation at bus i.

System for Simulation

A 23-bus system is used for simulation. The system is shown in Fig. 4.

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Figure 4 - A 23-bus System

This is a single area system. There are five regular generation units and a wind generation unit in the
system. Each of the five regular generation units has a generator model, exciter model, and governor
model. The wind generation unit is connected to bus 3018. It is dispatched at 100 MW with the given
power factor. Four of the five regular generation units are AGC controlled (regulating units). AGC control
cycle interval is 4 seconds. This system initially has about 3200 MW load. Some tentative data are used
for the load forecast and wind generation. The system load forecast is shown in Fig. 5. It is a sine wave
deviating from 3200 MW to 1600 MW with a cycle of 3600 seconds. The wind generation data is shown in
Fig. 6. Both are in pu of 100 MVA. The wind generation is also a sine wave with the magnitude of 50 MW
and a cycle of 180 seconds.

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Figure 5 - System Load Forecast (in pu of 100 MVA)

Figure 6 - Wind Generation (in pu of 100 MVA)

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Simulation Results
The extended term simulation is run for a 3 hour period using PSS®E. The simulation results are shown in
Fig. 7 – Fig. 12.
Fig. 7 shows the frequency deviation. Due to AGC, the frequency is kept in a very narrow range not
exceeding 0.15%. Fig. 8 shows the ACE. It can be seen that the frequency deviation and ACE have
similar shape but in opposite sign due to the fact that the system simulated is a single area.
Fig. 9 shows the total desired generation. The spikes are caused by the re-initialization of AGC PID
controller. Fig. 10 shows the total generation. It can be seen that both the total desired generation and the
total generation respond well with the load change and wind generation change.
Fig. 11 shows CPS1 and Fig. 12 shows CPS2. Both are compliant with NERC standards (CPS1>100%,

Figure 7 - System Frequency Response (frequency deviation in pu of 60 Hz)

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Figure 8 - ACE (MW)

Figure 9 - Total Desired Generation (MW)

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Figure 10 - Total Generation (pu of 100 MVA)

Figure 11 - CPS1 (%)

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Figure 12 - CPS2 (%)

With more and more renewable energy resources connected into power grids, their impacts on AGC must
be understood both at the planning stage and in real time operation. PSS®E provides customers with the
capability to simulate AGC dynamically under the condition of intermittent generation and varying load.
This simulation can help the power system planner to study and understand AGC behavior when a
renewable energy resource is planned. As long as the current operating plan and other necessary
information are available, system operators can use PSS®E’s AGC dynamic simulation capability to
determine if NERC AGC control criteria are met.
This article described an example of the simplified AGC PSS®E model applied to the single area sample
system using PSS®E. The results of the simulation showed how AGC can positively affect the frequency
of the system when the loads of the system follow the given forecast and there is an intermittent
component in generation.

The authors would like to thank Dr. Yuriy Kazachkov for his review, comments and suggestions.

[1] Siemens PTI, PSS®E 32 Program Application Guide, 2009.

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