Examining the Economic Optimality of Automatic Generation Control

Stefanos Baros, Yu Christine Chen, Sairaj V. Dhople

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The automatic generation control (AGC) system is temporally situated between economic dispatch and synchronous generator dynamics, and its primary role is to regulate frequency within and tie-line flows between control areas. Given appropriate choice of participation factors (feed-forward controller gains that govern the disaggregation of the area-level power requirement to individual generators), the AGC can be engineered to nudge system dynamics toward a steady-state operating point corresponding to economic optimality. This paper establishes necessary and sufficient conditions under which a widely accepted choice of participation factors guarantees the alignment of steady-state synchronous generator outputs with a global minimum of a prototypical economic dispatch problem. In so doing, it resolves several ambiguities and formalizes technical assumptions governing the role of the standard AGC architecture in the context of economic dispatch and steady-state operation. Numerical case studies tailored to a modified version of the New England 39-bus 10-machine test system validate the theoretical results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9382096
Pages (from-to)4611-4620
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received August 22, 2020; revised December 7, 2020 and February 4, 2021; accepted March 13, 2021. Date of publication March 19, 2021; date of current version August 19, 2021. This work was supported in part by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, operated by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under Contract DE-AC36-08GO28308. in part by the DOE Office of Electricity, Advanced Grid Modeling Program, through Agreement 33652 and in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant 1453921. Paper no. TPWRS-01425-2020. (Corresponding author: Stefanos Baros.) Stefanos Baros is with the Power Systems Engineering Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO 80401 USA (e-mail: Stefanos.Baros@nrel.gov).

Publisher Copyright:
© 1969-2012 IEEE.


  • Automatic generation control
  • economic dispatch
  • loss penalty factors
  • participation factors


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