Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Major Advisor

Said Ahmed-Zaid, Ph.D.

Major Advisor

Nader Rafla, Ph.D.


Thad Welch, Ph.D.


John Stubban, Ph.D.


Distribution systems are going through a structural transformation from being radially-operated simple systems to becoming more complex networks to operate in the presence of the distributed energy resources (DERs) with significant levels of penetration. It is predicted that the share of electricity generation from DERs will keep increasing as the world is moving away from the power generation involving carbon-emission and towards cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind, and biofuels. However, the unstable behavior of the renewables resources presents challenges to the already existing distribution systems. One such problem is when the distribution feeder experience variable power supply due to the unpredictable behavior of renewable resources. Therefore, it becomes difficult to maintain end-of-line (EOL) voltages within an acceptable range of the ANSI C84.1 Standard.

Moreover, electric utility companies consider Conservation by Voltage Reduction (CVR) as a potential solution for managing peak power demand in distribution feeders. Conservation by Voltage Reduction is the implementation of a distribution voltage strategy whereby all distribution voltages are lowered to the minimum allowed by the equipment manufacturer. This strategy is rooted in the fact that many loads consume less power when they are fed with a voltage lower than nominal. Therefore, by implementing CVR, the utility companies can potentially reduce the peak power demand and can delay the up-gradation of the distribution feeder assets. To maximize the benefits from CVR, the whole distribution feeder must participate in regulating power to lower the demand during hours of demand. Hence, there is a need for a local solution that can regulate residential voltage levels from the first customer on the distribution feeder until the EOL of the distribution network. Such a solution will not only provide flexibility to electric utilities for better control over residential voltages but it can also maximize the benefits from CVR.

This dissertation presents the concept of a closed-loop Residential Static VAR Compensator (RSVC) that will allow electric utility companies to locally regulate the voltage across the distribution feeder. The proposed RSVC is a novel smart-grid device that can regulate a residential load voltage with a fixed capacitor in shunt with a reactor controlled by two bi-directional switches. The two switches are turned on and off in a complementary manner using a pulse-width modulation (PWM) technique that allows the reactor to function as a continuously-variable inductor. The proposed RSVC has several advantages compared to a conventional thyristor-based Static VAR Compensator (SVC), such as a quasi-sinusoidal inductor current, sub-cycle reactive power controllability, lower footprint for reactive components, and its realization as a single-phase device. The closed-loop RSVC contains two regulation control loops: the primary control loop regulates the customer load voltage to any desired reference voltage within ANSI C84.1 (120 V nominal $\pm$ 5\%) and a secondary loop adjusting the reference voltage to track the point of minimum power consumption by the loads. This approach to CVR has the merit of adapting to the nature of the customer load, which may or may not decrease its energy consumption under a reduced voltage. This local approach to voltage regulation and CVR is a radical departure from current CVR strategies that have been in existence for over 30 years but have not been widely adopted by electric utilities due to high costs and technical challenges.