This paper presents the comparative application of two metaheuristic approaches: Differential Evolution (DE) and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) to the solution of the reactive power and voltage control problem. Efficient distribution of reactive power in an electric network leads to minimization of the system losses and improvement of the system voltage profile. It can be achieved by varying the excitation of generators or the on-load tap changer positions of transformers as well as by switching of discrete portions of inductors or capacitors etc. This constitutes a typical mixed integer non-linear optimization problem for the solution of which metaheuristic techniques have proven well suited in principle. The feasibility, effectiveness and generic nature of both DE and PSO approaches investigated are exemplarily demonstrated on the Nigerian grid system and the New England power system. Comparisons were made between the two approaches in terms of the solution quality and convergence characteristics. The simulation results revealed that both approaches were able to remove the voltage limit violations, but PSO procured in some instances slightly higher power loss reduction as compared with DE; on the other hand DE required a lower number of function evaluations as compared with PSO. Consideration of computational effort is relevant for potential real time on line application.

Meeting Name

International Conference on Intelligent Systems Applications to Power Systems, 2007. ISAP 2007


Electrical and Computer Engineering


German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Keywords and Phrases

Differential Evolution; Metaheuristic; Particle Swarm Optimization; Reactive Power / Voltage Control

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2007 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2007