Load flow studies are important in planning and designing the future expansion of power systems. The study gives steady-state solutions of the voltages at all the buses, for a particular load condition. Different steady-state solutions can be obtained, for different operating conditions, to help in the planning, design, and operation of the power system.

Generally, load flow studies are limited to the transmission system, which involves bulk power transmission. The load of the buses is assumed to be known. Load flow studies throw light on some of the important aspects of the system operation, such as violation of voltage magnitudes at the buses, overloading of lines, overloading of generators, and stability margin reduction, indicated by power angle differences between buses linked by a line, effect of contingencies like line voltages, the emergency shutdown of generators, etc. Load flow studies are required for deciding the economic operation of the power system. They are also required in transient stability studies. Hence, load flow studies play a vital role in power system studies.

Thus the load flow problem consists of finding the power flows (real and reactive) and voltages of a network for given bus conditions. At each bus, there are four quantities of interest to be known for further analysis: the real and reactive power, the voltage magnitude, and its phase angle. Because of the nonlinearity of the algebraic equations, describing the given power system, their solutions are obviously, based on the iterative methods only. The constraints placed on the load flow solutions could be:

  • The Kirchhoff’s relations holding well,
  • Capability limits of reactive power sources,
  • Tap-setting range of tap-changing transformers,
  • Specified power interchange between interconnected systems,
  • Selection of initial values, acceleration factor, convergence limit, etc.

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