Techniques for Coordinating Distributed Resources Inspired by Ant Carrying Behavior

Joseph A Carr and Alexander Brissette


Autonomous systems, Particle swarm optimization, Decentralized control, Networked control systems, Voltage control, Distributed energy


This paper presents a novel control method to coordinate the outputs of distributed energy resources (DERs) for voltage control. This method is based on the behavior of ants carrying food back to the nest. Each DER is equipped with local PI control to inject reactive power and control the local voltage. When it cannot achieve that objective, it releases a recruitment pheromone signal to ask for help from neighboring DERs. If those clusters of DERs are not able to achieve the goal, they appeal to a higher resource – in this case a bank of power factor correction capacitors. Compared to local control of DERs alone, this coordination method was able to reduce the number of buses on a feeder outside of the voltage limits from 5 to 1, and improve the voltage nadir from 0.92 p.u. to 0.93 p.u.

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