Linearization Method for Large-Scale Hydro-Thermal Security-Constrained Unit Commitment

Ming Qu, Tao Ding, Chenggang Mu, Xiaosheng Zhang, Kai Pan, Mohammad Shahidehpour

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Security-constrained unit commitment (SCUC) is one of the most fundamental optimization problems in power systems. The objective of SCUC is to minimize the operating cost while respecting both system-wide and generator-specific constraints. It leads to a large-scale and mixed-integer programming (MIP) model with a large number of binary decision variables which is difficult to solve. This paper, based on the convex hull theory of single-unit, proposes a linearization method for the hydro-thermal SCUC problem with decoupled thermal units and variable-head hydro units. Then, the strategy of embedding two types of convex hulls in a multi-unit commitment and the heuristic method of constructing a feasible solution are designed, by which the multi-UC is approximated from large-scale mixed-integer programming to linear programming that can be solved in polynomial time. Finally, we theoretically prove that the optimal solution of the proposed LP model is always better than that of the Lagrangian Relaxation model. Numerical experiments on several large-scale test systems demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed method. <italic>Note to Practitioners</italic>&#x2014;This paper proposes a linear programming model for the SCUC problem by lifting up to a higher-dimensional space. It realizes an important innovation in reducing the computational complexity of SCUC from the perspective of linearization. The proposed method can be well applied to large-scale long-term unit commitment problems. To better use this method, the following two properties should be highlighted: 1) the error of the proposed method is less than the Lagrangian relaxation method and decreases with the increasing system scales and 2) the computational efficiency of the proposed method is 10-100 times faster than that of the MIP model. We have tested many practical power systems and find that the error of the proposed LP model is usually very small compared with the precise MIP while the computational performance is significantly improved. In some practical cases, the decision makers usually do not want to find the precise optimal solution while only an approximation under a fast speed, because the boundary condition is imprecise. The proposed method is useful. Besides, for the cases that need the precise optimal solution, the proposed method can provide a high-quality initial solution for the MIP model to accelerate the convergence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Computational modeling
  • convex hull
  • Generators
  • hydro-thermal units
  • Lagrangian relaxation
  • Numerical models
  • Power systems
  • Power transmission lines
  • Programming
  • Reservoirs
  • Security-constrained unit commitment (SCUC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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