Distribution networks (DNWs) are facing numerous challenges, notably growing load demands, environmental concerns, operational constraints and expansion limitations with the current infrastructure. These challenges serve as a motivation factor for various distribution network planning (DP) strategies, such as timely addressing load growth aiming at prominent objectives such as reliability, power quality, economic viability, system stability and deferring costly reinforcements. The continuous transformation of passive to active distribution networks (ADN) needs to consider choices, primarily distributed generation (DG), network topology change, installation of new protection devices and key enablers as planning options in addition to traditional grid reinforcements. Since modern DP (MDP) in deregulated market environments includes multiple stakeholders, primarily owners, regulators, operators and consumers, one solution fit for all planning scenarios may not satisfy all these stakeholders. Hence, this paper presents a review of several planning techniques (PTs) based on mult-objective optimizations (MOOs) in DNWs, aiming at better trade-off solutions among conflicting objectives and satisfying multiple stakeholders. The PTs in the paper spread across four distinct planning classifications including DG units as an alternative to costly reinforcements, capacitors and power electronic devices for ensuring power quality aspects, grid reinforcements, expansions, and upgrades as a separate category and network topology alteration and reconfiguration as a viable planning option. Several research works associated with multi-objective planning techniques (MOPT) have been reviewed with relevant models, methods and achieved objectives, abiding with system constraints. The paper also provides a composite review of current research accounts and interdependence of associated components in the respective classifications. The potential future planning areas, aiming at the multi-objective-based frameworks, are also presented in this paper.
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