The inclusion of microgrids (MGs) in power systems, especially distribution-substation-level MGs, significantly affects power systems because of the large volumes of import and export power flows. Consequently, power dispatch has become complicated, and finding an optimal solution is difficult. In this study, a three-stage optimal power dispatch model is proposed to solve such dispatch problems. In the proposed model, the entire power system is divided into two parts, namely, the main power grid and MGs. The optimal power dispatch problem is resolved on the basis of multi-area concepts. In stage I, the main power system economic dispatch (ED) problem is solved by sensitive factors. In stage II, the optimal power dispatches of the local MGs are addressed via an improved direct search method. In stage III, the incremental linear models for the entire power system can be established on the basis of the solutions of the previous two stages and can be subjected to linear programming to determine the optimal reschedules from the original dispatch solutions. The proposed method is coded using Matlab and tested by utilizing an IEEE 14-bus test system to verify its feasibility and accuracy. Results demonstrated that the proposed approach can be used for the ED of power systems with MGs as virtual power plants.
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