As part of the transition to a future power grid, distribution systems are undergoing profound changes evolving into Active Distribution Networks (ADNs). The presence of dispersed generation, local storage systems and responsive loads in these systems incurs severe impacts on planning and operational procedures. This paper focuses on the compelling problem of optimal operation and control of ADNs, with particular reference to voltage regulation and lines congestion management. We identify the main challenges and opportunities related to ADNs control and we discuss recent advances in this area. Finally, we describe a broadcast-based unified control algorithm designed to provide ancillary services to the grid by a seamless control of heterogeneous energy resources such as distributed storage systems and demand-responsive loads.
Active distribution network; Ancillary services; Primary voltage control; Electrical energy storage systems; Broadcast signals; Demand response