The Transmission Interface Constraint Problem

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Electric power transmission systems exhibit a number of complex constraints on their operation and usage. When a network is subject to a constraint that limits the amount of power that can be moved from one region to another, there is said to be an interface limit. The power systems literature gives no general treatment of the engineering-economics of this ubiquitous phenomenon. Particular aspects of interface limits are typically discussed in sophisticated technical detail, but the general engineering economic trade-offs involved in relieving interface constraints have not been systematically addressed. We approach this problem in the spirit of a heuristic model. Such models are quite valuable under current industry conditions because they delineate technical opportunities and choices in situations where there may be conflicting views among competing parties and regulatory authorities (Baldick and Kahn, 1993a). We organize and enumerate the choices, clarify the practical conditions that dictate the optimum in particular cases, and help to motivate the final choices made by planners.

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