White Papers

Applying Graph Theory to Power System Topology

By Keith Gray and Eric Mitchell


This paper will introduce graph theory and describe how to use it to model a power system. The Breadth First Search algorithm will be presented with example code provided in IEC-61131 Structured Text as well as in Lua. Finally, example use cases will be provided.

Graph theory is an area of mathematics describing the study of pairwise relations between objects. Graph theory can be applied to power systems in multiple ways. This paper is by no means the first exploration of this topic. Entire textbooks (Zhu, 2011) have been written to cover the application of graph theory to power systems. This paper is mostly concerned with applying graph theory to the calculation of a power system topology, along with how the topology can be applied to different automation schemes. In order to understand how to apply graph theory to power system topology, this paper first describes some important background information of graph theory itself.

This paper was presented at the 5th Annual PAC World Americas Conference 2018 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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