Determination of the placement and rating of transformers and feeders are the main objective of the basic distribution network planning. The bus voltage and the feeder current are two constraints which should be maintained within their standard range. The distribution network planning is hardened when the planning area is located far from the sources of power generation and the infrastructure. This is mainly as a consequence of the voltage drop, line loss and system reliability. Long distance to supply loads causes a significant amount of voltage drop across the distribution lines. Capacitors and Voltage Regulators (VRs) can be installed to decrease the voltage drop. This long distance also increases the probability of occurrence of a failure. This high probability leads the network reliability to be low. Cross-Connections (CC) and Distributed Generators (DGs) are devices which can be employed for improving system reliability. Another main factor which should be considered in planning of distribution networks (in both rural and urban areas) is load growth. For supporting this factor, transformers and feeders are conventionally upgraded which applies a large cost. Installation of DGs and capacitors in a distribution network can alleviate this issue while the other benefits are gained.\ud In this research, a comprehensive planning is presented for the distribution networks. Since the distribution network is composed of low and medium voltage networks, both are included in this procedure. However, the main focus of this research is on the medium voltage network planning. The main objective is to minimize the investment cost, the line loss, and the reliability indices for a study timeframe and to support load growth. The investment cost is related to the distribution network elements such as the transformers, feeders, capacitors, VRs, CCs, and DGs. The voltage drop and the feeder current as the constraints are maintained within their standard range.\ud In addition to minimizing the reliability and line loss costs, the planned network should support a continual growth of loads, which is an essential concern in planning distribution networks. In this thesis, a novel segmentation-based strategy is proposed for including this factor. Using this strategy, the computation time is significantly reduced compared with the exhaustive search method as the accuracy is still acceptable. In addition to being applicable for considering the load growth, this strategy is appropriate for inclusion of practical load characteristic (dynamic), as demonstrated in this thesis.\ud The allocation and sizing problem has a discrete nature with several local minima. This highlights the importance of selecting a proper optimization method. Modified discrete particle swarm optimization as a heuristic method is introduced in this research to solve this complex planning problem. Discrete nonlinear programming and genetic algorithm as an analytical and a heuristic method respectively are also applied to this problem to evaluate the proposed optimization method
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