While transmission switching is known to reduce power generation costs, the difficulty of solving even DC optimal transmission switching (DCOTS) has prevented optimal transmission switching from becoming commonplace in real-time power systems operation. In this paper, we present a k-nearest neighbors (KNN) heuristic for DCOTS which relies on the insight that, for routine operations on a fixed network, the DCOTS solutions for similar load profiles and generation cost profiles will likely turn off similar sets of lines. We take a data-driven approach and assume that we have DCOTS solutions for many historical instances, which is realistic given that the problem is solved every 5 minutes in practice. Given a new instance, we find a set of ``close" instances from the past and return the best of their solutions for the new instance. We present a case study on 7 test networks ranging in size from 118 to 3,375 buses. We compare the proposed heuristic to DCOTS heuristics from the literature, commercial solver heuristics, and a simple greedy local search algorithm. In most cases, we find better quality solutions in less computational time. In addition, the computational time is within the limits imposed by real-time operations, even on larger networks. Last, we present an empirical study of our training data to understand why the heuristic works well.
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 May 2021 SAND NO. 2021-5927 O