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OPF Equality and Inequality Constraints

In solving a constrained optimization problem, such as the OPF, there are two general classes of constraints, equality and inequality. Equality constraints are constraints that always have to be enforced. That is, they are always "binding". For example in the OPF the real and reactive power balance equations at system buses must always be satisfied (at least to within a user specified tolerance); likewise the area MW interchange constraints. In contrast, inequality constraints may or may not be binding. For example, a line MVA flow may or may not be at its limit, or a generator real power output may or may not be at its maximum limit.

An important point to note is because the OPF is solved by iterating between a power flow solution and an LP solution, some of the constraints are enforced during the power flow solution and some constraints are enforced during the LP solution. The constraints enforced during the power flow are, for the most part, the constraints that are enforced during any power flow solution. These include the bus power balance equations, the generator voltage set point constraints, and the reactive power limits on the generators. What differentiate the LP OPF from a standard power flow are the constraints that are explicitly enforced by the LP. These include the following constraints: