It is widely recognized that a proper schedule of available generating units may save utilities millions of dollars per year in production costs. A novel particle swarm optimization (PSO) combined with the direct search method (DSM) is developed in this paper for the solution of economic dispatch (ED) problem with valve-point effect. A new inertia weight mechanism is incorporated into PSO to enhance its search capacity that leads to a higher probability of obtaining the global optimal solution. The main attractive feature of the proposed inertia weight mechanism is to monitor the weights of particles, which were linearly decreased in general applications, and to further provide a well-balanced mechanism between the global and local exploration abilities. The DSM algorithm is used as a fine tuning to determine the eventual global optimal solution with a reduced computing time. The validity, robustness, and effectiveness of the proposed approach is verified through numerical experiments for extended economic dispatch application.

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