Control of the grid in 2020, and how economics can help us

Speaker : Sean Meyn
Univ. of Florida
Date: 30/04/2013
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: LINCS Meeting Room 40


In this talk we survey control issues in the grid, and how the introduction of renewables brings new and interesting control problems. We also explain the need for economic theory to guide the formulation of contracts for resources needed for reliable real-time control. Control of the grid takes place on many time-scales, and is analogous to many other control problems, such as confronted in aviation. There is decision making on times scales of days, weeks, or months; much like the planning that takes place for ticket sales for a commercial airline. Hourly decision making of energy supply is
analogous to the chatter between pilot and air traffic controller to re-adjust a route in response to an approaching thunderstorm. Then, there is regulation of the grid on time-scales of seconds to minutes; consider the second-by-second movement of the ailerons on the wings of an airplane, in response to disturbances from wind and rain hitting the moving plane. There are also transient control problems: The recovery of the grid following one generator outage is much like the take-off or landing of an airplane. It is important to keep these analogies in mind so that we can have an informed discussion about how to manage the volatility introduced to the grid through renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The new
control problems in the grid will be solved by engineers, as we have solved many similar control problems.

Biography: Sean Meyn received the B.A. degree in mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), in 1982 and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from McGill University, Canada, in 1987 (with Prof. P. Caines, McGill University). He is now Professor and Robert C. Pittman Eminent Scholar Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Florida, and director of the Laboratory for Cognition & Control. His research interests include stochastic processes, optimization, and information theory, with applications to power systems.