Distributed coordination of air-conditioning loads to provide demand-side flexibility to the power grid

Speaker : Prabir Barooah
University of Florida
Date: 07/06/2017
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: LINCS Seminars room


As we move away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy
sources such as solar and wind, inexpensive energy storage technologies
are required. This is so since renewable energy sources, such as solar
and wind, are intermittent. An alternative to batteries –which are
quite expensive– is “smart loads”. With appropriate intelligence, the
power consumption of air conditioning –and many other loads– can be
varied around a baseline. This variation is analogous to the charging
and discharging of a battery. Loads equipped with such intelligence
have the potential to provide a vast and inexpensive source of energy
storage. Two principal challenges in creating a reliable virtual
battery from millions of consumer loads include (1) maintaining
consumers’ Quality of Service (QoS) within strict bounds, and (2)
coordinating the actions of loads with minimal communication to ensure
accurate reference tracking by the aggregate. This talk summarizes our
work in addressing these two challenges. In particular, I will present
in some detail a method for ensuring reliable coordination in the
presence of uncertainty without inter-load communication, which is a
frequently used method for coordination. In contrast, our approach
achieves reliable coordination by using a combination of one-way
broadcast from the grid operator, and locally obtained frequency
measurements at the loads that provide valuable global information.