Why the Smart Grid should not underestimate your refrigerator

12 years, 5 months ago 0
Posted in: Academic, EPOS, Projects

This is the question I tried to answer at the research organization of TNO. In front of a very stimulating and interactive audience, I presented part of my PhD research and specifically some of my contributions in the EPOS project. I showed some of my findings supporting that decentralized stabilization of the energy consumption with a minimum user involvement is possible. Some of the issues raised concerned the integration of demand-side energy management with renewables energy sources, the role and influence of the consumers and the management of emergent phenomena in large-scale agent coordination. I was invited to give this talk by Professor Robert Kooij whom I thank for this great opportunity to interact with the employees of TNO.

An abstract of my talk follows:


Why the Smart Grid should not underestimate your refrigerator: Demand-side Self-stabilization of Energy Consumption

Electrical power consumption emerges as the key factor of drastic changes in the electrical power grid. The robustness of the power grid, meant as the matching of energy production to energy consumption has never been more challenging before: Our societal development is more energy dependent resulting in an increasing and less predictable energy consumption starting from the level of single household consumers to the level of large industrial consumers of certain energy profiles and carbon footprints. In production, renewable energy sources are stochastic and their integration in the power grid introduces new uncertainty factors.  

Most of the existing efforts in the Smart Power Grid tackle with these issues by centrally collecting a large amount of information, adapting or scaling the production accordingly. Although such interventions cannot always be avoided, they are very costly and complex, resulting in higher energy prices for consumers. This presentation illustrates an alternative approach for the robustness of the Smart Power Grid: EPOS, the Energy Plan Overlay Self-stabilization system. EPOS is an energy demand-side mechanism that coordinates the energy consumption of thermostatically controlled devices such as refrigerators, water heaters etc. in a large-scale, decentralized fashion and transparently from the users of these devices. Coordination concerns the cooperative consumption of energy over a period of time that meets certain system objectives, for instance, the minimization of energy peaks. This presentation concludes with some discussion about the applicability of mechanisms such as EPOS in the future Smart Power Grid.

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