Section: Application Domains
Probabilistic Algorithms for Renewable Integration in Smart Grids
Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar have a high degree of unpredictability and time variation, which makes balancing demand and supply challenging. There is an increased need for ancillary services to smooth the volatility of renewable power. In the absence of large, expensive batteries, we may have to increase our inventory of responsive fossil-fuel generators, negating the environmental benefits of renewable energy. The proposed approach addresses this challenge by harnessing the inherent flexibility in demand of many types of loads. The objective is to develop decentralized control for automated demand dispatch, that can be used by grid operators as ancillary service to regulate demand-supply balance at low cost. Our goal is to create the necessary ancillary services for the grid that are environmentally friendly, that have low cost and that do not impact the quality of service (QoS) for the consumers.
A challenge in residential communities is that many loads are either on or off. How can an on/off load track the continuously varying regulation signal broadcast by a grid operator? The answer proposed in our recent work is based on probabilistic algorithms: A single load cannot track a regulation signal such as the balancing reserves. A collection of loads can, provided they are equipped with local control. The value of probabilistic algorithms is that a) they can be designed with minimal communication, b) they avoid synchronization of load responses, and c) it is shown in our recent work that they can be designed to simplify control at the grid level (see the survey  and , ).
This research is developed within the Inria Associate Team PARIS.