Modeling, Analysis, and Control of Demand Response Resources

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While the traditional goal of an electric power system has been to control supply to fulfill demand, the demand-side can plan an active role in power systems via Demand Response (DR), defined by the Department of Energy (DOE) as "a tariff or program established to motivate changes in electric use by end-use customers in response to changes in the price of electricity over time, or to give incentive payments designed to induce lower electricity use at times of high market prices or when grid reliability is jeopardized" [29]. DR can provide a variety of benefits including reducing peak electric loads when the power system is stressed and fast timescale energy balancing. Therefore, DR can improve grid reliability and reduce wholesale energy prices and their volatility.

This dissertation focuses on analyzing both recent and emerging DR paradigms. Recent DR programs have focused on peak load reduction in commercial buildings and industrial facilities (C&I facilities). We present methods for using 15-minute-interval electric load data, commonly available from C&I facilities, to help building managers understand building energy consumption and ‘ask the right questions' to discover opportunities for DR. Additionally, we present a regression-based model of whole building electric load, i.e., a baseline model, which allows us to quantify DR performance. We use this baseline model to understand the performance of 38 C&I facilities participating in an automated dynamic pricing DR program in California. In this program, facilities are expected to exhibit the same response each DR event. We find that baseline model error makes it difficult to precisely quantify changes in electricity consumption and understand if C&I facilities exhibit event-to-event variability in their response to DR signals. Therefore, we present a method to compute baseline model error and a metric to determine how much observed DR variability results from baseline model error rather than real variability in response. We find that, in general, baseline model error is large. Though some facilities exhibit real DR variability, most observed variability results from baseline model error. In some cases, however, aggregations of C&I facilities exhibit real DR variability, which could create challenges for power system operation. These results have implications for DR program design and deployment.

Emerging DR paradigms focus on faster timescale DR. Here, we investigate methods to coordinate aggregations of residential thermostatically controlled loads (TCLs), including air conditioners and refrigerators, to manage frequency and energy imbalances in power systems. We focus on opportunities to centrally control loads with high accuracy but low requirements for sensing and communications infrastructure. Specifically, we compare cases when measured load state information (e.g., power consumption and temperature) is

  1. available in real time;
  2. available, but not in real time; and
  3. not available.

We develop Markov Chain models to describe the temperature state evolution of heterogeneous populations of TCLs, and use Kalman filtering for both state and joint parameter/state estimation. We present a look-ahead proportional controller to broadcast control signals to all TCLs, which always remain in their temperature dead-band. Simulations indicate that it is possible to achieve power tracking RMS errors in the range of 0.26–9.3% of steady state aggregated power consumption. Results depend upon the information available for system identification, state estimation, and control. We find that, depending upon the performance required, TCLs may not need to provide state information to the central controller in real time or at all. We also estimate the size of the TCL potential resource; potential revenue from participation in markets; and break-even costs associated with deploying DR-enabling technologies. We find that current TCL energy storage capacity in California is 8–11 GWh, with refrigerators contributing the most. Annual revenues from participation in regulation vary from $10 to $220 per TCL per year depending upon the type of TCL and climate zone, while load following and arbitrage revenues are more modest at $2 to $35 per TCL per year. These results lead to a number of policy recommendations that will make it easier to engage residential loads in fast timescale DR.


Engineering, Mechanical Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy in

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