Time-critical intervention mechanism for demand side management functions in support of secure power system operation

  • Supervisor: Professor Graeme Burt, University of Strathclyde
  • Sponsoring Company: TNO (NL) 
  • PhD Student: Mazheruddin Hussain Syed

An important prerequisite for reliable and stable operation of electrical power grids is that the supply and demand of power are balanced at all times. Conventionally, real-time balancing is implemented by adjusting large-scale generation to fluctuations in demand. However, this load-following strategy is becoming increasingly difficult with the growing degree of integration of renewable and distributed generation, which affects both the ability to forecast and to control. Enhanced control flexibility is therefore required.

A promising solution is to encourage large-scale demand-side and DER participation in real-time balancing mechanisms. In such a setting, modern ICT solutions are provided to producers, consumers and so-called prosumers. These are linked to current market mechanisms for contributing to ancillary services. The handling of, potentially millions of, small customers requires coordination that controls their overall power usage but does not impede individual behaviour. The PowerMatcher™ technology, as developed by ECN and now taken forward by TNO, delivers such a real-time mechanism for coordination of supply and demand of electricity in networks with a high share of distributed generation. Applications so far have been focused on virtual power plant (VPP) operation based on commercial interests, such as balancing of a portfolio of a balance-responsible partner, or price/market driven peak load reduction.

Less well proven is the ability of such technology to provide ancillary services that support the resilient operation of the grid, and do so within a time-critical framework. Such concept assessment can be undertaken within the Strathclyde microgrid and its associated hardware-in-the-loop capability. This ETP studentship will make use of this experimental platform to investigate the novel provision of time-critical services such as frequency support, utilising PowerMatcher functions and demonstrating new Transmission/Distribution System Operator functions under stressed system conditions.