Autonomous Distributed Smartgrid (ADS) / Versatile Autonomous Smartgrid Testbed (VAST)
Nathan Ainsworth, Mitch Costley, and Alyse Taylor
Renewable energy directly reduces emissions and mitigates effects of global warming. It has accounted for 80% of the total new generation installed in the United States in the last two years. Renewable energy, largely wind and solar has three inherent characteristics: a) It is distributed across vast geographic areas, b) It is connected to the grid through power electronics, and c) It is highly variable. These characteristics pose major challenges to current centralized control, which requires massive amounts of data, exponentially growing communication bandwidth and computational power, and more powerful algorithms to address the new spatio-temporal dimensions and scales involved in the control problem.
Fast growing installations of roof-top solar panels, neighborhood wind turbines, hybrid vehicles, and distributed storage are indicators of a natural need to transition towards distributed control. Therefore, the impending research problem consists of addressing microgrid operation, control and stability. Since existing inertia-based stabilization methods are not well understood, new methods for autonomous control with numerous small inverter-based sources, smart loads and storage is critical. This research will be the first to propose a viable mechanism for autonomous control in that will enable connection of arbitrary amounts of distributed sources.
Last revised on Aug. 25, 2011