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The Entropic Grid: Stability by Design for Distributed Power Markets

United States – Israel Binational Science Foundation

Co-PIs S. Mannor (Technion), R. Johari (Stanford), S. Meyn (UF)

Project Summary Many changes are coming to the power industry due to new policies and new technologies. This is bringing new challenges in operating and planning the power grid. Some of these challenges take the form of increased or more exotic dynamics, and greater volatility and uncertainty. For example, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy will inject volatile and uncertain patterns of energy production into the grid, smart meters and appliances will increase demand uncertainty, new information technologies may increase cyber-security risks, and new products and market participants will increase dynamics and uncertainty. Recent work shows that volatility and uncertainty can have a tremendous impact on system operations and market outcomes. New ways of thinking about both operations and long-term planning emerge as critical requirements for reliability.

The Smart-Grid vision has been sparked by the need for a more reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy network. However, new technologies and new policies intended to realize this vision may increase significantly the complexity of the power network. In particular, with greater consumer and supplier choice, and with the introduction of renewable energy resources that are often unpredictable, the range of possible system behaviors — that is, its entropy — may increase dramatically.

In this project, we propose to bring advanced methodology from market design, decision and control theories, simulation, and learning to handle un- certainty and dynamics in energy networks, taking into account the cost and reliability constraints faced in such networks as well the the participation of several agents each with a different objective and agenda. Our thesis is that through management and design of the contractual and market mechanisms in place for operation of the network, volatility can be mitigated and reliable operation ensured.



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