Self-organizing Coordination of Multi-Agent Microgrid Networks
This work introduces self-organizing techniques to reduce the complexity and burden of coordinating distributed energy resources (DERs) and microgrids that are rapidly increasing in scale globally. Technical and financial evaluations completed for power customers and for utilities identify how disruptions are occurring in conventional energy business models. Analyses completed for Chicago, Seattle, and Phoenix demonstrate site-specific and generalizable findings. Results indicate that net metering had a significant effect on the optimal amount of solar photovoltaics (PV) for households to install and how utilities could recover lost revenue through increasing energy rates or monthly fees. System-wide ramp rate requirements also increased as solar PV penetration increased. These issues are resolved using a generalizable, scalable transactive energy framework for microgrids to enable coordination and automation of DERs and microgrids to ensure cost effective use of energy for all stakeholders. This technique is demonstrated on a 3-node and 9-node network of microgrid nodes with various amounts of load, solar, and storage. Results found that enabling trading could achieve cost savings for all individual nodes and for the network up to 5.4%. Trading behaviors are expressed using an exponential valuation curve that quantifies the reputation of trading partners using historical interactions between nodes for compatibility, familiarity, and acceptance of trades. The same 9-node network configuration is used with varying levels of connectivity, resulting in up to 71% cost savings for individual nodes and up to 13% cost savings for the network as a whole. The effect of a trading fee is also explored to understand how electricity utilities may gain revenue from electricity traded directly between customers. If a utility imposed a trading fee to recoup lost revenue then trading is financially infeasible for agents, but could be feasible if only trying to recoup cost of distribution charges. These scientific findings conclude with a brief discussion of physical deployment opportunities.