From the Optimizing Thermostat to a Smart Energy Management System: Models, Benchmark, and Insights

Speaker(s): 
Date: 
May 1, 2012 - 12:00pm
Location: 
90-3122
Seminar Host/Point of Contact: 

Nowadays, users in the retail electricity market only need to pay a fixed rate for electricity. This strategy results in lack of coordination between demand and supply and costs significant waste. A shift from fixed rate pricing in retail markets could potentially yield many benefits. Time-varying pricing promotes the substitution of off-peak consumption for peak consumption, reducing strain on the electrical system, the need for costly and inefficient “peaker” plants, and waste in electricity delivery. However, existing research supports what common sense suggests: When retail electricity prices vary, the vast majority of consumers do not respond to time-varying prices because the hassles out-weigh the benefits. The hassle can be large, for example, involves repeatedly solving a dynamic forward-looking optimization that has no closed-form solution and requires millions of mathematical operations a day to approximate. Motivated from this fact, we propose a decentralized energy management system (EMS) that helps achieve demand response. Specifically, we will consider the case in which dynamic pricing will be offered to the Smart Grid users and the EMS in each building/household makes the optimal energy usage, storage and trading decisions based on the preferences of users. In this talk, we will focus on the design of a thermostat that optimally trades off comfort for cost-saving, and how this thermostat will change the users energy consumption behavior. We will also briefly discuss some extensions of the model. A recording of this seminar is available at:  https://vimeo.com/41448497  

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