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Colloquium on Digital Transformation Science

  • June 17, 3 pm CT

    Data-Driven Coordination of Distributed Energy Resources

    Alejandro Dominguez-Garcia, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


    The integration of distributed energy resources (DERs), such as rooftop photovoltaics installations, electric energy storage devices, and flexible loads, is becoming prevalent. This integration poses numerous operational challenges on the lower-voltage systems to which DERs are connected, but also creates new opportunities for provision of grid services. In the first part of the talk, we discuss one such operational challenge — ensuring proper voltage regulation in the distribution network to which DERs are connected. To address this problem, we propose a Volt/VAR control architecture that relies on the proper coordination of conventional voltage regulation devices (e.g., tap changing under load, or TCUL, transformers and switched capacitors) and DERs with reactive power provision capability. In the second part of the talk, we discuss one such opportunity — utilizing DERs to provide regulation services to the bulk power grid. To leverage this opportunity, we propose a scheme for coordinating the response of the DERs so that the power injected into the distribution network (to which the DERs are connected) follows some regulation signal provided by the bulk power system operator. Throughout the talk, we assume limited knowledge of the particular power system models and develop data-driven methods to learn them. We then utilize these models to design appropriate controls for determining the set-points of DERs (and other assets such as TCULs) in an optimal or nearly-optimal fashion.

    Alejandro D. Dominguez-Garcia is a professor, William L Everitt Scholar, and Grainger Associate in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research program aims to develop technologies for providing a reliable and efficient supply of electricity — a key to ensuring societal welfare and sustainable economic growth. He received the NSF CAREER Award in 2010, and the Young Engineer Award from the IEEE Power and Energy Society in 2012. He was selected by the UIUC Provost to receive a Distinguished Promotion Award in 2014, and he received the UIUC College of Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2015.

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