Planning the optimal operation for units of virtual power plants

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Dr. Divényi Dániel Péter
Department of Electric Power Engineering

Electric power is essential nowadays, and continuous supply must be provided all the time. As a product, it has special attributes which should be considered throughout the delivery from the generation to the customers. Electricity flows through a highly complex system, and that should be developed and maintained carefully to ensure the security of supply. The stakeholders of the electrical power sector contribute to the undisturbed operation as they processes and duties demand.

Until the liberalization of the electric power sector, a regulated market existed where the security of supply was the primary purpose. The transmission system operator had to take the power from generation facilities and distribution system operators delivered it to the customers. As the first step of the liberalization process the competitive market became open for non-residential customers who could choose the retailer for the electricity supply. A twofold market was formulated. In the next step of the market opening, the residential customers were allowed to enter the competitive market, and the public utility had been replaced by the universal service.

The equilibrium between electricity generation and consumption must be ensured for the appropriate operation of the system and transmission system operators procure ancillary services to implement that. In that framework the operator uses contracts to have available power for balancing the deviations from the proposed schedules and avoid supply interruptions caused by unexpected faults.

Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) consist of (and also control) decentralized small power plants and storage systems which are using different type of fuels and join to the VPP on free will. This process enables the small plants to join as an aggregated stakeholder, therefore being able to participate in the ancillary service market and make higher revenues. The distributed plants controlled from a central operation centre by an optimizing strategy.

The goal of my thesis was to compose a strategy for optimal operation of each plant in a VPP. These are gas engines which are also providing heat as a combined output. The algorithm was implemented in the MATLAB software environment. I built a model which is capable of computing the optimal operation in a long term basis for each plant. The objective function was to maximize the profit. There is an additional controlling function in the model which can be used for following the control signals.


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