By 2050, 70% of the world's population is projected to live and work in cities, with buildings as major constituents. Buildings' energy consumption contributes to more than 70% of electricity use, with people spending more than 90% of their time in buildings. Future cities with innovative, optimized building designs and operations have the potential to play a pivotal role in reducing energy consumption, curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintaining stable electric-grid operations. Buildings are physically connected to the electric power grid, thus it would be beneficial to understand the coupling of decisions and operations of the two. However, at a community level, there is no holistic framework that buildings and power grids can simultaneously utilize to optimize their performance. The challenge related to establishing such a framework is that building control systems are neither connected to, nor integrated with the power grid, and consequently a unified, global optimal energy control strategy at a smart community level cannot be achieved. Hence, the fundamental knowledge gaps are (a) the lack of a holistic, multi-time scale mathematical framework that couples the decisions of buildings stakeholders and grid stakeholders, and (b) the lack of a computationally-tractable solution methodology amenable to implementation on a large number of connected power grid-nodes and buildings. In this project, a novel mathematical framework that fills the aforementioned knowledge gaps will be investigated, and the following hypothesis will be tested: Connected buildings, people, and grids will achieve significant energy savings and stable operation within a smart city. The envisioned smart city framework will furnish individual buildings and power grid devices with custom demand response signals. The hypothesis will be tested against classical demand response (DR) strategies where (i) the integration of building and power-grid dynamics is lacking and (ii) the DR schemes that buildings implement are independent and individual. By engaging in efficient, decentralized community-scale optimization, energy savings will be demonstrated for participating buildings and enhanced stable operation for the grid are projected, hence empowering smart energy communities. To ensure the potential for broad adoption of the proposed framework, this project will be regularly informed with inputs and feedback from Southern California Edison (SCE). In order to test the hypothesis, the following research products will be developed: (1) An innovative method to model a cluster of buildings--with people's behavior embedded in the cluster's dynamics--and their controls so that they can be integrated with grid operation and services; (2) a novel optimization framework to solve complex control problems for large-scale coupled systems; and (3) a methodology to assess the impacts of connected buildings in terms of (a) the grid's operational stability and safety and (b) buildings' optimized energy consumption. To test the proposed framework, a large-scale simulation of a distribution primary feeder with over 1000 buildings will be conducted within SCE?s Johanna and Santiago substations in Central Orange County.
University of California-Riverside
National Science Foundation
Nanpeng Yu
Submitted by David Corman on June 19th, 2017
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