Abstract for: Using System Dynamics to Define, Study, and Implement Smart Control Strategies on the Electric Power Grid

The United States electric power grid is the most complex and expansive control system in the world. Control of individual generators is based on unit inertia and governor characteristics, larger regional control coordinates unit response based on unit economics and error conditions, and higher level large-area regional control is administered by a network of humans guided by economic and resiliency related factors. Under normal operating conditions, the grid is a relatively slow moving entity that exhibits high inertia to outside stimuli, and behaves along repeatable diurnal and seasonal patterns. However, that paradigm is changing due to increasing implementation of renewable generation sources. Renewable generators by nature cannot be tightly controlled or scheduled and appear like a negative load to the system with all of the variability associated with load on a larger scale. In response, grid-reactive loads (i.e. smart devices) can alter their consumption based on price or demand rules, thereby balancing this variability. This paper demonstrates how a system dynamics modeling approach capable of operating over multiple time scales can provide valuable insight into developing new “smart-grid” control strategies and new ancillary services for smart devices to accommodate renewable generation and regulate the frequency of the grid.