The urge for efficient and sustainable renewable energy in the UK has been boosted by the recent findings by researchers from the University of Southampton. The researchers have come up with an ideal method of creating virtual power plants that can be used for the provision of renewable energy. The last 10 years have seen changes in the electricity supply grid due to the rise in adoption of small and distributed energy resources also referred to as DERs for instance, wind mills and solar panels.
In order to seamlessly meet the energy needs of consumers, the stakeholders in the energy sector need to estimate the production hence express confidence that the Grid can meet the approximated production. Once the estimates are placed the Grid is then in a position to select the number of generators required for production and supply of the energy anytime it is required. It is also important to note that the confidence of these estimates is directly proportional to the activities for scheduling the activities of the generators.
Given their small size the integration of the DERs in the Grid could greatly reduce the over dependence on the traditional energy sources. However, due to the size, they may not have a major impact on the Grid hence create difficulties in deploying them on the Grid. Even though they may be visible the DERs have a number of disadvantages, for instance, their unpredictable nature makes them unable to rake profits that are associated with the Grid, and they do not fit well in the market since they rarely meet the energy generation goals unlike their counterparts; the non-renewable sources. With the recent invention of Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), the DERs are being integrated into the Grid to solve the aforementioned drawback. This is achieved by combining a number of DERs so that they reach the size and supply capacity of the traditional plants.
In this invention, researchers from University of Southampton employ the use of smart as multi-agent software systems or cooperative VPPs (CVPPs) and a case in point is when they created a subscription method where DERs are inspired to join CVPPs that have enormous total energy production.
The research was conducted by the University’s Agents, Interaction and Complexity Research Group and one of the researchers, Dr Valentin Robu, who was among the researchers asserts that there is deliberation on the integration of the small and renewable-energy sources into the Grid without using too much money of resources. He also notes that the tariffs that are presently in place are not only costly but also ineffective.
Dr Robu goes further to add that with smart intelligence, the CVPPs require less costly infrastructure to set up and have not only an overall high production but have the capacity to average the prediction errors that are experienced.
Mathematical modelling is employed, for instance, the proper scoring rule which measures the performance of an entity that makes decisions over and over under undefined conditions. Computerized software which brings in the aspect of intelligence and represents the individual DERs are developed to ensure that the estimates of electricity produce is precise.
The proper scoring rule developed by the researchers is also employed in the payment mechanism hence provides an incentive on prediction of the precise estimations from the CVPPs. The Grid schedule is then boosted by the DERs, which have a planning mechanism. The final production estimates are thus more or less similar to the realised ones hence proving that the software is reliable.
Dr Robu also acknowledges the fact that for a long time, the payment systems for incentive agents to report accurate production estimates and this is attributed to the scoring rules with integrated incentive properties.
He concludes by saying that the system developed by his team can outdo the current high end system of payment that has been created to solve this issue.
In order to obtain valid data, the research team collected 30-minute data on the speed of wind for a total of two and a half months from 16 commercial wind farms in the United Kingdom. Their findings were presented at the AAAI conference on 22-26 July in Toronto, Canada.