Appliance-level Flexible Scheduling for Socio-technical Smart Grid Optimisation

by   Farzam Fanitabasi, et al.

Participation in energy demand response programs requires an active role by users of residential appliances: they contribute flexibility in appliance usage as the means to adjust energy consumption and improve Smart Grid reliability. Understanding the collective potential that appliance-level flexibility has on Smart Grid reliability is challenging and complex. Physical characteristics of appliances, usage preferences, habits, and lifestyle are socio-technical factors that influence system-wide reliability coming often at the expense of users' comfort, i.e. thermal. This paper studies appliance-level flexible scheduling and specifically the following research questions: (i) How flexible are users in scheduling their appliances to improve Smart Grid reliability? (ii) How do users' comfort requirements affect the contributions of flexibility and as a result the collective action of improving Smart Grid reliability? (iii) Which appliances have the highest regulatory impact on Smart Grid? (iv) Can flexibility further improve Smart Grid reliability compared to simply operating individual appliances more efficiently? And finally, (v) what is the impact of varying users' participation on the collective action of improving reliability? To address these questions, a distributed optimisation scheme is studied to coordinate the selection of multiple appliance-level schedules representing users' self-determined flexibility. Experimental evaluation using a novel dataset shows that higher user flexibility significantly improves Smart Grid reliability with the oven having the highest system-wide potential for this. Compared to an existing efficiency scheme for kettles, flexible coordinated scheduling shows further improvements in reliability. These new findings have implications for the design of more cost-effective and granular demand response programs in participatory and decentralised Smart Grids.


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