Example Run for PosoMAS — Case Study: Autonomous Power Management

We envision a power grid in which small, distributed power plants can be controlled or are able to participate in a scheduling scheme. The aim of such a system is to stabilise the power grid by incorporating distributed energy production, create financial incentives for individual power plant owners, and allow the creation of new and innovative products on the power market.


An autonomous power management system as envisioned in the case study has to fulfill the following requirements:


We make a number of assumptions about the environment the system will be located in, about available technologies, and the regulatory framework.

Related Approaches

Several different approaches to re-structure power management systems have already been proposed. A key concept is the Virtual Power Plant (VPP), usually defined as groups of power plants that are in most cases controlled by a central entity (see, e.g., Lombardi et al., 2009). Sometimes, membership in a VPP is restricted to certain types of power plants or power plants with predefined properties, such as dispersed generation units and micro-CHPs (combined heat and power units) in (Schulz et al., 2005) or DERs in (Bel et al., 2007). These approaches mainly focus on providing structures to integrate DERs into existing control schemes. Others concentrate on facilitating trading in power markets and distinguish commercial VPPs that participate in power markets and technical VPPs that provide services for the transmission net (Pudjianto et al., 2007). None of these approaches combine all the features that we are looking for in the power management system of the future. However, they give important insights into the organisation and functionality of such a system.

The techniques we propose should not be seen in isolation, but have to be complemented by other technologies and a shift in the legal and regulatory framework (see, e.g., the results of the E-Energy project as well as of several European and international initiatives such as the FP6 project INTEGRAL, the European Electricity Grid Initiative and its associated projects such as DISCERN, or the UK's Autonomic Power Systems project).

A solution that fits many of the requirements and assumptions outlined above has been described in Steghöfer et al., (2013a). A hierarchy of Autonomous Virtual Power Plants (AVPPs) is formed in a self-organisation process (Steghöfer et al., 2013a) to distribute the computational load of power plant scheduling, enabling the integration of distributed resources. Uncertainties in the system are captured by using trust-based scenarios (Anders et al., 2013). While the techniques developed inform the application of PosoMAS for the case study, the simulated development effort is in principle decoupled from these results and aims for the development of a suitable architecture independent of the need to support existing approaches.



1. Munich's municipal utility ("Stadtwerke München"), one of the larger ones in Germany, controls about 50 generators, some of which are only producing heat for the district heating network or are intermittent wind or solar generators that can not be finely controlled. Overall, the utility has to create schedules that depend on power output for only 21 of these 50 generators. Source: http://www.swm.de/dms/swm/dokumente/unternehmen/energieerzeugung/broschuere-erzeugungsanlagen.pdf, visited Aug.~3rd, 2013.


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© Copyright 2013, 2014 by Institute for Software & Systems Engineering, University of Augsburg
Contact: Jan-Philipp Steghöfer