Collaborative Research: AMPS: Robust Failure Probability Minimization for Grid Operational Planning with Non-Gaussian Uncertainties

Project: Research project

Project Details


The electric power industry accounted for the second-largest portion of all carbon emissions across economic sectors in 2020. Renewable energy resources, particularly wind and solar, are critical to decarbonizing the grid and ensuring the nation's future prosperity and welfare. However, because of their inherent and unavoidable intermittency and variability, successful integration of renewable energy resources in the nation's energy mix poses fundamental challenges for day-to-day grid operations. Failure to account for this uncertainty during planning can result in loss of service and grid de-stabilization, thus jeopardizing not only the achievement of decarbonization targets but also system reliability. This project develops the next generation of mathematical methods, computer models, and algorithms for grid operational planning, which accurately and systematically take into account the non-normal and multi-modal nature of renewable uncertainty, as well as the nonlinear and often counter-intuitive physical laws that govern electric power networks. The project's methods and computer implementations shall benefit and inform diverse planning tools, both within the electric power sector as well as the broader energy sector, including those of private companies and vendors who specialize in power systems software. The project further impacts education and the broader society by training undergraduate and graduate STEM students in energy systems optimization and the foundations of electric power grid operations, thereby enabling them to apply their analytical skills to design more environmentally- and economically-efficient future energy systems.The project contributes a general methodology, including new mathematical models, theory, and algorithms, to systematically account for non-Gaussian error distributions of renewable energy forecasts, in one of the most fundamental power system planning problems called AC Optimal Power Flow. A general treatment of non-Gaussian errors in electric load and renewable energy forecasts has not been considered before in grid planning, despite being exhibited in data. The project rigorously integrates risk and uncertainty in this context by developing a novel methodology for optimization under non-Gaussian probabilistic constraints. This is achieved by exploiting the representability and analyticity of Gaussian mixture models and by designing algorithms that are modular enough to allow current methods which are proven to work well for Gaussian errors to be reusable with only minor modifications. The generality of the approach is expected to spur new algorithms in the broader field of chance-constrained optimization, including nonlinear nonconvex problems whose constraints are affected by Gaussian mixture uncertainties. The project also rigorously accounts for misspecification of the mixture model parameters by designing novel non-Gaussian ambiguity sets, which have not been studied before but have the potential to enable the discovery of robust network operating points with improved out-of-sample performance and reliability. The project uses real utility data to guide model validation and experimentation and also provides a set of practical recommendations for system operators to facilitate the adoption of the developed methods.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date12/1/2211/30/25


  • National Science Foundation: $290,000.00


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