Distributed technique for power scheduling advances smart grid concept
Phys.org, June 24, 2015. Image credit: Hans
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for “scheduling” energy in electric grids that moves away from centralized management by tapping into the distributed computing power of energy devices. The approach advances the smart grid concept by coordinating the energy being produced and stored by both conventional and renewable sources.
Currently, power infrastructure uses a centralized scheduling approach to forecast and coordinate the energy produced at the thousands of large power plants around the country. But as renewable energy systems – such as rooftop solar panels – proliferate, and are incorporated into the power grid, the infrastructure will need more advanced systems for tracking and coordinating exponentially more energy sources. Addressing this issue is essential to the idea of a smart grid that can make efficient use of widespread renewable energy resources.
The existing approaches to scheduling are highly centralized, with power plants sending data to a control center that crunches the numbers and then tells plants how much they’ll be expected to contribute to the grid.