The recent abundance of data on electricity consumption at different scales opens new challenges and highlights the need for new techniques to leverage information present at finer scales in order to improve forecasts at wider scales. In this work, we take advantage of the similarity between this hierarchical prediction problem and multi-scale transfer learning. We develop two methods for hierarchical transfer learning, based respectively on the stacking of generalized additive models and random forests, and on the use of aggregation of experts. We apply these methods to two problems of electricity load forecasting at national scale, using smart meter data in the first case, and regional data in the second case. For these two usecases, we compare the performances of our methods to that of benchmark algorithms, and we investigate their behaviour using variable importance analysis. Our results demonstrate the interest of both methods, which lead to a significant improvement of the predictions.
Decision makers in many fields rely on the predictions Our research team is tackling two major research made through expert judgment. Merging or aggregating the challenges under the IARPA ACE Program: How do we judgments provided by multiple forecasters presents an best capture the knowledge and understanding that each interesting challenge. Recent research has shown that forecaster has? And, how do we combine this information combining judgments through averaging leads to poor to produce the best overall forecasts? To answer the first prediction performance.
Short-term load forecasting (STLF) is essential for the reliable and economic operation of power systems. Though many STLF methods were proposed over the past decades, most of them focused on loads at high aggregation levels only. Thus, low-aggregation load forecast still requires further research and development. Compared with the substation or city level loads, individual loads are typically more volatile and much more challenging to forecast. To further address this issue, this paper first discusses the characteristics of small-and-medium enterprise (SME) and residential loads at different aggregation levels and quantifies their predictability with approximate entropy. Various STLF techniques, from the conventional linear regression to state-of-the-art deep learning, are implemented for a detailed comparative analysis to verify the forecasting performances as well as the predictability using an Irish smart meter dataset. In addition, the paper also investigates how using data processing improves individual-level residential load forecasting with low predictability. Effectiveness of the discussed method is validated with numerical results.
Accurate electricity demand forecast plays a key role in sustainable power systems. It enables better decision making in the planning of electricity generation and distribution for many use cases. The electricity demand data can often be represented in a hierarchical structure. For example, the electricity consumption of a whole country could be disaggregated by states, cities, and households. Hierarchical forecasts require not only good prediction accuracy at each level of the hierarchy, but also the consistency between different levels. State-of-the-art hierarchical forecasting methods usually apply adjustments on the individual level forecasts to satisfy the aggregation constraints. However, the high-dimensionality of the unpenalized regression problem and the estimation errors in the high-dimensional error covariance matrix can lead to increased variability in the revised forecasts with poor prediction performance. In order to provide more robustness to estimation errors in the adjustments, we present a new hierarchical forecasting algorithm that computes sparse adjustments while still preserving the aggregation constraints. We formulate the problem as a high-dimensional penalized regression, which can be efficiently solved using cyclical coordinate descent methods. We also conduct experiments using a large-scale hierarchical electricity demand data. The results confirm the effectiveness of our approach compared to state-of-the-art hierarchical forecasting methods, in both the sparsity of the adjustments and the prediction accuracy. The proposed approach to hierarchical forecasting could be useful for energy generation including solar and wind energy, as well as numerous other applications.
We revisit the interest of classical statistical techniques for sales forecasting like exponential smoothing and extensions thereof (as Holt's linear trend method). We do so by considering ensemble forecasts, given by several instances of these classical techniques tuned with different (sets of) parameters, and by forming convex combinations of the elements of ensemble forecasts over time, in a robust and sequential manner. The machine-learning theory behind this is called "robust online aggregation", or "prediction with expert advice", or "prediction of individual sequences" (see Cesa-Bianchi and Lugosi, 2006). We apply this methodology to a hierarchical data set of sales provided by the e-commerce company Cdiscount and output forecasts at the levels of subsubfamilies, subfamilies and families of items sold, for various forecasting horizons (up to 6-week-ahead). The performance achieved is better than what would be obtained by optimally tuning the classical techniques on a train set and using their forecasts on the test set. The performance is also good from an intrinsic point of view (in terms of mean absolute percentage of error). While getting these better forecasts of sales at the levels of subsubfamilies, subfamilies and families is interesting per se, we also suggest to use them as additional features when forecasting demand at the item level.