Classical methods to control heating systems are often marred by suboptimal performance, inability to adapt to dynamic conditions and unreasonable assumptions e.g. existence of building models. This paper presents a novel deep reinforcement learning algorithm which can control space heating in buildings in a computationally efficient manner, and benchmarks it against other known techniques. The proposed algorithm outperforms rule based control by between 5-10% in a simulation environment for a number of price signals. We conclude that, while not optimal, the proposed algorithm offers additional practical advantages such as faster computation times and increased robustness to non-stationarities in building dynamics.
This paper outlines a new approach to creating value from the Smart Grid by incorporating individual households into the response system that must be deployed to accommodate increasingly large sources of intermittent renewable power. We propose a framework that couples agent-based AI techniques with envelope methods. Envelope methods provide a unified mathematical framework to model intermittent renewable resources, conventional dispatchable resources, demand side response, and storage. The overall goal of our system is to develop a distributed autonomous agent architecture that is able to facilitate market transactions among load serving entities, residential consumers, conventional merchant power producers, and intermittent power producers.
The area of building energy management has received a significant amount of interest in recent years. This area is concerned with combining advancements in sensor technologies, communications and advanced control algorithms to optimize energy utilization. Reinforcement learning is one of the most prominent machine learning algorithms used for control problems and has had many successful applications in the area of building energy management. This research gives a comprehensive review of the literature relating to the application of reinforcement learning to developing autonomous building energy management systems. The main direction for future research and challenges in reinforcement learning are also outlined.
The problem of probabilistic forecasting and online simulation of real-time electricity market with stochastic generation and demand is considered. By exploiting the parametric structure of the direct current optimal power flow, a new technique based on online dictionary learning (ODL) is proposed. The ODL approach incorporates real-time measurements and historical traces to produce forecasts of joint and marginal probability distributions of future locational marginal prices, power flows, and dispatch levels, conditional on the system state at the time of forecasting. Compared with standard Monte Carlo simulation techniques, the ODL approach offers several orders of magnitude improvement in computation time, making it feasible for online forecasting of market operations. Numerical simulations on large and moderate size power systems illustrate its performance and complexity features and its potential as a tool for system operators.
Restructuring electricity grids to meet the increased demand caused by the electrification of transport and heating, while making greater use of intermittent renewable energy sources, represents one of the greatest engineering challenges of our day. This modern electricity grid, in which both electricity and information flow in two directions between large numbers of widely distributed suppliers and generators — commonly termed the ‘smart grid’ — represents a radical reengineering of infrastructure which has changed little over the last hundred years. However, the autonomous behaviour expected of the smart grid, its distributed nature, and the existence of multiple stakeholders each with their own incentives and interests, challenges existing engineering approaches. In this challenge paper, we describe why we believe that artificial intelligence, and particularly, the fields of autonomous agents and multi-agent systems are essential for delivering the smart grid as it is envisioned. We present some recent work in this area and describe many of the challenges that still remain.