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A Multi-Agent Energy Trading Competition

Authors
Disciplines
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Ecology

Abstract

The energy sector will undergo fundamental changes over the next ten years. Prices for fossil energy resources are continuously increasing, there is an urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions, and the United States and European Union are strongly motivated to become more independent from foreign energy imports. These factors will lead to installation of large numbers of distributed renewable energy generators, which are often intermittent in nature. This trend conflicts with the current power grid control infrastructure and strategies, where a few centralized control centers manage a limited number of large power plants such that their output meets the energy demands in real time. As the proportion of distributed and intermittent generation capacity increases, this task becomes much harder, especially as the local and regional distribution grids where renewable energy generators are usually installed are currently virtually unmanaged, lack real time metering and are not built to cope with power flow inversions (yet).All this is about to change, and so the control strategies must be adapted accordingly. While the hierarchical command-and-control approach served well in a world with a few large scale generation facilities and many small consumers, a more flexible, decentralized, and self-organizing control infrastructure will have to be developed that can be actively managed to balance both the large grid as a whole, as well as the many lower voltage sub-grids.We propose a competitive simulation test bed to stimulate research and development of electronic agents that help manage these tasks. Participants in the competition will develop intelligent agents that are responsible to level energy supply from generators with energy demand from consumers. The competition is designed to closely model reality by bootstrapping the simulation environment with real historic load, generation, and weather data. The simulation environment will provide a low-risk platform that combines simulated markets and real-world data to develop solutions that can be applied to help building the self-organizing intelligent energy grid of the future.

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