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A Two-Layer Decentralized Control Architecture for DER Coordination

Thomas Navidi,
Abbas El Gamal
Ram Rajagopal
Published in: 2018 IEEE Conference on Decision and Control (CDC) | 17-19 Dec. 2018

This paper presents a two-layer distributed energy resource (DER) coordination architecture that allows for separate ownership of data, operates with data subjected to a large buffering delay, and employs a new measure of power quality. The two-layer architecture comprises a centralized model predictive controller (MPC) and several decentralized MPCs each operating independently with no direct communication between them and with infrequent communication with the centralized controller. The goal is to minimize a combination of total energy cost and a measure of power quality while obeying cyber-physical constraints. The global controller utilizes a fast optimal power flow (OPF) solver and extensive parallelization to scale the solution to large networks. Each local controller attempts to maximize arbitrage profit while following the load profile and constraints dictated by the global controller. Extensive simulations are performed for two distribution networks under a wide variety of possible storage and solar penetrations enabled by the controller speed. The simulations show that (i) the two-layer architecture can achieve tenfold improvement in power quality relative to no coordination, while capturing nearly all of the available arbitrage profit for a moderate amount of storage penetration, and (ii) both power quality and arbitrage profits are optimized when the solar and storage are distributed more widely over the network, hence it is more effective to install storage closer to the consumer.