Tunable Experimental Testbed for Evaluating Load Coordination Methods

Drew A. Geller, Johanna L. Mathieu

Driven by the need to offset the variability of wind and solar generation on the electrical grid, development of load controls is a highly active field in the engineering literature. However, practical use of residential loads for grid balancing and ancillary services remains rare, in part due to the relative cost of communicating with hordes of small loads and also due to the limited experimentation done so far to demonstrate reliable operation. To establish a basis for the safe and reliable use of fleets of small compressor loads as distributed energy resources (DERs), we have constructed an experimental testbed in a laboratory, so that load coordination schemes can be tested at extreme conditions within a laboratory environment. This experiment can be used to tune a simulation testbed to which it can then be linked, thereby augmenting the effective size of the ensemble of loads. Control algorithms can simply be plugged in for testing. Modeling of the system was done both to demonstrate the experimental testbed's behavior and also to understand how to tune the behavior of each participating model house in the system. Implementing this testbed has been useful for the rapid turnaround of experiments on various control types, and it enables testing year-round without the constraints and limitations arising in seasonal field tests with real human participants.

Knowledge Graph

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