Duration-Differentiated Services in Electricity

Ashutosh Nayyar, Matias Negrete-Pincetic, Kameshwar Poolla, Pravin Varaiya

The integration of renewable sources poses challenges at the operational and economic levels of the power grid. In terms of keeping the balance between supply and demand, the usual scheme of supply following load may not be appropriate for large penetration levels of uncertain and intermittent renewable supply. In this paper, we focus on an alternative scheme in which the load follows the supply, exploiting the flexibility associated with the demand side. We consider a model of flexible loads that are to be serviced by zero-marginal cost renewable power together with conventional generation if necessary. Each load demands 1 kW for a specified number of time slots within an operational period. The flexibility of a load resides in the fact that the service may be delivered over any slots within the operational period. Loads therefore require flexible energy services that are differentiated by the demanded duration. We focus on two problems associated with durations-differentiated loads. The first problem deals with the operational decisions that a supplier has to make to serve a given set of duration differentiated loads. The second problem focuses on a market implementation for duration differentiated services. We give necessary and sufficient conditions under which the available power can service the loads, and we describe an algorithm that constructs an appropriate allocation. In the event the available supply is inadequate, we characterize the minimum amount of power that must be purchased to service the loads. Next we consider a forward market where consumers can purchase duration differentiated energy services. We first characterize social welfare maximizing allocations in this forward market and then show the existence of an efficient competitive equilibrium.

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