Abstract: The National Academy of Engineering named the electric power grid the greatest engineering achievement of the 20th century. However, as recent large-scale power grid failures illustrate, the (electro-mechanical) electric grid is being operated closer and closer to its limits. Specifically, the electric grid of the 20th century is aging and congested. Due to the protracted and cost-intensive nature of upgrading energy infrastructures, major research initiatives are now underway to improve the utility of the existing infrastructure. One important topic is contingency management. Accordingly, this dissertation comprises of practical, yet rigorously justified, feedback control algorithms that are suitable for power system contingency management. The main goals of the algorithms are to prevent or mitigate overloads on network elements (e.g. lines and transformers). In this dissertation, a coupling of energy infrastructures is examined as a method for improving system reliability and a simple cascade mitigation approach highlights the role of model-predictive control and energy storage in improving system response to severe disturbances (e.g. line outages). The ideas of balancing economic and safety criteria are developed and implemented with a receding-horizon model-predictive controller (RHMPC) for electric transmission systems with energy storage and renewables. The novel RHMPC scheme employs a lossy "DC" power flow model and is proven to alleviate conductor temperature overloads and returns the system to an economically optimal state. Finally, an incentive-based distributed predictive-control algorithm is developed to prevent overloads in the distribution network caused by overnight charging of plug-in electric vehicles. In addition, Matlab-based simulations are included to illustrate the performance and behavior of all proposed overload mitigation schemes. The automatic schemes presented in this dissertation are, essentially, "closing the loop'' in contingency management, and will help bring the electric power grid into the 21st century.
[edit database entry]
Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).