Practical approximations and heuristic approaches for managing shiftable loads in the multi-period optimal power flow framework



I.-I. Avramidis, F. Capitanescu, and G. Deconinck


Electric Power Systems Research, vol. 190, art. no. 106864, 2021


The presence of smart buildings (SBs) is expected to grow manifold in the next decade, leading to both challenges and opportunities in managing increasingly “active” distribution systems. SBs are host to a number of devices and technologies capable of providing residential flexibility in order to maintain acceptable operating conditions within the distribution system. A prevalent class of devices with significant potential for flexibility provision are shiftable loads (SLs), which represent a large amount of potential SB-provided flexibility. However, the accurate modelling of SLs within the multi-period optimal power flow (MP-OPF) framework results in complex non-convex mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) problems. For realistic feeders, MINLP problems are intractable and hence require some heuristic form of circumvention. This work evaluates the limitations of the MINLP formulation and proposes new practical alternatives, namely a flexible NLP approximation and a multi-faceted heuristic algorithm. The proposed approaches are generic and applicable for any problem size or type of SL, while they are shown to work efficiently, both speed-wise and solution-quality-wise, outperforming state-of-the-art MINLP solvers. A simple scoring and ranking scheme is also proposed in order to make a direct comparison between the different approaches.



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