The electricity system is in the midst of disruptive transformation. Intermittent renewables, unprecedented data availability, distributed resources, new products and markets threaten the status quo. The legacy grid operates on the premise that loads are largely predictable, and generation is controllable. But uncontrollable and variable renewable energy resources like large wind farms and millions of rooftop solar panels are forcing us to rethink this paradigm. Obligated to provide on-demand power, utilities compensate renewable generation variability by purchasing expensive reserve generation. This is economically untenable and defeats the emissions benefits of renewable.
A new approach is needed. The emerging consensus is that the demand flexibility of millions of consumers must be exploited to mitigate renewable variability. Consumers are transformed from passive service recipients to active participants in our sustainable energy future. In this talk, I will discuss a comprehensive strategy for demand flexibility management, from end-use residential consumers to large scale power grids. I will describe my research in four interconnected topics: (a) mechanisms for incentivizing consumers to participate in the demand flexibility programs, (b) sequential learning algorithms to estimate consumer preferences, (c) market mechanisms for trading aggregate demand flexibility and (d) flexible scheduling of electricity in the power grid.
Dileep Kalathil is a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD from University of Southern California (USC) in 2014 where he won the best PhD Dissertation Prize in the USC Department of Electrical Engineering. He received an M.Tech from IIT Madras where he won the award for the best academic performance in the EE department. His research interests include sustainable energy systems, energy economics, online learning, stochastic control and game theory.