A Cyber-Physical Systems Perspective on Decentralized Energy Management

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Driven by the effects of climate change, our world is in a rapid transition towards a sustainable society powered by renewable energy, such as produced by solar panels and wind turbines. As a result, the supply of energy becomes less controllable, endangering the stability of the electricity system. On the other hand, the adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps also provides an opportunity to avoid overloading as electricity can be produced and consumed locally. The scope of this thesis is to perform decentralized energy management, specifically within residential distribution grids where large scale adoption of distributed energy resources (DERs) is expected. A cyber-physical systems approach is taken to study the interaction between control systems, the operation of devices and the effect on the physical grid.

The first contribution is a proactive control methodology called profile steering to decentralize the coordination between all DERs in a microgrid. The hierarchical structure of profile steering allows for a natural mapping between and radially operated low voltage grids. The model predictive nature of this approach resolves prediction errors in both the time and energy domain. A second contribution is a control methodology based on double-sided auctions, for real-time balancing in islanding situations. In such situations, DERs can assist conventional backup solutions in balancing a microgrid. Local information can be used to avoid overloading when communication networks fail. The third contribution is the developed simulation and demonstration framework to test these control methodologies in a cyber-physical systems context.

A real-life stress-test resulted in a supply interruption due to grid overloading. The lack of controllability was a major cause for this, illustrating the importance of control in future distribution grids. The presented decentralized energy management approach is a valuable tool to unlock flexibility of DERs and provide means for a smooth energy transition.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Smit, G.J.M., Supervisor
  • Hurink, Johann L., Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date8 Dec 2017
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4432-0
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2017


  • Smart grids
  • Profile steering
  • Renewable energy
  • Distributed energy resources
  • Microgrids
  • Cyber-physical systems


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