During the last century, the development of the power grid was shaped by conventional energy sources benefiting from economies of scale. Consequently, the power grid developed into a highly centralized system. Although in many cases renewable sources also benefit from economies of scale, they are less likely to do so and in many cases they actually benefit from spatial diversity. Additionally, placing them near consumption centers is less problematic as their environmental impact is small. As a result, distributed energy resources (DERs) are increasingly playing a bigger role in today’s power grid. Furthermore, communication, sensing, and control technologies are enabling decentralized control and optimization of the power grid. The future power grid is likely to be characterized by a more lateral organization and decentralized control, higher penetration of intermittent renewable sources, and new control and sensing tools.
Advisor: Miguel Ortega-Vazquez – Electrical & Computer Engineering