Systems and Control Opportunities for Decarbonization of the Energy System

Thursday, July 16, 11.00-13.00


Pramod P. Khargonekar, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA


Decarbonization of the energy system is among the most important societal and technological needs for mitigating global warming. The principal goal of this tutorial session is to provide the participants a broad and deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities for the systems and control community to contribute to this urgent need. The energy system is a large socio-economic-technological system consisting of interlinked production, transmission, and consumption processes. The tutorial will consist of four presentations. These presentations will cover the overall energy system and decarbonization challenge and then focus on several major components of the system where systems and control community has particularly compelling opportunities: deep integration of solar and wind power generation into electric energy system, on-shore and off-shore wind energy production and building heating and cooling systems.


Energy System and Decarbonization Challenge
Speaker: P. P. Khargonekar, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
Thursday, July 16, 11:00-11:25

In this talk, we will begin with an overview of the global energy system both from the generation and consumption viewpoints. We will describe the context of global warming and how it motivates the need for decarbonization of the energy system. We will discuss the key trends in energy consumption growth due to population growth and economic growth. Next, we will describe major new energy technologies, e. g., solar, wind, electric vehicles, biofuels, energy efficiency, manufacturing,  etc. that are being envisioned and developed to reduce the use of fossil fuel based energy sources. The role of natural gas as a transition fuel will also be discussed. We will conclude the presentation by describing the critical and difficult technological problems where systems and control community can make important contributions to the decarbonization of the energy system.

Deep Integration of Solar and Wind into the Electric Grid
Speaker: A. M. Annaswamy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Thursday, July 16, 11:25-11:50

World over, there’s a big push towards a 100% incorporation of wind and solar power for electricity production. Significant changes have occurred even over the past decade in the energy landscape, especially in the US power sector. Natural gas prices have declined, costs of renewable energy technologies have come down, and large-scale battery energy storage technologies have advanced rapidly. There are however a host of challenges, most of which are due to the intermittency and unpredictability of the renewable energy resources. Most of the requisite solutions for the deep integration of these renewable resources for electricity production are control-centric. A distributed optimization approach that judiciously combines renewable generation with storage and flexible loads has the possibility for ensuring power balances. A distributed control approach that enables a coordinated network of millions of controllers, all integrated with solar and wind power generation nodes, storage sites, and flexible consumption can lead to effective frequency regulation and voltage control. In this tutorial talk, some of these challenges, highlights of the current research in distributed optimization and control, and opportunities for future directions will be discussed. Examples of use cases that illustrate the role of optimization and control in renewable-rich power grids will be presented.

Systems and Control for Onshore and Offshore Wind Energy Production
Speaker: Mario A. Rotea, University of Texas at Dallas, USA
Thursday, July 16, 11:50-12:20

Wind energy technology is a major player in utility-scale renewable energy for the production of electricity around the globe. Many countries share the strategic goal of increasing the penetration of wind energy into the electric grids. In the U.S. alone the goal is to increase from 100 gigawatts [GW] of wind power installed capacity, supplying 6.5% of the electricity demand in 2018, to more than 400 GW of wind power contributing 35% electricity by 2050. Attaining this goal would require a continued decrease of the cost of wind power for both land-based and offshore installations. Advanced control systems play a role in reducing the cost of wind energy, by maximizing annual energy production or reducing the operation and maintenance expenditures. This talk will provide an overview of challenges and opportunities in two areas of discovery and innovation for wind energy systems: improved wind plant power production and mitigation of aeromechanical loads in mega-sized wind turbines. Advance cost-effective technologies in these areas are necessary to enable wind energy to supply one-third of the world’s electricity needs, which is a global forecast shared by many energy consultants for the year 2050.

Building Heating and Cooling Energy Consumption: A Systems and Control Perspective
Speaker: Jakob Stoustrup, Aalborg University, Denmark
Thursday, July 16, 12:20-12:40

Buildings use approximately 40% of global energy. A significant proportion of this can in principle be saved with appropriate controls without sacrificing comfort or other functions of the buildings. It has been demonstrated repeatedly for well-instrumented buildings how advanced controls can accomplish this based on high-fidelity models. In practice, however, buildings often lack instrumentation. Further, often no business case supports the expenses associated with obtaining and maintaining high-fidelity models. In this presentation, we shall discuss how energy-efficient control can still be pursued in the face of these challenges. 
We first discuss energy-efficient control of residential buildings, where extremum-seeking algorithms have shown potential. From there we proceed with buildings of increasing complexity. As an ultimate challenge, we shall consider the problem of controlling the indoor climate of individual shops and joint areas in shopping malls, where considerable uncertainty and time-varying topologies have to be taken into account.

Interactive Live Session
Thursday, July 16, 12:40-13:00