ISO-NE’s research recognized internationally by INFORMS

Paper outlines innovative model for unit commitment as system uncertainty increases

A research paper by ISO New England’s Business Architecture and Technology (BAT) team was among the finalists for 2015’s prestigious Best Publication Award in Energy from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The paper, “Adaptive Robust Optimization for the Security Constrained Unit Commitment Problem,” describes the pioneering application of a powerful risk management modeling tool in the electricity industry. The paper won honorable mention (second place) out of numerous journal articles from operations researchers and professionals around the globe. Originally published in IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, the journal article is having significant influence; it’s been referenced by researchers in almost 300 other academic and industry publications so far.

“The proliferation of demand resources and renewable power resources is having a profound effect across a wide range of ISO systems and processes. This paper highlights one of the areas of  advanced research that ISO New England is investing in to ensure efficient market pricing and reliable and economic operations in the context of a rapidly evolving resource mix,” said ISO President and CEO Gordon van Welie.

About the research

Drs. Eugene Litvinov, Jinye Zhao, and Tongxin Zheng from the ISO authored the paper in collaboration with Dr. Xu Andy Sun from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Dr. Dimitris Bertsimas of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dispatching power resources to reliably serve electricity demand is one of the most critical tasks in electric power system operations. But doing this efficiently and economically is getting increasingly challenging as more demand resources and weather-dependent wind- and solar-power resources come online. These resources introduce unprecedented levels of uncertainty in real-time operations about how much power is going to be demanded from the grid or available to supply it.

The paper outlines an innovative computational strategy that can account for that uncertainty. The ISO team and its partners developed and tested sophisticated techniques for quantifying the uncertainty, setting up a modeling framework for analyzing it, and providing an efficient commitment solution. The new model yields both increased power system reliability and minimized dispatch costs, for a sizable savings, and remains effective as uncertainty levels increase.

Practical application

The ISO is putting the new methodology into practice to enable the efficient and reliable dispatch of wind resources as part of its Do Not Exceed (DNE) Dispatch Project. The project, expected to go live mid-2016, will, among other things, incorporate wind and other intermittent resources into real-time dispatch and allow wind to set the price for wholesale electricity, which will help provide proper market signals for new capacity.

About the award

INFORMS is the world’s largest society for professionals in the fields of operations research and analytics, as well as management sciences. It issues awards annually to the best refereed journal articles. The papers must be nominated by a third party (not the authors) and are judged by a committee for their impact and originality.

Features & Interviews, Inside ISO New England
demand resources, renewable resources, system operations, wind