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Journal Paper Accepted at Applied Energy – Demand Side Management in Power Grid Enterprise Control: A Comparison of Industrial & Social Welfare Approaches

The LIINES is happy to announce that our recent paper entitled: Demand Side Management in Power Grid Enterprise Control: A Comparison of Industrial & Social Welfare Approaches, has been accepted to the Applied Energy Journal. This study comes as a result of collaboration between three universities; MIT, Masdar Institute, and Dartmouth. The work is authored by Bo Jiang (MIT), Aramazd Muzhikyan (Masdar Institute), Prof. Amro M. Farid (Dartmouth) and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi (MIT).

Demand response is an integral part of a reliable and cost-effective power grid.  As wind and solar energy become two important power generation sources that reduce CO2 emissions and ensure domestic energy security, their intermittent and uncertain nature poses operational challenges on the electrical grid’s reliability. Instead of relying solely on dispatchable generation, power grid operators, called ISOs, are adopting Demand Response (DR) programs to allow customers to adjust electricity consumption in response to market signals. These DR programs are an efficient way to introduce dispatchable demand side resources that mitigate the variable effects of renewable energy, enhance power grid reliability and reduce electricity costs. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling Federal Energy Regulatory Commission vs. Electric Power Supply Association, has upheld the implementation of Demand Response allowing its role to mature in the coming years.

Despite the recognized importance and potential of DR, the academic and industrial literature have taken divergent approaches to its implementation. The popular approach in the scientific literature uses the concept of “Transactive Energy” which works much like a stock market of energy; where customers provide bids for a certain quantity of electricity that they wish to consume. Meanwhile industrial implementations (such as those described by FERC order 745) compensate customers according to their load reduction from a predefined electricity consumption baseline that would have occurred without DR. Such a counter-factual baseline may be erroneous. At the LIINES, we have rigorously compared the two approaches. Our previous journal paper published at Applied Energy “Demand side management in a day-ahead wholesale market: A comparison of industrial & social welfare approaches” conducted the comparison in a day-ahead wholesale market context.  It showed, both analytically and numerically, that the use of power consumption baselines in demand response introduces power system imbalances and costlier dispatch.

Our recent paper now expands the analysis from a single day-ahead electricity market to the multiple layers of wholesale markets found in many regions of the North American power grid. This holistic analysis includes the day-ahead, real-time, and ancillary service markets. The integration of these multiple layers of power system operations captures the coupling between them and reveals the the impacts of DR implementation over the course of a full-day with a granularity of tens of seconds. The paper quantifies both the technical and economic impacts of industrial baseline errors in the day-ahead and real-time markets, namely their impacts on power system operating reserve requirements, operating costs and market prices.

The paper concludes that the presence of demand baseline errors – present only in the industrial implementaiton – leads to a cascade of additional system imbalances and costs as compared to the Transactive Energy model. A baseline error introduced in the day-ahead market will increase costs not just in the day-ahead market, but will also introduce a greater net load error residual in the real-time market causing additional costs and imbalances. These imbalances if left unmitigated degrade system reliability or otherwise require costly regulating reserves to achieve the same reliability.

Figure 1: Cascading Cost Increase of Demand Response Baseline Errors in Day-Ahead Energy Market

An additional baseline error introduced in the real-time market further compounds this cascading effect with additional costs in the real-time market, amplified downstream imbalances, and further regulation capacity for its mitigation.

Figure 2: Cascading Cost Increase of Demand Response Baseline Errors in Real-Time Energy Market

Based on these results, the potential for baseline inflation should be given attention by federal energy policy-makers. The effects of industrial baseline errors can be mitigated with effective policy. As a first solution, ISOs could calculate demand response baselines using the same methods of load prediction normally used in energy markets. Such an approach leaves less potential for baseline manipulation. A more comprehensive solution to this problem will be the upcoming trend of transactive energy and would eliminate the concept of baselines and their associated uncertainties entirely.

In depth materials on LIINES smart power grid research can be found on the LIINES website.


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Journal Paper accepted at IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics – An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper “An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture” to the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics. The paper is authored by Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Luis Ribeiro.

Recent trends in manufacturing require production facilities to produce a wide variety of products with an increasingly shorter product lifecycle. These trends force production facilities to adjust and redesign production lines on a more regular basis.

Reconfigurable manufacturing systems are designed for rapid change in structure; in both hardware and software components to address the required changes in production capacity and functionality.

Qualitative methods have recently been successful in achieving reconfigurability through multi-agent systems (MAS). However, their implementation remains limited, as an unambiguous quantitative reference architecture for reconfigurability has not yet been developed.

A design methodology based on quantitative reconfigurability measurement would facilitate a logical, and seamless transition between the five stages of the MAS design methodology, as shown below.


Previous work on the reconfigurability of automated manufacturing systems has shown that reconfigurability depends primarily on architectural decisions made in stages 1, 2, 3, and 5. Operational performance of the manufacturing system after the reconfiguration is also important, but is often overlooked by the existing literature. As a result, it’s not clear:

  1. The degree to which existing designs have achieved their intended level of reconfigurability.
  2. Which systems are quantitatively more reconfigurable.
  3. How these designs may overcome their inherent design limitations to achieve greater reconfigurability in subsequent design iterations.

In order to address the previously mentioned issues with existing design methodologies, this paper develops a multi-agent system reference architecture for reconfigurable manufacturing systems driven by a quantitative and formal design approach, directly in line with the above Figure.

The paper uses Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Engineering Systems to support a well-conceptualized architecture, which is necessary for excellent production system performance. Additionally, Axiomatic Design highlights potential design flaws at an early conceptual stage. This results in the first formal and quantitative reference architecture based on rigorous mathematics.

About the Author

Wester C.H. Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his graduate work for the LIINES at Masdar Institute, which he continues as a doctoral student at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2015. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in Zero Carbon Emission Manufacturing Systems.

A full reference list of LIINES publications can be found here:

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The LIINES Commitment to Open-Information

 Good science is reproducible.   This means that it must be publicly available, its contributions transparently communicated, and its data accessible.  These are principles that drive the everyday work of every individual’s research at the LIINES.  We now wish to go further and make a commitment to Open-Information.
Beginning today, the LIINES will seek to leverage its website to make all of its research 100% reproducible by the public at large.   This includes:
  • Sharing all input datasets used to conduct the research for which no prior proprietary or security commitments have been made.
  • Producing scientific publications in such a way that scientific peers can accurately verify & validate the work.
  • Making the content of all conference, journal and book-chapter publications freely available in author preprint form.  (Note: Most publishers allow self-archiving and open-distribution of author preprints).
We believe that the LIINES’ research has broad applicability to academia, industry, government and the public at large.   However, traditional publication venues are often only subscribed by academic universities and a handful of well-funded industrial companies.   All-too-often the people that can benefit from this work, never get a chance to see it.   This slows down the work’s potential impact and is counter to the LIINES mission.   It is for these reasons, that the LIINES makes its Open-Information commitment.
While it is natural that making all of this information available will take some time, we will be sure to keep blogging to keep you up to date of new additions to the LIINES website.  For now, feel free to visit the LIINES Datasets Repository which includes both data from our publications as well as a collation of several relevant and openly available datasets.
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Journal Paper Accepted at Applied Energy Journal – Demand Side Management in a Day-Ahead Wholesale Market: A Comparison of Industrial & Social Welfare Approaches

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper entitled: “Demand Side Management in a Day-Ahead Wholesale Market: A Comparison of Industrial & Social Welfare Approaches” to Applied Energy Journal for publication. The paper is authored by Bo Jiang, Prof. Amro M. Farid, and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi.

The intermittent and unpredictable nature of renewable energy brings operational challenges to electrical grid reliability. The fast fluctuations in renewable energy generation require high ramping capability which must be met by dispatchable energy resources. In contrast, Demand Side management (DSM) with its ability to allow customers to adjust electricity consumption in response to market signals has been recognized as an efficient way to shape load profiles and mitigate the variable effects of renewable energy as well as to reduce system costs. However, the academic and industrial literature have taken divergent approaches to DSM implementation. While the popular approach among academia adopts a social welfare maximization formulation, defined as the net benefit from electricity consumption measured from zero, the industrial practice introduces an estimated baseline.   This baseline represents the counterfactual electricity consumption that would have occurred without DSM, and customers are compensated according to their load reduction from this predefined electricity consumption baseline.


In response to the academic and industrial literature gap, our paper rigorously compares these two different approaches in a day-ahead wholesale market context. We developed models for the two methods using the same mathematical formalism and compared them analytically as well as in a test case using RTS-1996 reliability testing system. The comparison of the two models showed that a proper reconciliation of the two models might make them dispatch in fundamentally the same way, but only under very specific conditions that are rarely met in practice. While the social welfare model uses a stochastic net load composed of two terms, the industrial DSM model uses a stochastic net load composed of three terms including the additional baseline term. While very much discouraged, customers have an implicit incentive to surreptitiously inflate the administrative baseline in order to receive greater financial compensation. An artificially inflated baseline is shown to result in a higher resource dispatch and higher system costs.

The high resource scheduling due to inflated baseline likely require more control activity in subsequent layers of enterprise control including security constrained economic dispatch and regulation service layer. Future work will continue to explore the technical and economic effects of erroneous industrial baseline.

About the Author:

Bo Jiang conducted this research in collaboration with her Master’s thesis advisor Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests include renewable energy integration, power system operations and optimization. Bo is now pursuing her PhD at MIT Mechanical Engineering Department.

A full reference list of Smart Power Grids and Intelligent Energy Systems research at LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page: http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines




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Energy-Water-Food Nexus Research Integral to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference

In addition to its overall success, the IEEE Smart Cities Conference also presented significant research on the Energy-Water-Food Nexus.
On Monday, a two-hour energy-water nexus special session was held featuring multiple aspects of LIINES research.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Energy-Water Nexus Reference Architecture to the Sustainable Development of Agriculture, Industry  & Commerce.” provided a high level overview of the types of couplings that exist not just within the energy and water infrastructure but also within end-uses in the agricultural, industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.  Water and energy balance principles were used to systematically highlight the existence of trade-off decisions with the energy-water nexus.
  • The presentation entitled “Extending the Utility Analysis and Integration Model at the Energy Water Nexus” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the Water Environment Foundation (WEF).   This work argued the need for integrated enterprise management systems within the water utility sector to support sustainable decision-making.
  • The presentation entitled “The Role of Resource Efficient Decentralized Wastewater Treatment in Smart Cities” featured LIINES research done in collaboration with the German startup Ecoglobe.  This work argued the need for resource-efficient decentralized wastewater treatment facilities as a key enabling technology in the energy-water-food nexus.  It then presented Ecoglobe’s WaterbaseTM as such a technology.
On Wednesday, a three hour workshop entitled “Smart Food at the University of Guadalajara (UDG)”  was lead by Diana Romero and Prof. Victor Larios.   It featured the university’s efforts to bring hydroponic farming to future cities.  The workshop also highlighted the UDG’s collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory’s City Farm Initiative.
Both sessions drew participation of 40-50 conference attendees and active dialogue during the Q&A sessions.  It is clear that a smart city — by all definitions — is one that actively manages the supply and demand for energy, water, and food as an integral activity.   These two sessions demonstrated this need and looks to become a central theme within the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative and its flagship international conferences.

A full reference list of energy-water nexus research at the LIINES can be found on the LIINES publication page:  http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines

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IEEE Smart Cities Conference Establishes Itself as Premier Conference

Several days ago, we wrote a blog post to announce the beginning of the First IEEE Smart Cities Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.   Now that the conference draws to a close, we can firmly say that the conference by all measures has been a tremendous success.  The conference had over 500 registered participants drawing from academia, industry, and government — fully in agreement with the triple-helix model of innovation.  From industry, dozens attended from IBM and Intel alone.   The conference also benefited from the presence of the Governor of Jalisco, The Honorable, Aristóteles Sandoval, as well as several generous industrial sponsors.
The conference also distinguished itself for its focus on civic engagement, entrepreneurship, and innovation.   Aside from the ample opportunity for networking and lively conversation, the conference featured a “Student Hackathon”.   For two days, student teams were challenged to develop, in real-time, cloud-based Smart City Apps on iOS and Android platforms.  The winning teams developed apps for smart transportation, healthcare, and community service and won monetary prizes of 500 & 1000USD.  The LIINES wishes these teams all the best as they form small businesses to bring their apps to the market.
With such participation, and despite the landfall of Hurricane Patricia only 24 hours earlier, it is clear that the First International IEEE Smart Cities Conference has established itself as a premier international conference and the flagship of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Please do stay tuned for announcements for the 2nd International IEEE Smart Cities Conference to be held in the idyllic mountain city of Trento, Italy in September 2016.  Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.
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Searching for Smart City LIINES

Today, Monday October 26th 2015, the first International Smart Cities Conference begins in Guadalajara, Mexico and will continue until Wednesday October 28th.  It is the premier annual conference sponsored by the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative.  Smart Cities are innovative, conceptual, and city-wide technology-human-infrastructure integration platforms.  The conference brings a broad perspective to Smart Cities drawing from a variety of disciplines.  This is evidenced by its 9 tracks including:
  1. Smart Grids
  2. Internet of Things (IoT)
  3. Smart Homes & Buildings
  4. Smart Transport
  5. Smart Environment,
  6. Smart Manufacturing & Logistics
  7. Open Data
  8. Smart Health
  9. Smart Citizens
Here, at the LIINES, the concept of Smart Cities is one to which we have been paying attention for quite some time.  Naturally, with the four research themes of Smart Power Grids, Energy-Water Nexus, Transportation-Electrification Systems, and Industrial Energy Management, we believe that the LIINES has a lot to contribute to the development of intelligent infrastructure in cities of the future.   Prof. Amro M. Farid has been nominated to the IEEE Smart Cities Conference steering committee and also serves as the Workshop & Tutorials co-chair.  He is also track chair for the Smart Grids track to be held all day today.
Interested readers can join the IEEE Smart City Initiative and its associated LinkedIn group.   Additionally, the conference organizers will be live-tweeting on Twitter #IEEESmartCities, #ISC2.  Join us in the developing the Smart Cities of the Future.
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The All-New Dartmouth LIINES Website

In  a recent blogpost, we wrote how the LIINES is moving to Darmouth.  Naturally, when a lab moves so does its website!   The new LIINES website will now be found at http://engineering.dartmouth.edu/liines but will continue to be mirrored at the original MIT website (http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu) in recognition of our continued collaborative research there.
We look forward to updating the LIINES website to reflect the lab’s continued development.
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The LIINES seeks Quantitatively-Minded Dartmouth Undergrad for Smart Grid Research Competition

The LIINES seeks 1-2 quantitatively-minded Dartmouth undergrads for participation in a smart grid research competition.  This work is a direct extension of our prior work in the smart power grid research theme.   The competition involves multi-agent system negotiation techniques as applied to power system operations and management.  The work can serve as part of a senior thesis or an undergraduate research opportunity.
The successful student(s) will be driven by a sincere interest in the smart grid field and have an affinity to object-oriented programming.   Engineering science or computing science majors are preferred although preparations in heavily computational disciplines such as physics, applied mathematics, and economics are welcome.  A prior portfolio in an object-oriented programming language is required.  C++ is specifically preferred.   More senior undergraduate students are preferred although initiative, interest, and programming fluency will be the determining criteria.

Interested students may contact Prof. Amro M. Farid for further information and an interview. 

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The LIINES is moving to Dartmouth

After four years at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems is moving to the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth!  The move comes as Amro M. Farid assumes his new appointment as an Associate Professor of Engineering at the Thayer School.
As one of the prestigious Ivy League universities, Dartmouth is consistently ranked amongst America’s top dozen universities.  Moreover, the Thayer School of Engineering has several features that when taken together make a well-customized home for the LIINES.   It:
As the LIINES makes its move to Dartmouth, its important to reflect upon some of its achievements in the last four years.  From its initial focus on smart power grids, it’s research program has expanded to address the application of control, automation and information technology to intelligent energy systems.  This has meant the development of three additional research themes namely:
These efforts have lead to several notable outputs.  In research publications, these include 17 journal papers since January 2014 with an average impact factor of 3.874, 2 books, 4 book chapters and 43 conference papers.  In teaching, two new courses were developed ESM 501 System Architecture and ESM 616 Techno-Economic Analysis in Power System Operations.  We are happy that students at the Masdar Institute consistently rated both of these courses highly.  The LIINES has also increasingly taken on an international profile with active leadership in the IEEE Control Systems Society (CSS) Technical Committee on Smart Grids, the IEEE Systems, Man & Cybernetics (SMC) Society Technical Committee on Intelligent Industrial Systems, and the Council of Engineering System Universities (CESUN).
Of course, the LIINES’s productivity is largely due to its students.  And so this is also a moment to recognize their hard work and dedication.  This began with the 2013 cohort  Apoorva Santhosh, Reshma Francy, Reem Al Junaibi, Aramazd Muzhikyan continued to William Lubega in 2014 and more recently Deema Allan, Wester Schoonenberg, and Halima Abdulla.  Thanks to the support of Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, their MIT student colleagues Hussein Abdelhalim, Fang-Yu Liu, and Bo Jiang have also been instrumental in fostering a collaborative international atmosphere despite the time zone hurdles.  Each of these students has made strong research contributions to the growth of the lab and have gone on to successful careers beyond graduation.
Going forward, the LIINES will continue to work in the intelligent energy systems area as part of the Thayer School’s commitment to energy and complex systems.   That said, the LIINES members at Masdar will remain as such and will continue their research in the spirit of international collaboration as their MIT student colleagues have done in the past.  Dr. Toufic Mezher, Professor of Engineering Systems & Management has kindly agreed to coordinate the LIINES student members as they complete their degrees.   Naturally, we will also continue to  collaboration with the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department and more specifically Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, the Mechatronics Research Laboratory and the Center for Clean Water & Energy.
We’re looking forward to an exciting new 2015-16 academic year at the LIINES.  Stay tuned for more!
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