UNICORN - A Unified Control Framework for Real-Time Power System Operation

With the increase in solar and wind generation and the deployment of more electric vehicles, the electric power system is going through an unprecedented transformation which render today's real-time control architecture ineffective. This transition calls for more elaborated real-time control strategies for voltage regulation, line congestion control, and power curtailment.

We propose a unified control framework that enables real-time autonomous grid control beyond the state-of-the-art. The key idea is to turn iterative optimization algorithms into robust output-feedback controllers. These controllers, instead of tracking a given reference, drive the system to the optimum of a user-defined optimization problem. Furthermore, these controllers can naturally deal with input and output constraints and are proven to be robust against model mismatch, both in theory and in experiments.

The theoretical foundation of this framework has been developed in a three-year collaboration with the French transmission grid operator RTE, tested in proof-of-concept experiments on a small distribution feeder, and validated via numerical simulations on a real part of the French subtransmission grid which hosts a large presence of wind generation.

This project is co-sponsored by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy via the program Grids (aramis UNICORN page), by ETH Zurich, and by RTE.