September 2006 - May 2007
Design and Simulation of Power Management Response to Dynamic Pricing
TRUST: Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology
Currently, electricity is usually sold to residential homes at one flat rate, but power companies are moving toward pricing electricity based on the time of day that power is used. How consumers will respond to this information and to what extent consumer appliances can incorporate price-based behavior, however, is not well understood. The goal of this project was to develop a software tool to simulate residential energy management in response to dynamically changing electricity pricing. This project is part of the power grid group in the new NSF Center called TRUST (Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology) focused on new science and technology to enable trustworthy information systems for the nation's infrastructure.
The team designed and developed a simulation package consisting of a processing program (the simulator) coupled with an input/output graphical user interface. The team tested the accuracy of the simulator by modeling a real home and comparing the actual and simulated data. The simulation itself entails creating a "house" with electrical "appliances", in which each appliance has a specific set of rules governing when it can turn on and off, how much electricity it uses while on, and whether its behavior can be influenced by price. Given user input about appliance parameters, the simulator uses historic five-minute pricing data and specific decision algorithms to determine whether to increase, decrease, or not change power consumption and, in turn, whether to start, continue, or stop running specific appliances. At the completion of the simulation, the results of electricity consumption and cost, for each appliance and the house overall, are displayed graphically for the user.
As a supplement to the simulator, the team also developed an educational module with lecture material, activities, a website with visuals and information, and a link to download the simulator. The educational module is tailored toward high school or early undergraduate courses. Refinement and further application of the simulator will be continued by the TRUST team; long term the simulator is intended for use by students, researchers, and electricity customers such as homeowners and businesses.

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