Multi-agent Based Intelligent Distributed Control Of A Hardware-in-the-loop Microgrid Test-bed

Open Access
Chandrayan, Ameya Pradeep
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
May 27, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Peter Idowu, Thesis Advisor
  • Scott Van Tonningen, Thesis Advisor
  • Seth Wolpert, Thesis Advisor
  • Jeremy Joseph Blum, Thesis Advisor
  • Smart Grids
  • Microgrids
  • Multi-agent system
  • distributed control
The structure of conventional electric power systems is changing its course from few centralized entities to numerous distributed energy systems, leading to technological challenges in three key aspects – sustainability, flexibility, and reliability. Penetration of renewable energy resources into the power system seems to magnify these challenges, and requires tremendous efforts to develop new control and protection methodologies, and market policies. Various interest groups including the government, electric utilities, academic and research institutions, as well as consumers are actively working towards the goal of a new intelligent grid – ‘smart grid’. This research focuses on the development of an operation and control scheme for a laboratory-scale hardware-in-the-loop microgrid system. The main features of this microgrid system include integrated renewable energy systems, battery storage, smart loads to realize demand-side energy management for various load patterns, advanced digital relays, as well as smart energy metering devices interfaced through various communication channels and protocols. Conventional generating units synchronized to an AC bus are coupled to the energy storage and the PV system through a DC bus. In real-life microgrid systems, various synchronous, asynchronous and static sources of power generation are dispersed geographically but relatively close to the demand side. An implementation of conventional power grid control and operation methods would presumably demand very high speed central processing platforms to perform extensive computations required for such a dispersed system. On the other hand, distributed control methods allocate these number crunching operations to asynchronous and autonomous control platforms, which operate in harmony to provide reliability, flexibility and resiliency in the microgrid environment. Therefore, the distributed approach for control using Multi-Agent System (MAS) concepts becomes the primary focus of this research. Various agents in the MAS platform offer advantages of being autonomous or self-organized, social, and pro-active as opposed to the existing distributed control systems. The framework for MAS is designed using Java Agent DEvelopment (JADE), a FIPA-standard compliant and open source java based platform. The need for inter-operability between different vendors is also arising as a result of growing activities and interactions between customers, market operators and utilities. The OPC (OLE for Process Control) Classic specifications, inherited from Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) – a proprietary technology developed by Microsoft, offer a complete range of solutions for process data access (DA), alarms & events (A&E), and historical data access (HDA) from different proprietary PLC and SCADA systems. In this research, the OPC DA (Data Access) Server is employed to act as an interface between PLC systems tied to the microgrid hardware layer and open source JADE platform which resides on the computer platform.