Towards Tractable Topology Control in Electrical Networks
Seth Blumsack, Ph.D.
John T. Ryan, Jr. Faculty Fellow,
John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering
Pennsylvania State University
February 22, 2013
2:00 - 3:00 pm
Davis Auditorium, Fletcher Allen
Adaptive or scheduled topology control - in which the physical or electrical topology of a power network is altered to optimize some system performance objective - has the potential to increase operating efficiency and lower the cost of delivered energy. Implementing one type of discrete topology control, known as "transmission switching," on real-world electrical grids will require better heuristics for solving mixed-integer types of programming problems. I outline two demonstrably successful heuristics for the transmission switching problem, one based on network sensitivities and the other based on electrical graph properties. Correction of transmission switching control actions to avoid voltage violations is possible without sacrificing substantial cost savings, but such actions may leave power networks vulnerable to contingencies.
Seth Blumsack is Assistant Professor in the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University; and is the John T. Ryan Faculty Fellow in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. He also holds a position as an Adjunct Research Professor with the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center and the Centre for Energy and Mineral Economics at the Curtin University of Technology in Australia. He earned a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics from Reed College in 1998, an M.S. in Economics from Carnegie Mellon in 2003, and a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon in 2006. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Blumsack worked for Economic Insight, Inc., in Portland, Oregon, where he served as a consultant and contributing editor for the Energy Market Report, a daily newsletter covering wholesale electricity and natural gas markets in North America. He was also the editor of Pacific West Oil Data, a monthly compendium of information on the west coast crude-oil and petroleum product industries.
Dr. Blumsack’s research centers on analysis of large-scale energy and transportation infrastructure systems; regulation and deregulation in network industries; network science; risk analysis; energy efficiency; and unconventional natural gas. He has authored or co-authored more than thirty scientific articles and book chapters. He has consulted with the American Public Power Association, Bayer Materials, the Consortium for Risk Assessment and Stakeholder Participation, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and numerous State Public Utility Commissions. His work on the electric power grid has been cited in The New York Times and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and his writing on California’s energy crisis in 2000/2001 was cited in the Los Angeles Times as well as in The Smartest Guys in the Room.