Workshop on Optimization Challenges in the Evolution of Energy Networks to Smart Grids

Scope and Objectives

Energy Production and Distribution (EP&D) is among the biggest challenges of our time, since energy is a scarce resource whose efficient production and fair distribution is associated with many technical, economical, political and ethical issues like environmental protection and people health or equity of access to energy services. EP&D networks have rapidly increased in size and complexity, e.g. with the liberalisation and openness of markets within the EU. Thus, there is an increasing need of systems supporting the operational, regulatory and design decisions through highly inter-disciplinary approaches, where experts of all the concerned fields contribute to the definition of appropriate mathematical models. This is particularly challenging because these models require the simultaneous use of many different mathematical optimization tools and the verification by experts of the underlying engineering and financial issues.

The electric power system is an essential infrastructure of modern developed societies. The electricity network has been subject to steady technological developments involving the deployment of sensors, computation, advanced metering, communications, and control systems, as well as the integration of dispersed generation based on renewable sources imposing new technical challenges. Moreover, planning tasks have become more complex due to the unbundling of the industry value chain and market structures, also taking into account the need to offer new services to consumers and prosumers (simultaneously producers and consumers). The dissemination of storage devices and electric vehicles create further challenges, also regarding the pressure to provide increased levels of quality of service. In this global setting, the evolution of the electric power system to smart grids refers to the deployment and use of monitoring, analysis, bi-directional communication, and control technologies to manage the whole value chain of electricity from generation to consumption in a sustainable, reliable and efficient manner, facilitating the integration of new generation, namely that based on renewable sources, and empowering consumers through appropriate demand response mechanisms. 

In addition, future energy networks are expected to become increasingly interconnected and interdependent.  Optimization models and methods have a relevant role to play to cope with this complexity to develop smart networks within more integrated and sustainable energy system, encompassing electricity, gas, heat, and information and communication technologies. Therefore smart grid concepts refer to maximising the efficiency of the overall energy chain to ensure a smooth energy transition.

The objectives of this workshop are bringing together scientists, engineers, researchers, and students from academy and industry to share recent research and unveil new research directions concerning the use of optimization models and methods to address the challenges arising in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids.

Contributions to the workshop are expected to cover a wide range of topics including:  integration of renewable energy generation, storage, demand forecast, demand side management and demand response, smart metering, system reliability and provision of ancillary services, microgrids, electricity smart grids, gas smart grids, network integration, information and communication technologies, internet of things, big data, and improved methods to optimize the resulting complex energy models.

Additional topics related to other optimization challenges in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids are welcome. Contributions reporting real-world case studies are particularly appreciated.