Novel Demand Forecasting and Reliability Enhancement Approaches for Electrical Grids in Response to COVID‑19 Pandemic
The COVID‑19 pandemic has escalated the challenges for electric utilities, in both normal system operation and emergency response, due to numerous fast-changing and unknown variables. For normal system operation, the changing socioeconomic patterns and shifting consumption locations and timings will significantly change customer energy consumption. This requires a new understanding of energy demand to improve the efficiency of generation, dispatch, and regulation. For emergency response, the quarantines, workforce disruptions, and travel restrictions caused by COVID‑19 have significantly affected the efficacy of conventional contingency plans. To address the aforementioned technical challenges, the goal of this partnership is to develop innovative approaches for energy demand forecasting and grid reliability enhancement in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Specifically, the impacts of COVID‑19 pandemic on energy demand forecasting will be analyzed, based on which novel short-term and long-term demand forecasting methods will be developed for pandemic and post-pandemic periods, respectively. Also, impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic on the operational reliability of power systems will be investigated, and an active crew dispatching strategy will be proposed to improve reliability of power system operation with reduced risks of spreading COVID-19.
The partner organization, RUNWITHIT (RWI) Synthetics Inc., has long-term experience in developing synthetic modelling environments to enable innovative decision makers to tackle the most complex and critical issues with major applications in energy and telecommunication industries. In collaboration with Electric Power and Research Institute (EPRI) and local electric utilities in Edmonton, AB, Canada, RWI Synthetics Inc. will leverage the research outcomes to enhance their synthetic modes, which are expected to advantage all types of Canadian electric utilities and technology suppliers through intelligent decision making during the COVID‑19 pandemic and in the post-COVID-19 future.