Optimization challenges in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids

Posted on July 20, 2016 in Special Issue
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Optimization challenges in the evolution of energy networks to smart grids

Sun 15 Jan 2017

The energy sector has been a fertile ground for the development of innovative models, methods and computer applications to tackle challenging problems arising in the energy sector.

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, economic, 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 for 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.

Contributions are expected to cover a wide range of topics including:

integration of renewable energy generation,
demand forecast,
demand side management and demand response,
smart metering,
system reliability and provision of ancillary services,
electricity smart grids,
gas smart grids,
network integration,
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.

All papers will undergo a stringent review procedure according to the quality standards of Computers & Operations Research. According to the journal editorial policy full-length research papers must contain original research results, and demonstrate constructive algorithmic complexity and extensive numerical experiments. Numerical illustrations (examples) are not sufficient: the numerical experiments must have a scientific value of their own, particularly with comparisons to other approaches. In addition, the research performed should represent novel and significant work relative to the relevant literature.

Please select the article type as SI:Energy Optimization for submitting the manuscript.

Tentative dates

15 January 2017 – Paper submission through the journal editorial system

31 March 2017 – First reviewing round complete

30 May 2017 – Final recommendation to the EiC


Carlos Henggeler Antunes, University of Coimbra, Portugal (Managing Guest Editor), ch@deec.uc.pt

Thorsten Koch, Zuse Institute Berlin, Germany. koch@zib.de

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