Modeling Thermostatically Controlled Loads to Engage Households in the Smart Grid: Lessons Learned from Residential Refrigeration Units


As renewable generation capacity in the power grid increases, keeping the balance between the supply and demand becomes difficult. This threatens the grid’s stability and security. Existing power reserve assets and regulation methodologies fail to provide the short-term responses required to keep the load and generation balanced as the amount of renewable generation increases. Hence, researchers proposed to increase the information exchange within the power network and to introduce real-time demand control to ensure robustness while accommodating the intermittent nature of these generation resources. Constituting a significant portion of the electrical demand of buildings, thermostatically controlled loads (TCLs) are well-suited to provide real-time demand control. In this paper, we shed light on challenges associated with engaging TCLs to the power grid using a centralized control strategy. We focus on the challenges associated with simulating a realistic TCL population using the models that are proposed in the literature. Specifically, we use data collected from residential refrigeration units operating in 214 different households to propose a strategy to select parameters when simulating a TCL population.