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Analysis of Synchronization in Load Ensembles

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While coordinated control of a large population of electric loads can provide important services to the electric grid, situations have been observed where control of load ensembles may lead to highly nonlinear behavior such as synchronization, sustained oscillations and bifurcations. Synchronization of TCLs is undesirable since it can lead to increased short-cycling of TCLs, sudden changes in power demand and network voltage issues. In this paper, we investigate the synchronizing tendency of thermostatically controlled loads (TCLs) under control strategies where updates are broadcast periodically for coordinating TCLs. We study the problem using a hybrid dynamical systems framework to model both the continuous and discrete dynamics of load ensembles. Analysis of eigenmodes of the underlying discretetime system provide insights into synchronizing tendencies and rate of convergence to the synchronized state. Simulations are provided to illustrate the theory.


Md Salman Nazir    
Quanta Technology
United States

Ian Hiskens    
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
United States


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