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Is the electric vehicle a challenge or an opportunity to the system?
One way to promote the competition in electricity markets is to boost the energy storage system in the power systems. I am particularly interested in utilizing electric vehicles (EVs). On one hand, their charging patterns, if not coordinated, will challenge the reliability of the power systems. On the other hand, the EVs, if well coordinated, can provide great opportunities to boost the distributed electricity storage. These storage capacities can advance the vehicle-to-grid services (including frequency regulation and many other ancillary services). Together with Professors Hamed Mohsenian-Rad and Jianwei Huang, through game theoretic analysis, I devised a smart pricing policy to incentivize the EV owners to participate in frequency regulation [1]. Our pricing policy led to a set of computationally efficient Nash equilibria, and hence the desired end user (EV owner) behaviors. This work served as a bridge between the communication society and the power system society, and has been well received in the research field.
Another idea to utilize EVs is to exploit the usage of the chargers. They can potentially contribute to fast reactive power compensation using appropriate P-Q control at almost no cost. To maintain a stable voltage profile, fast reactive power compensation is crucial for future power systems with high penetration of renewable energies. The current solution is to install expensive static synchronous compensators, which may not be a feasible solution for large-scale deployment. This makes EVs the ideal candidate to provide this service. Note that each EV owner is an independent decision maker, which renders a centralized control impractical. This motivates us to develop a pricing scheme to well incentivize the EV owners to contribute to reactive power compensation [2]. Our novel pricing scheme is neat and simple, yet can achieve the same optimal performance as the centralized control does. This work won the Best Paper Award in IEEE SmartGridComm 2012.
In the future, I plan to exploit more applications of EVs as well as other flexible components in the system. Potential examples include utilizing smart inverters in the photovoltaic panels, enabling more functions of distributed generation units for the system reliability and even system security when the whole system is exposed to physical attacks.
Related Publications:
1.  Chenye Wu, Hamed Mohsenian-Rad, Jianwei Huang. Vehicle-to-Aggregator Interaction Game. IEEE Trans. on Smart Grid, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 434-442, March, 2012.
2. Chenye Wu, Hamed Mohsenian-Rad, Jianwei Huang, PEV-based Reactive Power Compensation for Wind DG Units: A Stackelberg Game Approach, In Proc. of IEEE SmartGridComm 2012, Tainan, Taiwan, Nov, 2012.
3.  Chenye Wu, Hamed Mohsenian-Rad, Jianwei Huang, Communication Requirements to Provide Ancillary Services in Vehicle-to-Grid Power System, book chapter in Smart Grid Communications and Networking, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
4. Chenye Wu, Hossein Akhavan-Hejazi, Hamed Mohsenian-Rad, Jianwei Huang, PEV-based P-Q Control in Line Distribution Networks with High Requirement for Reactive Power Compensation, In Proc. of IEEE ISGT 2014, 19-22 Feburary 2014, Washington DC, USA.