A Stability Analysis of Thermostatically Controlled Loads for Power System Frequency Control


Thermostatically controlled loads (TCLs) are a flexible demand resource with the potential to play a significant role in supporting electricity grid operation. We model a large number of identical TCLs acting autonomously according to a deterministic control scheme to provide frequency response as a population of coupled oscillators. We perform stability analysis to explore the danger of the TCL temperature cycles synchronising: an emergent phenomenon often found in populations of coupled oscillators and predicted in this type of demand response scheme.We take identical TCLs as it can be assumed to be the worst case.We find that the uniformequilibrium is stable and the fully synchronised periodic cycle is unstable, suggesting that synchronisation might not be as serious a danger as feared.Then detailed simulations are performed to study the effects of a population of frequency-sensitive TCLs acting under real system conditions using historic system data. The potential reduction in frequency response services required fromother providers is determined, for both homogeneous and heterogeneous populations. For homogeneous populations, we find significant synchronisation, but very minimal diversity removes the synchronisation effects. In summary, we combine dynamical systems stability analysis with large-scale simulations to offer new insights into TCL switching behaviour.

Complexity, Vol 2017
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