Unit Commitment: Computational Performance, System Representation and Wind Uncertainty Management

G. Morales-Espana

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

73 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, high penetration of variable generating sources, such as wind power, has challenged independent system operators (ISO) in keeping a cheap and reliable power system operation. Any deviation between expected and real wind production must be absorbed by the power system resources (reserves), which must be available and ready to be deployed in real time. To guarantee this resource availability, the system resources must be committed in advance, usually the day-ahead, by solving the so-called unit commitment (UC) problem. If the quantity of committed resources is extremely low, there will be devastating and costly consequences in the system, such as significant load shedding. On the other hand, if this quantity is extremely high, the system operation will be excessively expensive, mainly because facilities will not be fully exploited. This thesis proposes computationally efficient models for optimal day-ahead planning in (thermal) power systems to adequately face the stochastic nature of wind production in the real-time system operation. The models can support ISOs to face the new challenges in short-term planning as uncertainty increases dramatically due to the integration of variable generating resources. This thesis then tackles the UC problem in the following aspects: Power system representation: This thesis identifies drawbacks of the traditional energy-block scheduling approach, which make it unable to adequately prepare the power system to face deterministic and perfectly known events. To overcome those drawbacks, we propose the ramp-based scheduling approach that more accurately describes the system operation, thus better exploiting the system flexibility. UC computational performance: Developing more accurate models would be pointless if these models considerably increase the computational burden of the UC problem, which is already a complex integer and non-convex problem. We then devise simultaneously tight and compact formulations under the mixed-integer programming (MIP) approach. This simultaneous characteristic reinforces the convergence speed by reducing the search space (tightness) and simultaneously increasing the searching speed (compactness) with which solvers explore that reduced space. Uncertainty management in UC: By putting together the improvements in the previous two aspects, this thesis contributes to a better management of wind uncertainty in UC, even though these two aspects are in conflict and improving one often means harming the other. If compared with a traditional energy-block UC model under the stochastic (deterministic) paradigm, a stochastic (deterministic) ramp-based UC model: 1) leads to more economic operation, due to a better and more detailed system representation, while 2) being solved significantly faster, because the core of the model is built upon simultaneously tight and compact MIP formulations. To further improve the uncertainty management in the proposed ramp-based UC, we extend the formulation to a network-constrained UC with robust reserve modelling. Based on robust optimization insights, the UC solution guarantees feasibility for any realization of the uncertain wind production, within the considered uncertainty ranges. This final model remains as a pure linear MIP problem whose size does not depend on the uncertainty representation, thus avoiding the inherent computational complications of the stochastic and robust UCs commonly found in the literature.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Comillas Pontifical University
  • Herder, P.M., Supervisor
  • Ramos, Andres, Supervisor, External person
  • Lennart, Söder, Supervisor, External person
  • Garcia Gonzalez, J, Advisor, External person
Award date8 Oct 2014
Print ISBNs978-84-697-1230-6
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2014

Cite this