Bulk Electric Power System Risks From Coordinated Edge Devices
18 Jan 2021
Richard Kenyon, Jeff Maguire, Elaina Present, Dane Christensen, and Bri-Mathias Hodge
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As smart load adoption grows on the electric power system, potential for losing load diversity increases, possibly in ways that impact system stability. Cloud computing resources are able to coordinate large amounts of behind-the-meter loads and resources. Inadvertent or malicious actions could potentially result in gigawatts of load, distributed across large regions, acting nearly simultaneously. We study the resulting impacts of such a perturbation, which were previously recognized, with improved fidelity and granularity using a physically-based power system and demand model. The ResStock tool was used to calculate residential air conditioning load at more than 3,000 locations across the Western Interconnection, corresponding in time to heavy summer and light spring loading. Under an assumption that one cloud platform managed smart thermostats controlling 10%, 15%, or 20% of residential air-conditioning, calculated load steps could be injected into Positive Sequence Load Flow dynamic simulations. These load-driven effects were coupled with two classes of distributed generation ride-through to evaluate the potential for cascading outages. We found frequency deviations in the spring case far exceed the credible contingency event, leading to widespread distributed generation loss, while voltage depressions during the summer loading lead to widespread distributed generation loss and system separation.