Competitive Smart Grid Simulation as a Research Platform



A competitive simulation platform like Power TAC ( can help answer a host of interesting research questions beyond the obvious questions about strategies and decision processes required to be an effective competitors. This talk will review the core ideas behind Competitive Simulation and survey some of the questions it can address that are hard to get at with analytic or more traditional simulation environments. We will then discuss the structure of the Power TAC platform -- the simulator and all the associated tools -- and look at a number of other types of questions such a platform could help address. A few examples include

  • Comparing performance of traditional single-tier grid regulating services markets with the two-tier scheme currently implemented in Power TAC;
  • Evaluating various approaches to achieving Demand Response in electricity grids, and their effects on energy cost, customer utility, and compliance with availability of renewable energy sources;
  • Evaluating performance of human decision-makers, assisted by a variety of decision-support approaches, in competition with other teams and/or with successful autonomous agents;
  • Evaluating the impact on customers of Pigovian taxes and other approaches to external cost recovery for fossil fuel use, in the presence of renewable energy and various types of thermal and electrical storage resources;
  • Exploring trading strategies for zero-fuel-cost energy sources at multiple penetration levels in competitive markets;
  • Propagating energy provenance information through multiple market levels in the presence of end-customer preferences over energy sources;
  • Exploring utility and decision processes for microgrid cooperatives in a retail energy environment;