Currently the electricity grid is operated by two separate control mechanisms. Firstly, demand and supply are balanced by electricity markets. On these (liberalized) markets suppliers and large consumers trade electricity based on forecasts, which results in capacity allocation for the next day. This planning is very coarse in time (15 minutes intervals) and no geographical information or network constraints are taken into account inside the market zone. Secondly, (regulated) grid operators (TSO and DSOs) control the grid by keeping the system within secure bounds (voltage, current, frequency) on a much finer time scale (milliseconds to minutes) while taking care of the physical location of injections and withdrawals from the grid. The massive integration of renewable energy sources and new demand technologies, e.g. electric vehicles and heat pumps, challenge the power system because of more uncertainty on all time scales. This makes it increasingly difficult to control the power flows in real-time, and especially to balance supply and demand to guarantee stability and reliability at all times and all places, without involvement of the market and deploying its flexibility.
In the DISPATCH project a decentralised implicit interaction between both control mechanisms is proposed to overcome the above-mentioned uncertainty challenges. It combines the 15-minutes schedules of the energy markets with the much shorter time schedules of grid operators. The framework to be developed requires a multi-disciplinary approach: not only electrical engineering, but also advanced control theory and the use of novel ICT concepts as well as appropriate legal and organisational instruments.