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Horst F. Wedde, Sebastian Lehnhoff, Edmund Handschin und Olav Krause
Real-Time Multi-Agent Support for Decentralized Management of Electric Power (TR #809)


Establishing clean or renewable energy sources involves the problem of adequate management for the networked power sources, in particular since producers are at the same time also consumers, and vice versa. We describe the first phases of the joint R&D project DEZENT between the School of Computer Science and the College of Electrical Engineering at the University of Dortmund, devoted to decentralized and adaptive electric power management through a distributed real-time multiagent architecture. Unpredictable consumer requests or producer problems, under distributed control or local autonomy will be the major novelty. We present a distributed real-time negotiation algorithm involving agents on different levels of negotiation, on behalf of producers and consumers of electric energy. Despite the lack of global overview we are able to prove that in our model no coalition of malicious users could take advantage of extreme situations like arising from an abundance as much as from any (artificial) shortage of electric power that are typical problems in “free” or deregulated markets. Our multi-agent system exhibits a very high robustness against power failures compared to centrally controlled architectures. In extensive experiments we demonstrate how, in realistic settings of the German power system structure, the novel algorithms can cope with unforeseen needs and production specifics in a very flexible and adaptive way, taking care of most of the potentially hard deadlines already on the local group level (corresponding to a small subdivision). We further demonstrate that under our decentralized approach customers pay less than under any conventional (global) management policy or structure.