Name: Sam Weckx


KU Leuven

Promotor / Supervisor

Prof. dr. ir. Johan Driesen

Samenvatting van het onderzoek / Summary of Research

The integration of intermittent renewable energy sources in the distribution network is a challenge for the network operators. The introduction of solar panels has created new network situations. Energy can flow from the low voltage network towards the medium voltage network during a period of low consumption and high solar production. This situation did not occur in the past. The reverse power flow can lead to an unacceptable power quality. Moreover, a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles can be expected. Inconsiderate charging of this fleet of cars could cause an increase in the evening load peak and a deteriorated power quality. The minimum power quality is defined by standards to protect the consumer. It is the task of the network operator to comply with these terms. This work will analyse different, advanced algorithms to control the power quality.

At first, European distribution networks are analysed. The effect of solar generation on the distribution network is evaluated.  However, accurate, digital information of the grid topology is often missing due to the low requirements for distribution networks in the past. Exact information concerning the cable lengths, or the phase of connection, might be lacking. Analysing or controlling the network, based on this limited information, can therefore be hard or even impossible. To resolve this problem, a method has been developed to train a model based on historical smart meter data. No information concerning the network topology is required  a priori.

Subsequently, different control strategies for solar panels and electric vehicles are analysed and compared. The different control strategies are divided into two categories. First of all, there are the local control strategies, that try to support the network based on locally-measured information only. Secondly, there are the central control strategies, that first collect all of the available information and then make a decision. This requires a communication infrastructure.

After that, two popular demand response algorithms are extended with network support. With demand response algorithms consumption patterns of electricity can be modified and, therefore, it is gaining a lot of attention. Power quality will have to be taken into account when implementing these algorithms.

Finally, it is examined if controlling residential demand can help with guaranteeing the balance between electricity production and consumption. A method is investigated that optimally steers the demand, with a minimum reduction of consumer comfort.

Volledige tekst van het doctoraat / full text

Examencommissie / Board of examiners

  •   Prof. dr. ir. Johan Driesen (promotor)
  •   Prof. dr. ir. Paul Sas (voorzitter/chairman)
  •   De heer Tom De Rybel (secretaris/secretary)
  •   Prof. dr. ir. Geert Deconinck
  •   Prof. dr. ir. Jozef Poortmans
  •   Prof. dr. Daniel Montesinos i Miracle , Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC)
  •   Prof. dr. Reza Iravani , University of Toronto
  •   Dr. Reinhilde D'Hulst , VITO