University of Minnesota


DTC Seminar Series

Learning for Monitoring and Control in Power Distribution Grids


Vassilis Kekatos
Bradley Deptartment, ECE
Virginia Tech

Monday, July 29, 2019
3:30 p.m. reception
4:00 p.m. seminar

401/402 Walter Library

Vassilis Kekatos

Distribution grids are currently challenged by: c1) reduced observability due to incomprehensive metering, and c2) voltage fluctuations caused by rooftop solar generation. This talk explains how the smart inverters interfacing solar panels, electric vehicles, and batteries, can be used to tackle these two problems leveraging powerful tools from statistical learning. Regarding challenge c1), we put forth a novel data acquisition paradigm termed grid probing: By perturbing inverter injections and processing the induced grid voltage response, one can unveil the connectivity of a feeder and estimate the impedances of distribution lines. We present identifiability claims and three approaches for voltage analytics with complementary strengths. Regarding c2), we customize inverter control rules to hit the sweet spot between cyber requirements and voltage regulation performance. Using anticipated load and solar generation scenarios, inverter control rules are designed via a collaborative filtering kernel-based approach. By judiciously engineering the learning cost, we obtain parsimonious representations for inverter rules. Numerical tests demonstrate that the proposed control framework attains exemplary voltage regulation performance on a cyber budget.


Vassilis Kekatos is an Assistant Professor with the power systems group in the Bradley Dept. of ECE at Virginia Tech. He obtained his Ph.D. from the Univ. of Patras, Greece. He is a recipient of the NSF Career Award in 2018 and the Marie Curie Fellowship during 2009-2012. He has been a postdoctoral research associate with the ECE Dept. at the Univ. of Minnesota, and a visiting researcher with the Univ. of Texas at Austin and the Ohio State Univ. His research focus is on optimization and learning for future energy systems. He is currently serving in the editorial board of the IEEE Trans. On Smart Grid.

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Digital Technology Center

499 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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