Reliable and Robust Cyber-Physical Systems for Real-Time Control of Electric Grids

Real-time control of electric grids is a novel approach to handling the increasing penetration of distributed and volatile energy generation brought about by renewables. Such control occurs in cyber-physical systems (CPSs), in which software agents maintain safe and optimal grid operation by exchanging messages over a communication network. We focus on CPSs with a centralized controller that receives measurements from the various resources in the grid, performs real-time computations, and issues setpoints. Long-term deployment of such CPSs makes them susceptible to software agent faults, such as crashes and delays of controllers and unresponsiveness of resources, and to communication network faults, such as packet losses, delays, and reordering. CPS controllers must provide correct control in the presence of external non-idealities, i.e., be robust, and in the presence of controller faults, i.e., be reliable. In this thesis, we design, test, and deploy solutions that achieve these goals for real-time CPSs. We begin by abstracting a CPS for electric grids into four layers: the control layer, the network layer, the sensing and actuation layer, and the physical layer. Then, we provide a model for the components in each layer, and for the interactions among them. This enables us to formally define the properties required for reliable and robust CPSs. We propose two mechanisms, Robuster and intentionality clocks, for making a single controller robust to unresponsive resources and non-ideal network conditions. These mechanisms enable the controller to compute and issue setpoints even when some measurements are missing, rather than to have to wait for measurements from all resources. We show that our proposed mechanisms guarantee grid safety and outperform state-of-the-art alternatives. Then, we propose Axo: a framework for crash- and delay-fault tolerance via active replication of the controller. Axo ensures that faults in the controller replicas are masked from the resources, and it provides a mechanism for detecting and recovering faulty replicas. We prove the reliable validity and availability guarantees of Axo and derive the bounds on its detection and recovery time. We showcase the benefits of Axo via a stability analysis of an inverted pendulum system. Solutions based on active replication must guarantee that the replicas issue consistent setpoints. Traditional consensus-based schemes for achieving this are not suitable for real-time CPSs, as they incur high latency and low availability. We propose Quarts, an agreement mechanism that guarantees consistency and a low bounded latency- overhead. We show, via extensive simulations, that Quarts provides an availability at least an order of magnitude higher than state-of-the-art solutions. In order to test the effect of our proposed solutions on electric grids, we developed T-RECS, a virtual commissioning tool for software-based control of electric grids. T-RECS enables us to test the proper functioning of the software agents both in ideal and faulty conditions. This provides insight into the effect of faults on the grid and helps us to evaluate the impact of our reliability solutions. We show how our proposed solutions fit together, and that they can be used to design a reliable and robust CPS for real-time control of electric grids. To this end, we study a CPS with COMMELEC, a real-time control framework for electric grids via explicit power setpoints. We analyze the reliability issues...


Advisor(s):
Le Boudec, Jean-Yves
Year:
2019
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Keywords:
Laboratories:
LCA2




 Record created 2019-05-01, last modified 2019-06-17

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