Hierarchical Control of Thermostatically Controller Loads for Primary Frequency Control

Haoran Zhao, Qiuwei Wu, Shaojun Huang, Hengxu Zhang, Yusheng Xue

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This paper proposes a hierarchical control of Thermostatically Controlled Loads (TCLs) to provide primary frequency control support. The control architecture is comprised of three levels. At the high level, an aggregator coordinates multiple distribution substations and dispatches the primary reserve references. At the middle level, distribution substations estimate the available power of TCLs based on the aggregated bin model, and dispatch control signals to individual TCLs. At the local level, a supplementary frequency control loop is implemented at the local controller, which makes TCLs respond to the frequency event autonomously. Case studies show that the proposed controller can efficiently respond to frequency events and fulfill the requirement specified by the system operator. The users’ comforts are not compromised and the short cycling of TCLs is largely reduced. Due to the autonomous control, the communication requirement is minimized.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)2986-2998
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Markov transition matrix
  • Primary frequency support
  • Thermostatically controlled loads


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