Data Centers as Dispatchable Loads to Harness Stranded Power

Kibaek Kim; Fan Yang; Victor M. Zavala; Andrew A. Chien. 1 March, 2016.
Communicated by Andrew Chien.


We analyze how dispatchable computing loads resulting from large data centers can be optimally used to reduce the effects of stranded power. Our analysis reveals that collocating nondispatchable (inflexible) computing loads with wind farms can in fact deteriorate the performance of the power grid because of nonobvious stranded power effects. We also found that as the amount of wind power penetration increases, dispatchable computing loads can be served with duty factors of nearly 80% while providing dramatic benefits in system cost. Our analysis uses parallel optimization solvers running thousands of jobs on computing clusters. These enable us to perform sophisticated analysis that would be impossible to be performed on serial computers. In particular, our analysis evaluates scenarios of optimal placement of dispatchable loads in a realistic power grid system and assesses performance in the face of myriad wind and load scenarios.

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