Control and Optimization Techniques for Future Energy Systems

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
UTC 3.102
Free and open to the public

The operation of future electric grids will likely rely on solving large-scale, dynamic optimization and control problems involving hundreds of thousands of devices jointly optimizing millions of variables. These systems will include various types of active dynamic devices, such as distributed generators based on solar and wind, batteries, deferrable loads, curtailable loads, and electric vehicles, whose control and scheduling amount to a very complex nonlinear power management problem.


The main objective of this talk is to highlight the challenges in the operation of future energy systems and address some of them. I propose high-performance computational methods for the control and operation planning of power grids, by deploying various concepts in optimization theory, graph theory, power systems, control theory, distributed computation, low-rank matrix completion, and numerical algorithm. I demonstrate our proposed methods in two examples. The first one is about solving a power optimization problem for a real-world power grid with over 16,000,000 parameters, for which we obtain a feasible solution with a global optimality degree of at least 99.9%. The second one is to perform real-time optimal distributed control for the New England Power Grid to maximize the penetration of renewable energy. I conclude the talk by discussing the implementation of our algorithms in three toolboxes (named OPF solver, ODC solver, and ADMM-SDP solver), which are able to efficiently solve problems with millions of variables.


x x


Javad Lavaei

Javad Lavaei

Assistant Professor
Columbia University

Javad Lavaei is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Control & Dynamical Systems from California Institute of Technology in 2011 and held a one-year postdoc position jointly with Electrical Engineering and Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University. He is recipient of the Milton and Francis Clauser Doctoral Prize for the best university-wide Ph.D. thesis. His research interests include power systems, control theory, distributed computation,  and nonlinear optimization. Javad Lavaei is a senior member of IEEE and has won several awards, including NSF CAREER Award, Office of Naval Research YIP, Google Faculty Research Award, the Canadian Governor General’s Gold Medal, Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis Award, New Face of Engineering in 2011, and Silver Medal in the 1999 International Mathematical Olympiad. For his computation work on energy systems, he was chosen by Resnick Institute and Fortune Magazine as one of 5 innovators in the area of sustainability worldwide in 2014.