hierarchical mpc, buildings, demand charge, energy storage
Applications in energy systems often require to simultaneously miti- gate long-term peak and short-term electricity costs. The long-term peak electricity demand cost, known as demand charge, constitutes an important component of the electricity bills for large consumption units like building campuses or manufacturing plants. This poses a challenging multiscale planning problem that should make decisions at fine timescales while mitigating long-term costs. We present a hierarchical model predictive control (MPC) approach to tackle this problem in the context of stationary battery systems. The goal is to determine the optimal charge-discharge policy for the battery to minimize the monthly demand charge. We also perform comparative studies of the proposed hierarchical MPC scheme and standard MPC schemes that use ad-hoc approaches to handle the multiple timescales. In the proposed hierarchical MPC approach, we assume that the state of charge (SOC) policy is periodic, which allows us to cast the long-term planning problem as a tractable stochastic programming problem. Here, very period (e.g., a day or week) represents an operational scenario and we seek to determine targets for the periodic SOC levels and the peak cost. The long-term planner MPC communicates the periodic SOC targets and peak cost to a short-term MPC controller. The short-term MPC determines the intra-period charge/discharge policies (at high resolution) while meeting the targets of the long-term planning. We use a case study for a university campus to demonstrate that the hierarchical MPC scheme yields optimal demand charge and charge-discharge policy under nominal (perfect forecast) conditions. Under imperfect forecasts, we show that the hierarchical MPC scheme results in significant improvements in demand charge reduction over a standard MPC scheme that uses a discounting factor to capture long-term effects.