Optimal coordination of virtual power plant with photovoltaics and electric vehicles: A temporally coupled distributed online algorithm

Shuai Fan, Jiang Liu, Qing Wu, Mingjian Cui, Huan Zhou, Guangyu He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a temporally coupled distributed online (TDO) algorithm to aggregate and coordinate numerous networked distributed energy resources (DERs) as a virtual power plant (VPP). A centralized stochastic optimization problem is formulated to minimize the long-term social utility loss while satisfying the voltage security, operational requirements of DERs, and VPP service requests. After that, we propose the TDO algorithm to reformulate the primary problem as an adaptation of online convex optimization (OCO). In particular, the temporally coupled constraints are well separated to each timeslot. In real-time operation, the VPP operator updates the incentives according to the measurement feedback. The smart energy gateways (SEGs) equipped at each node maximize their income and utility based on the received incentive signals through adjusting the setpoints of the governed photovoltaics (PV) inverters and electric vehicles (EVs). Unlike conventional distributed optimization algorithms where complicated iterative procedures between agents are unavoidable, the proposed TDO algorithm is computation- and communication-efficient since the SEG can directly employ the closed-form optimal setpoints without iterative communications once receiving the incentives. Furthermore, we design an incentive scheme to coordinate the SEGs based on the privacy protected nonintrusive measurements instead of direct control. Optimality and convergency of TDO are analyzed mathematically. Finally, the proposed method is corroborated numerically on a modified 33-node test feeder. A larger system is tested to validate the computational time performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115583
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 1


  • Electric vehicles
  • Online distributed optimization
  • Photovoltaics
  • Power internet of things
  • Virtual power plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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