Aggregate Modeling of Thermostatically Controlled Loads for Microgrid Energy Management Systems

Samuel Cordova, Claudio A. Canizares, Alvaro Lorca, Daniel E. Olivares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Second-to-second renewable power fluctuations can severely hinder the frequency regulation performance of modern isolated microgrids, as these typically have a low inertia and significant renewable energy integration. In this context, the present paper studies the coordinated control of Thermostatically Controlled Loads (TCLs) for managing short-term power imbalances, and their integration in microgrid operations through the use of aggregate TCL models. In particular, two computationally efficient and accurate aggregate TCL models are developed: a virtual battery model representing the aggregate flexibility of TCLs considering solar irradiance heat gains and wall/floor heat transfers, and a frequency transient model representing the aggregate dynamics of a TCL collection considering communication delays and the presence of model uncertainty and time-variability. The proposed aggregate TCL models are then used to design a practical Energy Management System (EMS) integrating TCL flexibility, and study the impact of TCL integration on microgrid operation and frequency control. Computational experiments using detailed frequency transient and thermal dynamic models are presented, demonstrating the accuracy of the proposed aggregate TCL models, as well as the economic and reliability benefits resulting from using these aggregate models to integrate TCLs in microgrid operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4169-4181
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Load control
  • energy management system
  • frequency dynamics
  • microgrid operation
  • short-term fluctuations
  • virtual battery


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