Master thesis at Vattenfall R&D - System balancing

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System balancing on time scales from hours to months: Which types of power plants are contributing most? In which geographical areas? On which time horizons?
Integrating larger shares of renewable energy sources is nowadays perhaps more a challenge from the market's perspective than from a technological point of view. In an electric power system that is governed by a competitive market approach, it is, for example, not easy to assess the flexibility that is available on both the generation and demand sides in terms of MW (power, how strong?), MWh (energy, how long?), speed (how fast?) and costs. In this proposed master thesis project, we want to shed more light on the balancing contributions of existing power plants. This will provide a ground for the next step where we want to estimate how much flexibility these plants potentially can provide.
Scope of the thesis
So far, we have developed a simple online tool which is fed manually with data for 2015 and 2016. The calculations are run separately; therefore, user interaction is limited. You can have a look at the existing tool here  and here. Your task will be to bring it to the next level and to use it for the analyses outlined above. Therefore, you should be interested in coding as well as analysing the results :)
- Develop the existing online tool further in order to visualise “fresh” production and consumption data close to real-time.
- Automatize the calculation of balancing contributions and visualise the results in an online tool that is responsive to the user. The user should, for example, be able to select different time horizons of interest.
- Analyse to which extent the operation of power plants "reacted" on changes of the residual load using the concept of balancing contributions which is based on the covariance between time series.
- Incorporate historical electricity price signals in the same tool and analyse whether the operation of power plants is more strongly related to these price signals than to the residual load. For this step, you need to develop the existing method further.
- Select examples that reveal insights into challenging situations and analyse them more in detail using the concept of balancing contributions. Test your own ideas on how to quantify balancing contributions and compare them to our method.
- Investigate qualitatively or quantitively whether the balancing potential of power plants can be deduced or estimated by historic data on the operation of those power plants. Your input will be important to tackle the next steps of estimating the available flexibility in different system states.
We expect you to have a strong interest as well as the necessary background in electricity markets and electric power systems. You should be keen on learning more about production planning, i.e. how power plants are dispatched. You will also need to be creative and skilled when it comes to building the online tool to visualise both indata and the results of your calculations. Your task will also include to choose a suitable platform to build your online tool on. So far, we have used Matlab and PowerBI, but in order to get full automatization, you might need to shift to other platforms such as Highcharts.
What else do I need to know?
For this project, you will be located at our R&D laboratory in Älvkarleby which is close to Gävle. You can get a glimpse of the work we are doing in Älvkarleby on Good train connections to both Gävle and Uppsala make it easy to commute on a daily base even though it is a small place. If you want to stay in Älvkarleby, we will do our best to assist you finding a room.
We are looking forward to your application! The deadline is 2018-12-07. We will start interviews as soon as we receive promising applications. You apply online through our home page where you upload a cover letter and your CV. Of course, we are eager to know which courses you have passed that are relevant for this project. You are welcome to include this information in the cover letter or your CV. Later on, we will also ask you for a transcript of records.
You are most welcome to call us if you want to have more information about this thesis proposal: Richard Scharff (+46 72 519 17 92) or Joakim Näsström (+46 72 450 96 84). Of course, e-mail works as well:,
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