Singapore Institute of Technology

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Online Optimal Power Scheduling of a Microgrid via Imitation Learning

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-17, 06:57 authored by Shuhua Gao, Cheng Xiang, Ming Yu, Kuan Tak TanKuan Tak Tan, Tong Heng Lee

This paper investigates the economic operation of a microgrid with a variety of distributed energy resources. Given the intermittency of renewable generation and the high stochasticity in market prices and loads, online power scheduling approaches are generally preferred for their uncertainty handling capacity by exploiting real-time information. Traditional online methods like model predictive control require a separate forecaster, while recent reinforcement learning (RL) based methods can learn a policy from historical data directly. However, RL methods often suffer from dimensionality issues arising from the continuous state and action space, complex constraints, and sluggish training. We propose a novel data-driven online approach based on imitation learning instead, which overcomes these limitations through problem decomposition, and more importantly, mimicking a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) solver rather than learn from scratch. The policy demonstrated by the MILP expert is approximated with a deep neural network. Our approach reduces the training time dramatically even in a small microgrid, achieving a 17-times speedup in contrast to a Q-learning method. Moreover, the operation cost achieved by our approach subject to various uncertainties is close to the theoretical minimum value. Extensive numerical studies on both simulated and real-world data highlight the performance advantage of the proposed approach as compared to other common methods. 


Exploiting Distributed Generation Programme


Journal/Conference/Book title

IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid

Publication date



  • Post-print

Rights statement

S. Gao, C. Xiang, M. Yu, K. T. Tan and T. H. Lee, "Online Optimal Power Scheduling of a Microgrid via Imitation Learning," in IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 861-876, March 2022, doi: 10.1109/TSG.2021.3122570. © 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.

Corresponding author

Cheng Xiang

Project ID

  • 7019 (R-EMA-A403-0002) Optimization of Energy Management in Multiple Micro-grids System Based on Predictive Control and Artificial Intelligence