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A generalized unit commitment problem formulated as a mixed integer program: a case for Rajasthan

Student name: Ms Payal Mitra
Guide: Dr Soumendu Sarkar
Year of completion: 2017
Host Organisation: TERI University
Supervisor (Host Organisation): Dr Gopal K Sarangi
Abstract: This paper studies the Problem of efficient management and coordination within the Power Generation Sector, or the problem of ‘Unit Commitment’ in the Indian Context. The Electricity sector is a highly complex and specialized sector, governed by the nonmanipulatable laws of Physics. This sector, presents a large-scale combinatorial optimization problem in terms of how to determine the optimum combination of heterogeneous generating units that should be online and their power production schedule at any point, such that certain constraints and objectives are met. However, India has been employing unscientific methods of dispatching generation in form of a diluted ‘Merit Order’ Method, which has been proven to be sub-optimal world-wide. In this context, we develop a Mixed-Integer Programming based Unit Commitment Model, that is modified to reflect certain structural characteristics of the Indian Electricity Sector. Our model formulates the unit commitment problem from the perspective of a state planner tasked with the responsibility of procuring power at minimum system generation cost, such that it meets power demand in each period, while honoring the technical details and constraints of individual generating units. Apart from its state-owned resources, the planner also relies on a market of long term power contracts with external generating stations outside its jurisdiction. The model is applied on the real-life power system of Rajasthan. Through the case of Rajasthan, we demonstrate the superiority of advanced mathematical optimization methods such as Mixed Integer Programming in terms of substantial operational cost savings over traditional, unscientific methods employed in India.