Renewables and uncertainty in future power systems: Mathematical challenges and solutions


Power grids are one of the most complex and critical networks in modern-day society. Renewable energy sources, like solar panels and wind turbines, are introducing a massive amount of uncertainty in power grids, due to their intrinsically intermittent and highly variable nature.
Current power networks are not equipped to cope with this huge variability in power supply and become correspondingly more vulnerable to contingencies and blackouts.
In order to have a more sustainable fossil-free energy system that still operates safely and reliably at all times, there is need for new paradigms that would go beyond worst-case scenario analysis.
I propose to develop a novel mathematical framework that describes the intrinsic uncertainty affecting power networks, capturing the complicated yet realistic aspects such as spatio-temporal correlations of renewable energy generation and the interplay of this randomness with the physical network constraints.
I will then use this stochastic model to assess the maximum renewable penetration that can be sustained while maintaining a target level of reliability, identify the bottlenecks, and design distributed control policies for new technologies (e.g. energy storage devices, smart buildings and appliances, and electric vehicles) that could effectively mitigate the volatile nature of renewable power generation.


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. A. Zocca

Affiliated with

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Stochastics (ST)


01/09/2017 to 31/08/2019