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  5. Optimizing thermal generation commitments and dispatch in the presence of high penetrations of renewable resources such as solar energy requires a characterization of their stochastic properties. In this study, we describe novel methods designed to create day-ahead, wide-area probabilistic solar power scenarios based only on historical forecasts and associated observations of solar power production. Each scenario represents a possible trajectory for solar power in next-day operations with an associated probability computed by algorithms that use historical forecast errors. Scenarios are created by segmentation of historic data, fitting non-parametric error distributions using epi-splines, and then computing specific quantiles from these distributions.more » Additionally, we address the challenge of establishing an upper bound on solar power output. Our specific application driver is for use in stochastic variants of core power systems operations optimization problems, e.g., unit commitment and economic dispatch. These problems require as input a range of possible future realizations of renewables production. However, the utility of such probabilistic scenarios extends to other contexts, e.g., operator and trader situational awareness. Finally, we compare the performance of our approach to a recently proposed method based on quantile regression, and demonstrate that our method performs comparably to this approach in terms of two widely used methods for assessing the quality of probabilistic scenarios: the Energy score and the Variogram score.« less
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  7. Forecasts of available wind power are critical in key electric power systems operations planning problems, including economic dispatch and unit commitment. Such forecasts are necessarily uncertain, limiting the reliability and cost effectiveness of operations planning models based on a single deterministic or “point” forecast. A common approach to address this limitation involves the use of a number of probabilistic scenarios, each specifying a possible trajectory of wind power production, with associated probability. We present and analyze a novel method for generating probabilistic wind power scenarios, leveraging available historical information in the form of forecasted and corresponding observed wind power timemore » series. We estimate non-parametric forecast error densities, specifically using epi-spline basis functions, allowing us to capture the skewed and non-parametric nature of error densities observed in real-world data. We then describe a method to generate probabilistic scenarios from these basis functions that allows users to control for the degree to which extreme errors are captured.We compare the performance of our approach to the current state-of-the-art considering publicly available data associated with the Bonneville Power Administration, analyzing aggregate production of a number of wind farms over a large geographic region. Finally, we discuss the advantages of our approach in the context of specific power systems operations planning problems: stochastic unit commitment and economic dispatch. Here, our methodology is embodied in the joint Sandia – University of California Davis Prescient software package for assessing and analyzing stochastic operations strategies.« less
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  8. Progressive hedging, though an effective heuristic for solving stochastic mixed integer programs (SMIPs), is not guaranteed to converge in this case. Here, we describe BBPH, a branch and bound algorithm that uses PH at each node in the search tree such that, given sufficient time, it will always converge to a globally optimal solution. Additionally, to providing a theoretically convergent “wrapper” for PH applied to SMIPs, computational results demonstrate that for some difficult problem instances branch and bound can find improved solutions after exploring only a few nodes.
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"Woodruff, David L."

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