This paper was presented at the Ninth Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems AAMAS 2010, Industry Track, Toronto, Canada.
Abstract: Over the course of the 20th century, the electrical power systems of industrialized economies have become one of the most complex systems created by mankind. A number of ongoing trends will drastically change the way this critical infrastructure is operated. Demand for electricity keeps growing while the controllability of generation capacity is decreasing due to introduction of renewable energy sources. Further, there is an increase of distributed generators (DG), i.e. the generation capacity embedded in the (medium and low voltage) distribution networks. Intelligent distributed coordination will be essential to ensure the electricity infrastructure runs efficiently in the future. The PowerMatcher technology, a multi-agent coordination system, has been developed to provide this kind of coordination. The heart of the system is an electronic market on which local control agents negotiate using strategies based on short-term micro-economics. This concept has been demonstrated in a number of field tests of increasing scale. Currently, the focus is moving from proof of concept field tests proving the technology towards demonstrations developing commercial applications paving the way for large-scale application.