First Advisor

Robert Bass

Date of Publication

Spring 6-13-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical and Computer Engineering




Electric power distribution, Electric water heaters, Renewable energy sources



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 101 pages)


Today's utilities face new challenges due to the continually increasing penetration of residential solar and other distributed, stochastic generation sources. In order to maintain balance and stability in the grid without building costly, large-scale generation plants, utilities are turning to distributed energy resources for use in demand response programs. Demand response is a cost-efficient way to balance grid load/generation without the need for increased capital investment in traditional generation resources. Demand response programs are excellent exploiters of end-user devices that otherwise further accentuate the daily load curve and thus, add to the difficulties created by daily load peaks.

Electric water heaters are excellent candidates for use in demand response programs for a variety of reason. One, electric water heaters represent a large portion of daily household loads due to their high nominal power ratings (1.5 kW - 5.5kW), and frequent use estimated to account for approximately one third of all daily residential power demand. Two, they are composed of strictly resistive elements, which greatly simplifies modeling, aggregation and control. And third, they can be used for load "shedding" during periods of high electrical demand as well as load "absorbing" during periods of excess generation due to their thermal storage capabilities.

With improved access and control, electric water heaters could become a major distributed energy resource for utilities. In order to properly control and use a distributed energy resource, it is important to know how these resources operate and their patterns of behavior in different environments. This thesis presents a single-element, single mass electric water heater model for analyzing the effectiveness of using electric water heaters as distributed energy resources and for participation in demand response programs. The CTA-2045 communication protocol was used for testing demand response signals. The electric water heater is modeled in Python and the communication pathway was built in C++ and Python.


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