Large-scale coalition formation: application in power distribution systems



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Kansas State University


Coalition formation is a key cooperative behavior of a system of multiple autonomous agents. When the capabilities of individual agents are not su fficient for the improvement of well-being of the individual agents or of the entire system, the agents can bene t by joining forces together in coalitions. Coalition formation is a technique for finding coalitions that are best fi tted to achieve individual or group goals. This is a computationally expensive task because often all combinations of agents have to be considered in order to find the best assignments of agents to coalitions. Previous research has therefore focused mainly on small-scale or otherwise restricted systems. In this thesis we study coalition formation in large-scale multi-agent systems. We propose an approach for coalition formation based on multi-agent simulation. This approach allows us to find coalitions in systems with thousands of agents. It also lets us modify behaviors of individual agents in order to better match a specific coalition formation application. Finally, our approach can consider both social welfare of the multi-agent system and well-being of individual self-interested agents. Power distribution systems are used to deliver electric energy from the transmission system to households. Because of the increased availability of distributed generation using renewable resources, push towards higher use of renewable energy, and increasing use of electric vehicles, the power distribution systems are undergoing significant changes towards active consumers who participate in both supply and demand sides of the electricity market and the underlying power grid. In this thesis we address the ongoing change in power distribution systems by studying how the use of renewable energy can be increased with the help of coalition formation. We propose an approach that lets renewable generators, which face uncertainty in generation prediction, to form coalitions with energy stores, which on the other hand are always able to deliver the committed power. These coalitions help decrease the uncertainty of the power generation of renewable generators, consequently allowing the generators to increase their use of renewable energy while at the same time increasing their pro fits. Energy stores also bene t from participating in coalitions with renewable generators, because they receive payments from the generators for the availability of their power at specific time slots. We first study this problem assuming no physical constraints of the underlying power grid. Then we analyze how coalition formation of renewable generators and energy stores in a power grid with physical constraints impacts the state of the grid, and we propose agent behavior that leads to increase in use of renewable energy as well as maintains stability of the grid.



Coalition formation, Power distribution systems, Multi-agent system, Multi-agent simulation

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Computing and Information Sciences

Major Professor

Scott A. DeLoach