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Title: Modelling the UK market in electricity generation with autonomous adaptive agents
Author: Bagnall, A. J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 2427 0302
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2000
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The modern trend in electricity industries around the world is towards privatisation. Increased competition, it is argued, will ultimately benefit the consumer. However, the particular nature of electricity generation and supply means strong regulation of a privatised market will always be necessary. In establishing a privatised industry, decisions need to be made about the mechanisms governing the requirements to meet demand, to maintain the viability of the network and to ensure generators are paid correctly for power generated. Unfortunately, it is unclear what processes to use to achieve these goals while still delivering some benefit to the consumer in the form of reduced electricity costs. This research, sponsored by the National Grid Company, examines whether the application of new ideas in artificial intelligence could offer the potential for gaining insights into the affects of certain market mechanisms on the competitors in the market. Our approach to gaining greater understanding into how the market operates is to adopt an evolutionary economics perspective. We have constructed autonomous adaptive agents to represent the generating companies in a simplified model of the UK market in electricity generation. The main body of the thesis contains a description of the process of developing the model and the agent architecture. Once we were satisfied that the model incorporated some key features of the real world market and that the agents, based on learning classifier systems, were able to perform well in simpler environments, we examined how multiple adaptive agents learn to interact in the simplified model. We conclude that the agents are able to learn how to behave in ways analogous to the observed behaviour of real world generating companies. We then illustrate the potential for this type of economic model by examining how alterations to market structure affect agent behaviour, and investigate to what extent the agents are able to learn how to cooperate for mutual long term benefit.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Utility; Utilities; Artificial intelligence