Optimal participation scheme for virtual power plants in energy and reserve markets


Li Li  (UTS)

George Martin (Starling Energy Group/Plico Energy)

The project

A highly competitive scholarship is available to support a suitably interested and eligible candidate to undertake a 3-year Industry PhD research project at University of Technology Sydney. The PhD project will be completed in the School of Electrical and Data Engineering and is funded by a generous 3-year scholarship by the RACE for 2030 Collaborative Research Centre in collaboration with industry partner Starling Energy Group.

This PhD project aims to devise efficient strategies for virtual power plants (VPPs) to participate in energy markets considering different market structures, load and generation profiles behind-the-meter of customers, uncertainty, demand response and artificial intelligence techniques. The main objective of this research is to cover the research outputs listed below:

Effective configuration for VPPs consisting of distributed energy resources, such as small-scale solar, wind, energy storage, and EVs. Developing a bidding strategy for VPPs to maximize their benefit from participating in energy markets.

Optimal development of strategies for VPPs to manage demand side response programs (i.e. taking advantage of market opportunities to reduce distribution-scale load as opposed to increase generation output)
Artificial intelligence-based data analysis on behind-the-meter customer profiles, electricity prices, etc.

This PhD will be completed through a PhD by publication/compilation or thesis with a minimum of three peer reviewed publications and will commence with an industry focused Rapid Review. This PhD will also be supported by an Industry Reference Group throughout the project providing the opportunity to develop advanced research skills, contribute to an important global issue and engage meaningfully with industry.

Scholarship value
RACE for 2030 will provide a living stipend scholarship for 3 years of $38,000 per annum (tax exempt). RACE for 2030 does not cover international tuition fees if they apply. RACE for 2030 will also supply up to $3,000 per annum for expenses for the candidate, for items such as a computer, publishing fees, travel or conference costs. We encourage female-identifying and Indigenous applicants to apply.

Skills and experience
In addition to the eligibility criteria, candidates should also have the follow skills and/or experience:

• Excellent written and verbal communications skills.
• Competence in mathematical foundations and computational/statistical thinking
• Ability to produce high-level literature reviews
• Familiar with the integration of renewable energy resources and energy storage systems (preferred)
• Research experience with optimization, electricity market, planning, and operation (preferred)
• Working experience in the energy sector (preferred)

During the competitive selection process, candidates will also be assessed upon their ability to:
• Independently pursue their work
• Collaborate with others, including industry and research partners
• Analyse and work with complex issues and
• Formulate scientific and industry focused texts


1. Applicants should have a first-class honours or masters degree or equivalent in a related discipline, OR a combination of an upper second-class honour’s degree or equivalent in a related discipline together with a minimum of five years equivalent full-time professional work experience in a relevant field.
2. Applicants must be eligible for enrolment in their chosen course at University of Technology Sydney. It is recommended that students obtain relevant postgraduate information from the relevant university before pursuing a scholarship inquiry.
3. Applicants must be studying full time.

Applications are now closed. 






$38,000 + $3,000 pa expenses






Page last updated 12 December 2023