Forecasting hourly electricity consumption for sets of households using machine learning algorithms
Abstract: To address inefficiency, waste, and the negative consequences of electricity generation, companies and government entities are looking to behavioural change among residential consumers. To drive behavioural change, consumers need better feedback about their electricity consumption. A monthly or quarterly bill provides the consumer with almost no useful information about the relationship between their behaviours and their electricity consumption. Smart meters are now widely dispersed in developed countries and they are capable of providing electricity consumption readings at an hourly resolution, but this data is mostly used as a basis for billing and not as a tool to assist the consumer in reducing their consumption. One component required to deliver innovative feedback mechanisms is the capability to forecast hourly electricity consumption at the household scale. The work presented by this thesis is an evaluation of the effectiveness of a selection of kernel based machine learning methods at forecasting the hourly aggregate electricity consumption for different sized sets of households. The work of this thesis demonstrates that k-Nearest Neighbour Regression and Gaussian process Regression are the most accurate methods within the constraints of the problem considered. In addition to accuracy, the advantages and disadvantages of each machine learning method are evaluated, and a simple comparison of each algorithms computational performance is made.
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