Diesel Generator Optimal Dispatch Controller

The main deliverable of this project is a developing a simple controller that can be used in any diesel-based remote community to increase the efficiency of diesel generator use.

Project overview

In the Canadian Territories the vast majority of communities are isolated from an interconnected electrical grid and are dependent on diesel for their electrical needs. In most cases, diesel is being flown into these remote communities. Being dependent on flown in diesel has negative environmental and social impacts and is an expensive energy source for communities.

This project's main deliverable is a controller designed to measure input and output parameters of a diesel generator to modify the economic dispatch and unit commitment, which is traditionally set by generic rules of operation. This gives communities the possible opportunity to run their diesel generators more efficiently, which would reduce energy cost, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lessening the negative environmental impacts of diesel generator use.

The internal mechanisms of diesel generators may not be modifiable or accessible, which is why this project views the generator as a 'black box', and therefore creates an efficiency curve based on input and output data. The controller, used to optimize the usage of existing diesel generators, is developed to learn the operating characteristics of the diesel system in real-time and adapt to operate in the most efficient way. The controller is relatively low in equipment cost and can be deployed onto unique diesel generator set ups across the north, potentially increasing the diesel efficiency for each unique system.

This project provides northerners with an interim solution for meeting energy needs in a more efficient way. Implementing renewable energy resources may be a goal for northern communities; yet while still operating on diesel, the optimal dispatch controller can provide a low cost, easily integrated solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on energy cost.

Project team

Dr. Michael Ross, Program Lead, Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Northern Energy Innovation, Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College

Sara Thompson, Program Enhancement Officer, Northern Energy Innovation, Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College

Kelly Tobalt, Project Lead, Northern Energy Innovation, Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College


Chloe Shao, Northern Energy Innovation, Yukon Research Centre, Yukon College

  • Yukon Energy Corporation
  • ATCO Electric
  • Northwest Territories Power Corporation
  • Qulliq Energy Corporation
  • Aurora Research Institute, Aurora College
  • Nunavut Research Centre, Arctic College
  • Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNA)
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)
  • Yukon Energy Corporation
  • Qulliq Energy Corporation
  • Northwest Territories Power Corporation
  • ATCO Electric
  • Diesel Generator Optimal Dispatch Controller Report