Spotlight on a Student: Javad Jazaeri

Demand side management using thermal storage of residential buildings


Javad Jazaeri is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at the University of Melbourne that has recently submitted his thesis on residential demand side management.

He aims to apply the skills and knowledge learnt from his research to a career that impacts the energy transition.

What is your research about?

The rising share of intermittent renewable energy sources in electricity generation brings significant challenges to the reliability and affordability of electricity supply.  Reduced flexibility is one of the main challenges in future power systems. Flexibility is defined as the power system’s ability to rapidly adjust its generation and loads to match electricity supply and demand. My research aims to provide flexibility to the electricity grid via demand side management by utilising the thermal storage of buildings. This flexibility is essential for several grid services such as voltage and frequency control ancillary services. My research quantifies the impacts of utilising thermal storage of buildings and optimal control of air-conditioning systems on shifting the peak electricity demand to off-peak periods.

In the first year of my PhD, I did an internship with AGL Energy working on their Residential Demand Response Trial. I programmed several short-term forecasting methods using statistical and machine learning methods. These “baseline methodologies” were used to quantify the effectiveness of the demand response program. My work as a data scientist, allowed me to work with a large set of smart-meter data and extract valuable features and information such a data-driven method for selecting suitable customers for demand response programs.

After quantifying the impact of air-conditioning loads on creating peak electricity demand, I have done an extensive series of simulations to quantify the “complex interplay between local climate, building wall types, and occupancy patterns”. I modelled hourly air-conditioning demand of a residential building in ten cities in Australia. Five common Australian wall constructions were simulated, i.e. timber cladding, cement rendered, brick veneer, reverse brick veneer, and double brick wall. A study of this size and magnitude has not been done before.

By using forecasted electricity price and optimal control of a population of air-conditioning systems, I showed how much the residential buildings could shift their electricity demand through their thermal inertia. The results show that the “optimal pre-cooling” can shift the electricity demand between 45 minutes to 3 hours depending on the wall construction type. The joint electrical-thermal model that I developed ensures the thermal comfort of customers and the operational constraints of the electricity grid are satisfied. I used a real distribution network to quantify the impacts of optimal pre-cooling on low voltage networks.

In the last part of my research, I analysed the impacts of two “residential energy storage systems”, i.e. battery storage systems and ice storage systems, on shifting the summertime peak electricity demand to night time. Until recently, ice storage systems have only been used in large buildings, such as hospitals and office buildings. The small-sized ice storage system is an emerging technology that can provide significant flexibility to the electricity network in the summertime. The results show ice storage systems can significantly reduce the summertime peak demand in warm climates while having lower cost, longer lifetime, and minimal performance degradation compared to battery storage systems.

Who are your supervisors?

I am fortunate to have A/Prof. Tansu Alpcan and Dr Robert Gordon as my supervisors. A/Prof. Tansu Alpcan is from the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. His research involves applications of distributed decision making, game theory, optimization, and control to various security and resource allocation problems in complex and networked systems, especially in smart grid, energy markets, and demand management areas. Dr Robert Gordon is a Senior Lecturer in the Fluids and Thermal Sciences division of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests focus on energy generation, emissions, and efficiency, and alternative and future fuels.

What do you want to do next?

I recently submitted my thesis, and I am on the hunt for a job right now. I am open to the many opportunities emerging in this field. The electricity sector is undergoing significant transformation, and my research will support a higher uptake of rooftop PV and electric vehicles while ensuring a reliable and affordable supply of electricity. I am very excited to apply my skills and knowledge in implementing demand side management in the real world.


I received the best paper award at the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Control Conference for my paper titled “Model predictive control of residential demand in low voltage networks using ice storage”. I was shortlisted for the best poster award at the 2016 Energy Future Conference in Sydney for my poster titled “Effects of Australian wall constructions on shifting electricity demand”. I was selected as the UniMelb student delegate to the Climate Reality Leadership Program in Brisbane in June 2019. Recently, I was awarded a $5000 Student-Engagement-Grant from the University of Melbourne to manage a STEM education initiative, which is aimed at primary school children in low socioeconomic suburbs of Melbourne. My research was funded by the Australian Postgraduate Award.

Javad and his supervisors warmly welcome any enquiries about his research. You can email him at, A/Prof. Tansu Alpcan at and Dr Robert Gordon at

More Information

Ruby Brown

Receive the latest in energy news from across the University Subscribe here