Social Energy: Mining Energy from the Society

Yingchen Zhang, Jun Zhang, David Gao, Xiao Wang, Xiangyang Zhao, Dongliang Duan, Xiaoxiao Dai, Jun Hao, Fei-Yue Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus Citations


The inherent nature of energy, i.e., physicality, sociality and informatization, implies the inevitable and intensive interaction between energy systems and social systems. From this perspective, we define U+201C social energy U+201D as a complex sociotechnical system of energy systems, social systems and the derived artificial virtual systems which characterize the intense intersystem and intra-system interactions. The recent advancement in intelligent technology, including artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, sensing and communication in Internet of Things technologies, and massive high performance computing and extreme-scale data analytics technologies, enables the possibility of substantial advancement in socio-technical system optimization, scheduling, control and management. In this paper, we provide a discussion on the nature of energy, and then propose the concept and intention of social energy systems for electrical power. A general methodology of establishing and investigating social energy is proposed, which is based on the ACP approach, i.e., U+201C artificial systems U+201D U+0028 A U+0029, U+201C computational experiments U+201D U+0028 C U+0029 and U+201C parallel execution U+201D U+0028 P U+0029, and parallel system methodology. A case study on the University of Denver U+0028 DU U+0029 campus grid is provided and studied to demonstrate the social energy concept. In the concluding remarks, we discuss the technical pathway, in both social and nature sciences, to social energy, and our vision on its future.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number7974894
Pages (from-to)466-482
Number of pages17
JournalIEEE/CAA Journal of Automatica Sinica
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Chinese Association of Automation.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-70302


  • ACP
  • distribution locational marginal pricing
  • intelligent operation in power systems
  • parallel control
  • parallel intelligence
  • parallel management
  • social energy
  • socio-technical energy systems


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