Integration of energy systems with information technologies has facilitated the realization of smart energy systems that utilize information to optimize system operation. To that end, crucial in optimizing energy system operation is the accurate, ahead-of-time forecasting of load demand. In particular, load forecasting allows planning of system expansion, and decision making for enhancing system safety and reliability. In this paper, the application of two types of kernel machines for medium term load forecasting (MTLF) is presented and their performance is recorded based on a set of historical electricity load demand data. The two kernel machine models and more specifically Gaussian process regression (GPR) and relevance vector regression (RVR) are utilized for making predictions over future load demand. Both models, i.e., GPR and RVR, are equipped with a Gaussian kernel and are tested on daily predictions for a 30-day-ahead horizon taken from the New England Area. Furthermore, their performance is compared to the ARMA(2,2) model with respect to mean average percentage error and squared correlation coefficient. Results demonstrate the superiority of RVR over the other forecasting models in performing MTLF.
Keywords: Gaussian process regression; Medium term load forecasting; Relevance vector regression; Smart energy systems.