ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.1230.v1
Subject: Engineering, Energy And Fuel Technology Keywords: electricity demand forecasting; model explainability; SHAP values; neural networks; structured time series; genetic programming (GP); symbolic expressions; training timeframe; counterfactuals; actionable features
Online: 17 August 2023 (09:06:07 CEST)
Building electric energy is characterized by a significant increase of its uses (e.g. vehicle charging), a rapidly declining cost of all related data collection and a proliferation of smart grid concepts, including diverse and flexible electricity pricing schemes. Not surprisingly, an increased number of approaches have been proposed for its modeling and forecasting. In this work, we place our emphasis on three forecasting related issues. First, on the forecasting explainability, i.e. the ability to understand and explain to the user what shapes the forecast. To this extent we rely on concepts and approaches that are inherently explainable, such as the evolutionary approach of genetic programming (GP) and its associated symbolic expressions, as well as the so-called SHAP (SHapley Additive eXplanations) values, which is a well established model agnostic approach for explainability, especially in terms of feature importance. Second, we investigate the impact of the training timeframe on the forecasting accuracy; this is driven by the realization that a fast training would allow for faster deployment of forecasting in real life solutions. And third, we explore the concept of counterfactual analysis on actionable features, i.e. features that the user can really act upon and which therefore present an inherent advantage when it comes to decision support. We have found that SHAP values can provide important insights into the model explainability. As for GP models, we have found comparable and in some cases superior accuracy when compared to its neural-network and time-series counterparts but a rather questionable potential to produce crisp and insightful symbolic expressions, allowing a better insight into the model performance. We have also found, and report here on an important potential especially for practical, decision support, solutions of counterfactuals built on actionable features and short training timeframes.