Workshop: Tackling Climate Change with Machine Learning

SustainGym: A Benchmark Suite of Reinforcement Learning for Sustainability Applications

Christopher Yeh · Victor Li · Rajeev Datta · Yisong Yue · Adam Wierman


The lack of standardized benchmarks for reinforcement learning (RL) in sustainability applications has made it difficult to both track progress on specific domains and identify bottlenecks for researchers to focus their efforts on. In this paper, we present SustainGym, a suite of two environments designed to test the performance of RL algorithms on realistic sustainability tasks. The first environment simulates the problem of scheduling decisions for a fleet of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, and the second environment simulates decisions for a battery storage system bidding in an electricity market. We describe the structure and features of the environments and show that standard RL algorithms have significant room for improving performance. We discuss current challenges in introducing RL to real-world sustainability tasks, including physical constraints and distribution shift.

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