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The microgrid primer every power engineer should study

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By: SGN Staff

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By Jesse Berst

 

Many smart grid observers think we'll be living in a world of federated microgrids sometime in the next decade. Universities, hospitals, office parks, military bases and "ecodistricts" will generate much of their own power and distribute it locally via a microgrid. The main grid will interconnect all of those microgrids and provide a "market" to receive and deliver power back and forth as needed.

 

The Microgrid Exchange Group defines a microgrid as “interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity... A microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island mode.”

 

The uber-geeks at IEEE have created a series of articles that sum up the current state of microgrids. It's excellent reading for anyone who works on the technical side of the electric power industry.

 

An article entitled "Key Connections" sums up the various microgrid research activities overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy. (Vendors: Read this article to learn where some of the gaps remain – gaps you could fill with a product or service.) You'll be pleased to read that DOE is beginning to coordinate the national laboratories’ microgrid efforts to focus them on three much-needed tasks:

·         Developing use cases to define performance and technology requirements

·         Performing cost/benefit analyses to identify high-impact R&D opportunities

·         Creating integrated tool sets for controls and operations architectures

 

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