Microgrid Controllers and the Management of Distributed Energy Resources

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This white paper from EPRI  provides an in depth analysis of  the relationship of microgrid controller with Distributed Energy Resource Management System (DERMS) and Utility Distributed Management System (DMS).

Over the past few years, industry activities to create standards for distributed energy resources (DER) management systems have primarily focused on the behaviors of individual DER units and open communication protocols over the field networks that connect directly to these devices. To better integrate and manage many diverse distributed resources, EPRI has been developing functional requirements and communication protocols for distributed energy resource management systems (DERMS) operating in a grid-tied mode (EPRI reports 3002002464 and 3002001249).

A recent publication from the Argonne National Laboratory provides the guidelines for implementing advanced distribution management systems (DMS). These activities are intended to provide the industry with a point of reference and to provide guidance to research and standards development organizations.

This project described in this report aims to advance the state of the art in microgrids and aggregated DER by developing and defining standardized functions for the microgrid controller. Additionally, the project will establish the roles of microgrid management and DERMS functionalities within the microgrid controller and identify the interface between the microgrid controller and the distribution system operator (DSO) through interaction with the DMS.

A key focus is on the overall utility system architecture that describes the high level architecture of microgrid controllers with respect to DMS and DER. The project also identifies architectural variations between DMS, microgrid controllers, DERMS, and DERs.

The document examines the relationship between DER and the microgrid controller/DERMS as well as the relationship between the microgrid controller/DERMS and DMS. The description of the architecture from DER to microgrid controllers/DERMS identifies the interface, messages, information exchanged, communications protocols, and functional requirements for each of the functions that relate DER to microgrid controllers/DERMS.

Also included is an in-depth discussion of the integration of the microgrid controller/DERMS with DMS is provided. The report also identifies remaining technical gaps in the integration of DMS, DERMS, and microgrid controllers.

This report is available for free from the Microgrid Knowledge White Paper Library.

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