Introduction to Microgrids

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The more complicated the system, the easier it is to break. If that is not a correlation to Murphy’s Law, it should be, and the T&D industry could be the poster child for it. The electric grid has been supersized to the point it is groaning under its girth. Increased demand for more and better quality power has pushed the grid to its limits in both size and complexity.

What started out simply as regional islands of intercon- nected power networks has morphed over time into what the U.S. National Academy of Engineering described as the “most complex machine ever developed by humankind.” This mega grid is a marvel of interconnectivity that sup- plies a mind-boggling amount of electricity, but the mag- ture of large centralized generation plants and reliance on a spiderweb of T&D lines to supply consumers, the mega

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), a modernized master smart grid would go a long way to solving today’s mega-grid-related problems. However, the obstacles of implementing this master technology solution are plenty, ranging from regulatory approval to an enor- mous estimated price tag. It is doubtful a super smart grid will be deployed quickly. A more reasonable strategy has risen on the global radar in the last few years: microgrids. This paper provides an introduction to microgrids.

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