Microgrids have been identified as a key component of the smart grid in order to improve system energy efficiency and reliability and to provide the possibility of grid-independence to individual end-user sites. As defined by the Microgrid Exchange Group (MEG), “A microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid. A microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island-mode.”More
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) held the Microgrid Workshop on August 30-31, 2011, in San Diego, California. The purpose of the workshop was to convene experts and practitioners to assist the DOE in identifying and prioritizing research and development (R&D) areas in the field of microgrids. The targets of the OE microgrid initiative are to develop commercial scale microgrid systems (capacity <10 MW) capable of reducing outage time of required loads by >98% at a cost comparable to non-integrated baseline solutions (uninterrupted power supply plus diesel genset), while reducing emissions by >20% and improving system energy efficiencies by >20%, by 2020.
A workshop planning committee with representatives from the national laboratories involved in microgrid initiatives was assembled to develop the workshop process and sessions. Additionally, the committee members provided nominations of experts and practitioners to the DOE for invitation to the workshop. The workshop had a total of 73 registrants, representing vendors, utilities, national laboratories, universities, research institutes, and end users. The technical topic sessions were jointly conducted by some of the committee members as well as industry co-leads.
The first day of the workshop consisted of an opening plenary session followed by two breakout sessions run in parallel. Breakout Group 1 (blue) focused on microgrid components under the following subtopics: switch technologies, control and protection technologies, and inverters/converters. Breakout Group 2 (red) focused on microgrid systems under the following subtopics: standards and protocols, system design and economic analysis tools, and system integration. The second day of the workshop consisted of a combined session in which the selected industry representatives reported the summary of their sub-sessions to the entire group. The report-out presentations consisted of priority R&D areas and their performance baselines, targets, and actionable plans