Microgrids have a number of applications and I have categorised and discussed these in this blog series as follows:
All the microgrid applications discussed in earlier blogs use RES to reduce carbon impacts and in many cases are designed to displace or replace traditional diesel fuelled generation as the anchor microgrid energy sources. The microgrid applications discussed in this blog have a primary focus to attract and encourage the use of low carbon DER, primarily in high density population areas e.g. town and city centres, by local authorities and city councils who have committed to carbon reduction or climate emergency targets.
This microgrid application is illustrated through two example projects where Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) is utilizing our extensive experience in DER management system design and applications.
Both of these projects aim to demonstrate microgrid based technology solutions that will assist in the clean energy transition of town and city local authority areas. These projects illustrate a number of emerging microgrid themes :
Secondly real time carbon intensity data can be used to enable real time control decisions to minimise carbon intensity in the microgrid. This may also require data analytics to support forecasting of microgrid carbon intensity. In the UK the ESO publishes half hourly regional carbon intensity data which broadly aligns with peak system demand, in turn correlated with wholesale electricity market price. This provides an estimate of the microgrid’s utility grid supply carbon intensity on a half hour by half hour average basis. If you had a microgrid supported by carbon free DER but taking top up supplies from the utility grid you may not want to charge the BESS when grid supply carbon intensity is higher even if wholesale prices are lower. While UK data shows broad alignment between carbon intensity daily peaks and wholesale price daily peaks, the alignment is not exact and at other times of day alignment is poorer. Hence wholesale prices cannot be used as an accurate proxy for utility supply carbon intensity. Hence carbon intensity can be used as an additional influencing factor for the timing of BESS based energy arbitrage with the wholesale market where local authorities wish to consider carbon intensity as well as purely economic factors.
Another interesting example of why carbon intensity is important is microgrid based fleet depot EV charging such as electric refuse trucks and electric buses. Real time data on microgrid carbon intensity can be used to influence real time EV charging in addition to electricity price data i.e. if you are a local authority investing in a fleet of electric refuse collection vehicles you don’t want the fleet to come back to the depot and start charging these at 5:30pm when the microgrid carbon intensity is peaking due to top ups of high carbon intensity power from the utility grid. The micro grid controller can use grid carbon intensity data to influence fleet EV charging from the microgrid.
SGS’s Strata Resilience product is a software-based microgrid manager that delivers grid connected, island and black start operations while optimizing the value of microgrid assets for customers with grid and market integration. Strata Resilience delivers the core capabilities of DER microgrid management.