This blog series is working through a number of microgrid applications with categories that include:
Whereas blog 4 in this series focussed on customer side microgrid applications to improve supply security above that provided by the utility company grid supply, this blog focuses on utility company microgrid applications to improve the resilience of their grid supplies to customers. This is similar to customer side applications in that there is a desire to transition to a distribution energy resource (DER) based, microgrid controlled island, manage stability in the island condition and resynchronise the island with the main grid network when conditions allow. However, the utility microgrid island networks typically cover much larger geographic areas than with customer side microgrids. This raises the focus on a number of concerns that although applicable to customer side microgrid islands, often require an increased focus due to the industry codes and policies that public utility companies operate under. These concerns include:
During my time with Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) I have worked on several microgrid projects including one for a UK utility distribution network operator (DNO) looking to provide supply resilience to poorly served customers in remote locations, and another for the UK ESO (Electricity System Operator) looking to support the national network black start strategy using distribution network DER based islands.
Information on both featured projects is available in the public domain.
SGS has also supported the Lawrence Livermore National Lab with the CleanStart DERMS project. This is another DER based national black start strategy initiative, this time funded by the Department of Energy (DoE) in the US. SGS used its experience with DER management control systems to provide control system design support to the CleanStart DERMS project which, similar to the UK ESO Distributed Restart project, utilises the concept of microgrid islands for Black Start services.
SGS has supported other DNO resilience projects including Northern Power Grid’s Micro-Resilience innovation project which is based on low voltage (LV) utility network microgrids. SGS is delivering its Strata Resilience product to coordinate diverse LV DERs (generators, controllable load, energy storage devices) in a microgrid environment. SGS’s Strata Resilience software provides microgrid coordination and control of DER (including energy storage as an anchor supply), facilitating use cases such as grid-connected support (power factor control), planned/un-planned islanding transition, island-to-grid transition (re-synchronisation) and islanded operation. The solution is being deployed at four LV network areas that suffer from high outage probability or contain vulnerable/critical customers. The project is currently entering the network demonstration phase at the time of writing this blog.
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.