Main content area

A generic microgrid controller: Concept, testing, and insights

Razeghi, Ghazal, Gu, Fei, Neal, Russell, Samuelsen, Scott
Applied energy 2018 v.229 pp. 660-671
consumers (people), controllers, critical load, disasters, economic dispatch, electricity
Microgrids have garnered attention in recent years as a way to increase the reliability of the grid, increase the reliability of electricity service to customers, adapt to an increasing percentage of intermittent renewable generation, and serve both customer critical loads and the needs of adjacent communities in the case of emergencies such as natural disasters. One barrier to microgrids is the historic cost and lack of standardization associated with microgrid controllers. To reduce this cost and address standardization, specifications for a Generic Microgrid Controller (GMC) were developed with the goal to facilitate the design and ease of adaptation of microgrid controllers to various microgrids of different sizes and with different resources. A GMC must address two core functions, Transition and Dispatch, as well as several optional higher level functions such as economic dispatch, and renewable and load forecasting.The GMC specifications were demonstrated and evaluated using a commercial simulation platform for two different microgrids, a 20 MW-Class community microgrid and a 10 MW-Class medical center microgrid. For each microgrid, the GMC was tested in hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) using an OPAL-RT real-time digital simulator, and the two core functions were assessed. The results established that (1) the GMC is successful in seamlessly transitioning the microgrids to and from an islanded mode, (2) a load/generation mismatch at the time of separation depends on the microgrid configuration and must be lower than a specific value determined by simulation testing, and (3) the GMC Dispatch Function response is acceptable in maintaining, in the islanded mode, 60 Hz for a range of load changes.