(Updated 2018-04-05, 23:53 EDT.)
Now here’s a thought: A microgrid with dynamic boundaries.
Basic ideas were conceived by Nassar and Salama, “Adaptive self-adequate microgrids with dynamic boundaries”:
Intensive research is being directed at microgrids because of their numerous beneﬁts, such as their ability to enhance the reliability of a power system and reduce its environmental impact. Past research has focused on microgrids that have predeﬁned boundaries. However, a recently suggested methodology enables the determination of ﬁctitious boundaries that divide existing bulky grids into smaller microgrids, thereby facilitating the use of a smart grid paradigm in large-scale systems. These boundaries are ﬁxed and do not change with the power system operating conditions. In this paper, we propose a new microgrid concept that incorporates ﬂexible ﬁctitious boundaries: “dynamic microgrids.” The proposed method is based on the allocation and coordination of agents in order to achieve boundary mobility. The stochastic behavior of loads and renewable-based generators are considered, and a novel model that represents wind, solar, and load power based on historical data has been developed. The PG&E 69-bus system has been used for testing and validating the proposed concept. Compared with the ﬁxed bound-
ary microgrids, our results show the superior effectiveness of the dynamic microgrid concept for addressing the self-adequacy of microgrids in the presence of stochastically varying loads and generation.
This is encouraging. Because it means, at least, that if people want grid defection to pursue energy democracy, this new option is moving to a community which is already islanded from the grid. With dynamic boundaries, it’s possible one could dynamically assemble groups of communities during the day. And, in fact, there might be a new business model there: An intelligent, rapidly switchable transmission network that could group, regroup, drop, and reconfigure a number of microgrids, for fees.
Oncor‘s microgrid. (Oncor is a Texas utility!)
I love the litany of limits of the supergrid vision in the following talk by Dr Chris Marnay of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
I also like the designation of renewable energies as being grid hostile.
Siemens, in cooperation with Chicago-based ComEd and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), is working to support microgrids as integral operating components within a 20th century-style command-and-control grid. Note:
The dual-pronged pilot is focused on developing next-generation microgrid controller logic that can handle complex, grid-supportive situations as well as a parallel effort to explore the potential for large volumes of photovoltaic solar on microgrids, when paired with stationary storage. To get the inside scoop on the project, I spoke with vice president of strategy for Siemens Digital Grid, Ken Geisler.
Ultimately, Mr. Geisler envisions the grid of the future as a patchwork of smaller microgrids that all intelligently, intuitively work together, saying “These clusters of resources in a coherent area might be able to support more of what I would call a patchwork quilt of microgrids such that the utility has some level of control that helps offset their costs and manage their rates as well as allows third parties to come in and provide resources at some level like rooftop solar or other microgrids that could pop up for the sole purpose for the C&I industry in the area.”