Sandia’s microgrid work crosscuts our grid modernization research areas and addresses real-time controls, operational optimization, power quality, and protection and standards.

Microgrid Architectures

power-grid_cA microgrid is a small-scale version of a centralized electric grid—implemented at a local level. A microgrid can be tied to the larger grid, yet retain the ability to independently supply energy in the event the larger grid experiences power interruptions. Microgrids can take advantage of locally generated power sources, such a photovoltaics (PV), small wind, and energy-storage systems, rather than relying completely on electrical energy delivered by the larger, centralized grid. A microgrid can switch quickly between operating on or off the larger grid: when the grid offers cheap electricity, the microgrid can choose to purchase it; but, if prices rises or a power failure occurs, the microgrid can isolate itself and continue to operate using its own distributed power-generation sources. While the microgrid concept is gaining popularity, many of the cutting-edge hardware, software, and control systems necessary to implement microgrids have yet to be thoroughly tested in real-world situations.

Key Activities

Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT): MDT is a decision support software that provides designers the information they need to identify an optimal microgrid design for their needs in the early stages of the design process. Download the MDT.

Energy Surety Design Methodology (ESDM): ensures optimal system designs that meet stakeholder needs with an emphasis on criticalities and all applicable threats while addressing interdependencies among infrastructures.

Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security (SPIDERS): a Joint Command Technology Development project between the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security to demonstrate that microgrids have the ability to maintain operational surety through secure, reliable, and resilient electric power generation and distribution to mission critical loads.

NJ Transit Grid: Leveraging our ESDM we developed a plan for Hoboken’s smart grid after running 5,000 different scenarios that looked at every route, and every cost.

Key Facilities