Advanced Microgrids 2017-12-19T23:34:00+00:00

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. Employing powerful algorithms, MDT searches the trade space of alternative microgrid designs in terms of user-defined objectives, such as performance, reliability, and cost. 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 TRANSITGRID: Through the memorandum of understanding between the US Department of Energy (DOE), the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT), and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Sandia National Labs is assisting NJ TRANSIT in developing NJ TRANSITGRID: an electric microgrid that will include a large-scale gas-fired generation facility and distributed energy resources (photovoltaics, energy storage, electric vehicles, combined heat and power) to supply reliable power during storms or other times of significant power failure.

Leveraging the ESDM, Sandia developed a plan for Hoboken’s smart grid after running 5,000 different scenarios that looked at every route, and every cost.

Microgrid Demonstration at Mesa del Sol: demonstrates how variable renewable energy resources, storage, demand response and other distributed energy resources (DER) can be managed locally with controls to produce value to both the DER owner and the utility.

10/3/16 Webinar: Sandia National Laboratories led two webinars on microgrids and energy assurance as part of Energy Action Month that contain material from Sandia’s training course titled the “Fundamentals of Advanced Microgrid Evaluation, Analysis, and Conceptual Design.”  Topics include emerging design and operations drivers, threats, security, and resiliency needs.  There’s a discussion of the changing metrics seen in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strategic plans, energy improvement options, and the use of microgrids at military installations, contingency bases, and expeditionary operations.  The webinars were presented in cooperation with the DoD Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy and the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. Both the 9:00AM and 3:00PM webinar recordings are available.

Key Facilities