A microgrid is a small-scale version of an interconnected electric grid. Microgrids can locally mange the operation of distributed energy resources, such a photovoltaics (PV), wind, electric vehicles, energy-storage, demand response, and thermal energy systems while connected to larger host grid or as an independent power system. Microgrids can be designed to support resilience objectives by maintaining continuity of energy supply when primary sources are affected by natural or manmade disruptions. 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 developed, optimized, and validated in real-world situations. Sandia’s Renewable and Distributed Systems Integration, Energy Storage, and Defense Energy programs are developing technologies and applying microgrid solutions nationwide to supply communities with more resilient power.
Key Activities and Capabilities
This project provides direct technical assistance to municipalities, utilities, and community stakeholders to develop nationally-impactful microgrid demonstrations. This project applies methods, models, and tools developed under DOE’s Microgrid Research and Development Program to develop conceptual designs for resilient microgrids that support community resilience objectives. These efforts also inform further research to advance microgrid design methods, models, and tools.
This research focuses on the development of new technologies and design tools for remote microgrids to improve performance and reliability through the use of non-traditional technologies or operating modes. Examples include the utilization of grid forming inverters and energy storage to minimize the use of diesel generation and maximize the use of renewable energy resources while improving response to contingency events. Current efforts involve design and deployment of a grid bridging system in the remote village of St. Mary’s, Alaska, in partnership with Alaska Village Electric Coop (AVEC) and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP).
This project is developing next-generation system protection technologies for low-inertia inverter-dominated systems including microgrids. Current research efforts focus on novel and cyber-secure fault detection and location technologies that work well under low short-circuit current and dynamic system topologies. Novel algorithms are demonstrated with real-time hardware-in-the-loop with different types of inverters and protection relays.
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.