Sandians visit Puerto Rico to participate in grid resilience and distributed energy conversations in wake of Hurricane Fiona

November 9, 2022 9:02 am Published by

Sandians Summer Ferreira, Matt Lave, and Olga Hart recently visited San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they participated in an Advisory Group Meeting associated with the multi-National-Lab PR100 project to discuss lessons learned related to grid resilience and distributed energy in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Meeting participants included community leaders, local university professors, business owners, Puerto Rican authorities, National Laboratory partners and federal government representatives including Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.

Five years after Hurricane Maria, and about a month after Hurricane Fiona, Sandia and the multi-Lab project team are committed to providing objective technical guidance to inform recovery and resilience efforts.  

Summer Ferreira, Sandia’s Manger of Renewable and Distributed Energy Systems Integration, said, “We [at Sandia] have a strong history of delivering and of being subject matter experts on this [distributed energy work]. This is important for us to continue to do and do well, and to put forward as we talk about opportunities to address energy resilience needs like in Puerto Rico or other island/islanded communities. I genuinely believe this is work that can make a real difference.”

During their time in Puerto Rico, the Sandia team met with others working toward addressing energy needs in Puerto Rico including at the local Ana G. Mendez University where researchers are working to establish energy surety to remote mountain communities; they visited the mountain community of Castañer, to learn more about a newly established community microgrid; and participated in the Advisory Group Meeting.

Sandia’s Renewable Energy and Distributed Systems Integration (RDSI) program helps to develop and validate solutions to the challenges facing the nation’s electricity systems, including microgrids in island or islanded communities.

Sandia’s microgrid research focuses on multiple aspects of microgrids, including:

  • Multi-objective, optimized microgrid design to balance different goals, such as cost and resilience
  • Autonomous operation of microgrids and microgrid assets under dynamic conditions, including faults
  • Long horizon control of microgrids to balance economics with power delivery
  • New microgrid topologies to enable more resilient operation, including power electronic converter-based systems and networked microgrids

“Sandia tools such as the Microgrid Conceptual Design Methodology, the Resilience Node Cluster Analysis Tool (ReNCAT), and the Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT) have been used in partnership with communities in Puerto Rico,” explains Matt Lave, Sandia systems research analyst.

While solutions to grid resiliency and energy surety can be difficult to achieve, ongoing discussions and systems research will help identify potential solutions which are cost effective and meet local needs.

For more information regarding Sandia’s electric grid research, click here

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