DC Microgrid PI Jack Flicker discusses Sandia and Emera’s project and advantages of creating self-sustaining microgrids during the ribbon cutting for Phase one of the project at the new KAFB community center near the Base’s temporary housing units. (Photo by Dan Ware)

Ribbon cutting for Sandia/Emera DC microgrid

November 12, 2019 5:18 pm Published by

Modernizing energy delivery

DC Microgrid PI Jack Flicker discusses Sandia and Emera’s project and advantages of creating self-sustaining microgrids during the ribbon cutting for Phase one of the project at the new KAFB community center near the Base’s temporary housing units. (Photo by Dan Ware)
DC Microgrid PI Jack Flicker discusses Sandia and Emera’s project and advantages of creating self-sustaining microgrids during the ribbon cutting for Phase one of the project at the new KAFB community center near the Base’s temporary housing units. (Photo by Dan Ware)

At a ribbon cutting held on Sept. 6, officials from Sandia, Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB), and Emera Technologies were joined by representatives from the city of Albuquerque and the New Mexico congressional delegation to unveil the first phase of a resilient Direct Current (DC) microgrid project.

The DC microgrid serves a new community center, temporary housing, other residential facilities, and KAFB. As one of many energy-related projects currently being researched at Sandia, the DC microgrid highlights the Labs’ leading role in advancing grid modernization for the nation.

At the ribbon cutting, which took place at the new KAFB community center, Jack Flicker, principal investigator for the DC microgrid project, said, “Our mission and research have evolved over time to include the development and creation of reliable, safe, and resilient power systems, which work toward our overall goal of ensuring global peace and security.”

The microgrid, which is connected to Sandia’s Distributed Energy Test Laboratory and Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory, will be used to evaluate the viability of deploying and operating DC microgrids in critical infrastructure.

Benefits to future research

The project, made possible through a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between Sandia and Emera, combines solar photovoltaics, battery storage, and other energy resources located at the new community center, a row of duplexes at the base, and community facilities at an RV park. The CRADA is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Microgrid R&D Program.

Flicker also remarked about how partnerships with Sandia benefit research and development.

“Because of the partnerships we have been able to foster with government agencies, universities, other national labs, businesses, organizations, and communities,” Flicker said, “Sandia is one of the leaders in the research and development of self-sustaining microgrids, which will be better for the environment and safer for the communities they will provide power to.”

Making it better

The microgrid performance will be tested, analyzed, and optimized by Sandia researchers to evaluate its ability to provide a clean, cost-effective, independent, and resilient electricity supply under normal blue-sky conditions and under a variety of challenging scenarios.

While connected to the energy grid serving the Albuquerque area, the microgrid can also operate as an independent, self-sustaining system. This demonstration will determine how the microgrid handles different energy-demand scenarios, how performance and stability are affected by various control schemes, and how cost-performance trade-offs affect the relative sizing and placement of storage, converters, and other network elements.

Sandia plans to bring the DC microgrid online later this fall.

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