By Dan Ware
Sandia, in conjunction with experts from around the country, has published a roadmap for the research and development of microgrid protection in a recent report titled Microgrid Protection: Advancing the State of the Art.
Prepared for the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, the report takes a deep dive into the complexities of protection for microgrids, which are stand-alone power systems that generally cover a small geographic area. While they are typically connected to a larger host power grid, they are meant to be able to function separately or “islanded.” To allow islanded operation, microgrids incorporate distributed energy resources, which generally include a mix of renewable and fossil-based generation as well as energy storage. When microgrids are islanded, different protection settings are needed than are typically used when they are connected to the larger central grid.
The March 2019 Sandia report discusses the need for novel solutions that address challenges unique to microgrid systems, including protection of the distribution and microgrid systems in both connected, islanded modes and transition between them.
The report also identifies gaps related to microgrid protection that have not been properly addressed in current literature and standards. It stresses the need for guidelines for the protection of microgrids, as a complement to the existing IEEE Standards. The authors of this report encourage participation in the IEEE Std P2030.12 Working Group on the development of the Guide for “The design of Microgrid Protection,” sponsored by the IEEE PES Committee on “Power System Relaying and Control (PSRCC).”
The report presents recommendations for the development of protection systems tailored to microgrids. It describes specific requirements for next-generation hardware, software and control approaches that would simplify and accelerate the development of new protection systems.
The authors of the report include S. S. (Mani) Venkata, Venkata Consulting Solutions Inc.; Matthew Reno ; Ward Bower, Ward Bower Innovations; Scott Manson, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories; James Reilly, Reilly Associates; and George W. Sey Jr., PECO.
The development of the report was funded by the DOE Office of Electricity’s Microgrid R&D Program, which seeks to meet the evolving needs of microgrids and their interconnection to the distribution system.
The report can be found in the Sandia Renewable Energy and Distributed Systems Integration web page. Or, you can download the Microgrid Protection Report directly.