dimensional, with information flowing among a subset of microgrid
devices enabling distributed energy.
The main benefits of microgrids are to improve the coordination of
distributed energy resources within its grid footprint, minimizing the
impact to the rest of the energy system, typically:
• Ensuring service continuity to its end user during grid outages.
• Deferring capital investments on peak generation and grid assets.
• Providing services to the grid during synchronized operation.
• Minimizing its end user community environmental impact.
NiceGrid is one of the six smart grid projects of the Grid4EU program
led by ERDF, EDF, and GE Grid. It consists of a Microgrid located in the
municipality of Carros, in the Southeast region of France. The project is
designed to test an innovative architecture for medium and low voltage
distribution microgrids with high penetration of distributed residential
scale PV connecting together with demand response.
More than 1,500 residential, commercial, and industrial end users are
participating in this microgrid project initiative. The project was started
four years ago and is planned to be a living laboratory for the region. It is
designed to assess the economic and technical feasibility of microgrids and
to study the social acceptance of the end user community.
Sally Jacquemin, Microgrid Business Manager,
As the demands we place on our power systems continue to evolve
Siemens Digital Grid
The traditional power system delivers electricity
using the utility distribution grid. If for some reason,
The microgrid leverages on-site generation and automated control
technology to ensure that power remains on for select geographic areas
and high priority loads during the loss of grid power (the functionality we
call “islanding”). Additionally, the microgrid oftentimes utilizes renewable
energy such as solar as part of the onsite generating assets, so communities
can reduce their carbon footprint by using more green power.
whether in relation to increased renewable generation, wider fluctuations
in demand, or how we ride through catastrophic weather events, our grids
need to adapt. In that context, microgrid solutions are complementary
pieces to the evolving grid, representing the application of emerging
technology to the demands of the 21st century.
Microgrids may not be wide-spread today, but we believe they will
be a cornerstone of the power systems of tomorrow. Siemens is already
working with communities across the U.S. to help plan for and implement
microgrid technologies. In northern California, Siemens is partnering with
Native American reservation Blue Lake Rancheria and Humboldt University
to install a low-carbon microgrid to power the 100-acre region.
Siemens microgrid management software will manage and control the
on-site energy resources including a solar photovoltaic installation, battery
storage, and a biomass fuel cell system so the reservation is able to provide
residents and business with reliable, high-quality power. Siemens has also
been chosen by 18 communities throughout New York State to help them
study the feasibility of installing community microgrids.
In the Product Design & Development Brainstorm we talk with industry leaders to get their
perspective on issues critical to the design engineering marketplace. In this issue, we ask:
How can microgrids help mitigate grid disturbance and advance the nation’s energy system?
Michael Burr, Director, Microgrid Institute
Microgrids allow local customers to take
control of their own energy systems, providing
technology tools to reduce dependence on
centralized utility systems that are inherently
vulnerable to many types of threats – from bad
weather to terrorism.
Most microgrids are designed and operated for the purpose of
ensuring resilient energy supplies for a defined set of customers.
Accordingly, microgrids can help mitigate grid disturbances by
maintaining energy supplies for critical facilities and services.
Community microgrids, for example, can ensure continued operation
of first-response facilities, hospitals, public shelters, and even grocery
stores and gas stations during extended outages.
Microgrids can maintain both thermal and electric energy
supplies, strengthening overall resilience rather than just resilient
electricity supplies. Additionally, if they are designed and deployed
properly, microgrids can be used to help maintain grid stability by
responding to utilities’ or system operators’ calls for demand response
or generation supplies. Advanced microgrid control systems allow
coordinated control of many energy resources, allowing for virtual
power plant capabilities and ancillary services that utilities can use to
improve power quality and reliability.
Microgrids advance the nation’s energy system in several ways.
Most notably, microgrids offer new technology and service choices
for customers. Microgrids are designed and operated to meet the
specific needs of specific customers – as contrasted with the utility
grid, which is designed to deliver a generic service to all ratepayers.
Microgrids make it possible for communities to tap into local
energy resources to achieve multiple benefits, such as strengthened
resilience, greater reliance on local renewable energy, and retaining
energy dollars in the local economy.
By optimizing energy consumption to match available local
resources, microgrids can reduce customers’ overall energy costs
and environmental footprint. Additionally, microgrid control systems
advance the state-of-the-art in smart grid technology, allowing
balanced operation of smaller and smaller energy systems with
variable resources. Microgrid control technologies ultimately could
revolutionize the integrated utility grid by allowing intelligent
management of a fractal self-healing architecture.
Laurent Schmitt, Smart Grid Strategy Leader,
GE Grid Solutions
Microgrids are a fundamental component in
enabling today’s electricity grid modernization to
address growing demand, distributed generation,
With distributed energy resources expanding at grid edge,
microgrid coordination requires communication to become multi-