Microgrids that integrate renewable resources and meet local user needs can be the building blocks of a more efficient, effective electricity system. Testbed Analytics for Renewable Microgrid Systems will show us the way to bring these systems online.
Microgrids are small-scale versions of the centralized electricity grid, designed to respond to the needs and priorities of local communities of users. Community goals might be to ensure reliability, curb carbon emissions, reduce costs, or introduce more renewable energy — a smart, local microgrid that generates, distributes, and regulates the flow of electricity to consumers can help meet these goals.
i4Energy researchers are developing testbeds to optimize the design, deployment, and operation of microgrids for generating energy from renewable sources. They are analyzing and designing the interfaces to connect utility companies and local microgrids (the energy suppliers) and consumers (the energy demand). The testbeds examine renewable-energy generation (such as solar arrays and wind turbines), storage, conversion, and monitoring (via weather stations, solar radiometers and system testing, wind anemometers, and data loggers).
The project is assessing how microgrids will function as a critical part of our electricity system, and how they might spur more energy-efficient, participatory consumer behavior over time.