Clarkson University Wins $1M to Develop Microgrid Scheduler

Sept. 15, 2015
The National Science Foundation has awarded Clarkson University $999,720 to develop a smart microgrid scheduler, which the college plans to use in a Potsdam, NY microgrid.

Potsdam, NY
Credit: John Marino

The National Science Foundation has awarded Clarkson University $999,720 to develop a smart microgrid scheduler, which the college plans to use in a Potsdam, NY microgrid.

The microgrid scheduler will coordinate with the microgrid operator and the local disaster response team to maximize the microgrid’s performance during the time of disaster recovery.

“The microgrid must operate successfully disconnected from the grid for two weeks or more in catastrophic situations where the level of damage is unanticipated and the microgrid itself has experienced reduced capability,” said Tom Ortmeyer,  a Clarkson professor of electrical & computer engineering and the project’s principal investigator. “The smart scheduler must become an integral part of the team that responds rapidly and effectively to ever-changing capability and demands.”

Clarkson is teaming to build an underground microgrid in Potsdam, a town near the Canadian border, with several partners, among them GE Global Research, GE Energy Consulting, local utility National Grid, and the Department of Energy.

Separately, the Potsdam project last year won a $1.2 million grant from the DOE, $300,000 from GE, and $381,000 for design from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

National Grid would own the underground distribution network that is the backbone of the microgrid.

“The grant will go a long way to promote our partnership with Clarkson and to provide our customers and the community with a next generation solution to an old dilemma,” said Ed White, vice president of National Grid’s New Energy Solutions team.

The Electric Power Research Institute is the  primary R&D collaborator for the microgrid scheduler project, and will provide assistance with project design, data collection and expert analysis.

“Successfully performing microgrids, such as those in industrial parks, hospitals or Army bases, are critical to large-scale outage restoration after a dramatic event,” said Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery and utilization at EPRI. “Microgrids also provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate new technology and test reliability, affordability and efficiency, the core components of an integrated, smart electric grid.”

The grant is part of a $10 million investment that the National Science Foundation has made in innovative new partnership projects to create service systems that are smart and human-centric.

Track microgrid grants by following Microgrid Knowledge on Twitter @MicrogridNews.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

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