The US Department of Energy (DOE) is working on six strategies to make microgrids “essential building blocks” of future electric delivery.
The strategies are explained in a series of draft white papers being floated by the Office of Electricity Microgrids R&D (MGRD) Program.
With the intent to ultimately create a microgrid road map, the DOE is seeking comment from the public on the white papers by Nov. 24.
The first paper, an overview of the strategy, says that distributed energy resources (DERs) may make up 30%-50% of electricity generation capacity in 10 years, up from 15% today.
That many DERs cannot readily be integrated into the existing grid, which is based on centralized architectures. Microgrids, however, can help.
“One option to effectively integrate the increasing number of distributed assets, while simultaneously increasing reliability and resilience, is to use microgrids as a fundamental building block of system planning and operations,” the paper said.
With the overarching goal of improving energy resilience, decarbonization and cost reduction, microgrids will operate in various control architectures to support the bulk power grid, achieve local economic and operational objectives, and support critical end-use loads where the grid is not available, the paper said.
At this point the impact of microgrids is still small. They make up 0.2% of electricity. But they experienced significant growth in recent years — from relatively flat growth in 2013-2016 to growth of 62%-68% per year from 2016-2019, according to the paper. Citing Guidehouse, the paper said global microgrid capacity is expected to reach 19,888.8 MW by 2028, up from 3,480.5 MW in 2019.
The white papers look at the gaps and opportunities for the technology with a 10-year timeframe. The papers and their lead authors are:
- Summer Ferreira, Sandia National Laboratories
- Murali Baggu, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Kevin Schneider, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Karthikeyan Balasubramaniam, Argonne National Laboratory
- Chen-Ching Liu, Virginia Tech
- Madhu Chinthavali, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Rob Hovsapian, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Vaibhav Donde, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- Annabelle Pratt, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Ben Ollis, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Matt Reno, Sandia National Laboratories
- Russell Bent, Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Ravindra Singh, Argonne National Laboratory
- Robert Jeffers, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Owen Zinaman, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Joseph Eto, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Comments on the papers can be submitted to Dan Ton, program manager of MGRD, [email protected].