Local network security in the age of microgrids and distributed generation.
Dr. Bijoy Chatt is a Director with Navigant. Ken Horne, also at Navigant, is an Associate Director. This article is based on a presentation made at a Power system conference at Clemson University, in 2013. the authors acknowledge sole responsibility for the content of the article.
Investments in distributed generation (DG) and microgrids are widely reported to be in growth mode. Electricity customers and communities alike have been quick to embrace these new opportunities, and have turned to DG and microgrids to seek supply reliability solutions and other benefits. The economic benefits of DG are realized by combinations of reducing energy costs for consumers, improving supply reliability and also by deferring investment in transmission and distribution systems as a result of its proximity to load centers. Furthermore, emission reductions make a compelling argument for higher penetration of DG.
Yet these higher levels of grid-connected microgrids also bring new challenges for the safe operation of the distribution network. That's because DG operators will continue to value the power supplied from the larger grid to which they remain connected - even as they prepare to operate independently by islanding DG systems from the grid on occasions when it is favorable to do so.