Mighty Microgrids: UNLV Team Researching Power Grids of the Future

Although the United States’ electrical grid is an engineering marvel with more than 9,200 electrical producing units connected to more than 600,000 miles of transmission lines, it is quickly running up against its constraints. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy has a vision of a future “smart” electric power facilities, with an objective of creating a more resilient grid through using cutting-edge innovations, devices, and controls that interact and interact to provide electrical energy more dependably and efficiently.

UNLV’s Yahia Baghzouz of the department of electrical and computer system engineering and his college students have produced a small “microgrid,” a localized grid that can detach from the traditional grid to operate autonomously. This mini-grid acts as a test bed to examine the different gadgets that will be needed for the wise grid and technologies that will eventually assist with the combination of renewable resource resources into the grid facilities.

Small But Powerful.

The DOE’s Smart Grid Research and Development Program considers microgrids as a key building block for a smart grid as they can, when needed, function independently of the main electrical infrastructure. In vital times, such as power outages, future “wise” grid might break down into these microgrids, which individually might continue to serve customer needs.

” Microgrids can enhance the grid durability which is becoming increasingly important in the face of the increased frequency and intensity of power blackouts triggered by severe weather condition due to climate modification.” Baghzouz stated.

At UNLV, the group uses the microgrid to evaluate out numerous devices and technologies that will be needed for the smart grid. It also proves an important training school for the electrical engineers and researchers that will assist make the clever grid into a truth.

The engineers have actually currently carried out several experiments using the microgrid, including testing out advanced photovoltaic converters.

” The microgrid allows us to cause genuine, rather than simulated, voltage and frequency disruptions,” Baghzouz said.

In the near future the UNLV engineers plan to add a battery energy storage system to the microgrid generation fleet. They also plan to develop control systems related to financial motorists that use time-of-day rates in some cases in combination with peak-demand charges to figure out when and whether energy is to be returned to or drawn from the grid.

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