NREL provides support for microgrid projects aimed at reducing grid outages

By: InnovatioNews Tuesday December 30, 2014 Tags: Bryan J. Hannegan, DOE, ESIF, General Electric, Golden, microgrids, NREL


GOLDEN - The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is providing critical support for two new microgrid projects coordinated by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and General Electric.

The U.S. Department of Energy - which runs NREL - recently announced more than $8 million in awards for seven microgrid projects to help cities and towns better prepare for extreme weather events and other potential power disruptions.

The two NREL-assisted projects will each receive $1.2 million awards.

Microgrids are localized grids usually connected to the traditional electric grid but that can also disconnect to operate autonomously and help mitigate grid outages.

NREL said it will test microgrid controllers developed by EPRI and GE using its megawatt-scale power hardware-in-the-loop capability, part of NREL's Energy System Integration Facility (ESIF).

The system allows researchers and manufacturers to conduct integration tests at full power and actual load levels in real-time simulations to evaluate component and system performance before going to market.

"Microgrids support a flexible and efficient electric grid, enabling the integration of renewable and distributed energy resources such as wind and solar energy, combined heat and power, energy storage and demand response," said Bryan Hannegan, NREL's associate director of energy systems integration.

"NREL is excited to be working with EPRI and with GFE to accelerate the development of microgrids than can provide a reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supply."

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