Microgrid technology is an alternative to the central grid for the electrification of India. Microgrids offer a host of technical advantages, including reduced transmission losses, limited upfront capital expenditure, and the ability to accommodate on site, renewable generation. However, there are still substantial barriers to communities acquiring this technology.
Currently microgrids in the developing world are often installed as independent, stand-alone systems. Due to the intermittent nature of renewable power, microgrids either require a large storage system (and therefore are quite expensive) or suffer from a lack of reliability. Given these circumstances, microgrids today are often not cost competitive with centralized power generation.
In this project we address inefficiencies in islanded microgrids by developing a distributed architecture for the interconnection of microgrids. We are designing an optimization-based control system to maximize reliability across an entire network of microgrids. By employing both local scheduling decisions as well as an energy sharing option, we can allow microgrids to take advantage of their flexibility and share excess supply across a larger system. This would smooth supply-demand imbalances, lead to more efficient use of energy, and reduce capital costs, ultimately making microgrids a more feasible energy solution in the developing world.