Microgrid deployment has enabled large power users such as communities, colleges, and commercial and industrial (C&I) businesses, and facility owners to take complete control of their power supply. Highly disruptive outages, fluctuating energy prices, and increasing consumer demand for green energy has resulted in the emergence of microgrids as a viable solution for meeting these diverse business needs.

To achieve the operational objectives of a microgrid owner, there are numerous optimization strategies a microgrid can take. This blog will highlight a few strategies to help you determine which microgrid strategy is right for you.

Microgrid Strategies

Resource Optimization Strategy

In this strategy, resources are scheduled and dispatched to minimize the operational cost of a microgrid. This extends equipment life, reduces replacement and maintenance costs along with controls that manage the equipment at maximum efficiency levels. Some optimized resources include natural gas reciprocating engines, steam/gas turbines or combined cycle turbines, solar, wind, and a variety of energy storage systems along with purchases from the utility and dispatchable loads.

Resource and CHP Optimization Strategy

A few microgrids have Combined Heat and Power (CHP) or Combined Cooling, Heat and Power (CCHP) facilities. They make use of the thermal energy of exhaust gas from combustion of fuels like natural gas, petrol, gasoline, or diesel for heating and/or cooling purposes. It is essential that the resource optimization considers the constraints imposed by the CHP/CCHP, which puts limits on the resource or asset to respect the heat requirements for the CHP/CCHP system.

Utility Program Participation Strategy

In this strategy, a microgrid exposes itself as a resource for participation in a utility program like Demand Response (DR). The microgrid acts as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) and responds to control signals to change its generation within the maximum and minimum limits.

Electricity Market Participation Strategy

Similar to the Utility Program Participation Strategy, the microgrid exposes itself as a VPP participating in an electricity market by providing energy or ancillary services. Again, the services are offered within the maximum and the minimum limits.

How Would a Microgrid Management Software Benefit Your Business?

In order to successfully implement these optimization strategies and achieve business objectives, a microgrid must balance onsite energy generation and demand in a cost-efficient manner while prioritizing critical loads. Microgrid management software solutions, like GridMind™ — an OATI flagship solution — can help facility owners achieve the following business goals:

Increased Reliability

Microgrids can optimally balance generation and load to ensure acceptable power quality to the critical infrastructure while minimizing any productivity losses.

Higher Resiliency

In the event of an outage, the microgrid has the ability to operate in the “islanded” mode. It provides seamless islanding, and in some situations, help restore the electric grid.

Improved Economics

The overall cost of meeting microgrid load is minimized by optimization algorithms. These include the cost of purchases and sales to and from the utility or adjacent microgrids.

Reduced Carbon Emissions

Microgrids can target higher uses of renewable generation sources, like solar PV and wind turbines, while reducing non-critical loads. This produces green energy and reduces carbon emissions.

Determining which microgrid strategy is right for your business can be a daunting prospect. USA Microgrids Inc. (USA MG) can help. By offering a full range of services from feasibility studies to planning, designing, building, operating, and maintenance of a microgrid, USA MG makes the development and/or ownership of a microgrid to be fully hassle-free.

To find out how USA MG can help you achieve the microgrid strategy that is right for you, please contact Info@USAMicrogrids@oati.net.