A microgrid is a localized group of electricity sources and loads that normally operates connected to and synchronous with the traditional wide area synchronous grid (macrogrid), but can also disconnect to “island mode” — and function autonomously as physical or economic conditions dictate.
In this way, a microgrid can effectively integrate various sources of distributed generation (DG), especially Renewable Energy Sources (RES) – renewable electricity, and can supply emergency power, changing between island and connected modes.
Control and protection are challenges to microgrids. A very important feature is also to provide multiple end-use needs as heating, cooling, and electricity at the same time since this allows energy carrier substitution and increased energy efficiency due to waste heat utilization for heating, domestic hot water, and cooling purposes (cross sectoral energy usage).
The United States Department of Energy Microgrid Exchange Group defines a microgrid as a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources (DERs) within clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid. A microgrid can connect and disconnect from the grid to enable it to operate in both connected or island-mode.
The EU research project describes a microgrid as comprising Low-Voltage (LV) distribution systems with distributed energy resources (DERs) (microturbines, fuel cells, photovoltaics (PV), etc.), storage devices (batteries, flywheels) energy storage system and flexible loads. Such systems can operate either connected or disconnected from the main grid. The operation of microsources in the network can provide benefits to the overall system performance, if managed and coordinated efficiently.
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