Texas microgrid to integrate nine DG sources with storage

The growth of microgrid deployment in the U.S. continues apace, with the latest project seeing a range of DG technologies coupled with smart grid technology and storage. Network operator Oncor turned to microgrid technology to enhance reliability to users in the Dallas area. Oncor has labeled the project the “most advanced microgrid in North America.”

Four interconnected microgrids have been integrated with two solar PV arrays, a propane microturbine, five generators and two energy storage units on the Oncor project. The system is managed in a Microgrid and Technology Demonstration and Education Center, in Lancaster, Texas.

The companies say the microgrids can operate independently or as one larger microgrid. The project was unveiled today and will be on display to attendees of the Third National Microgrids Conference being held next week in Dallas, Texas. The market for microgrids has been forecast to takeoff in 2015.

“Improving power reliability and optimizing generation assets requires disruptive technologies that allow customers to work on and off the grid,” says David Chiesa, director, Microgrid Business Development, S&C. “Oncor’s microgrid is showing the world how utilities can help their communities in the future.”

The microgrid has been designed to operate as autonomously as possible. S&C has deployed a range of grid intelligence and communication technologies on the project including its IntelliRupter PulseCloser technology, which can detect an interruption in power supply on the grid and can then island it. S&C’s Scada-Mate CX Switeches and Vista underground distribution switchgear can then reconfigure the distribution system to alternative DG sources to maintain supply.

The 200 kW in on-grid storage plays a central role in the microgrid project. The storage units they can intelligently monitor and then control microgrid frequency and will respond first in the event of a loss of power. It also allows for renewable sources to be favored, reducing the need for thermal generation.

Schneider Electric has provided load preservation systems and demand side management capabilities. Schnieder’s PowerLogic and StruxureWare Demand Side Operations (DSO) system will allow the renewable generation to be utilized most effectively, while drawing of market pricing signals, weather forecasts, historical electricity usage data and real time inputs to do so, while minimizing storage costs.

“By combining S&C’s solutions with Schneider Electric’s PowerLogic load preservation system, microgrid controller and DSO, I am confident that Oncor’s system is one of the most advanced and comprehensive microgrids in the market today,” said Philip Barton, Microgrid Program Director of Schneider Electric.

The project was realized in six months. A video outlining the project can be accessed here.