A microgrid is a localized group of electricity sources and loads that can operate autonomously. A microgrid normally operates connected to and synchronous with the traditional centralized grid, but a microgrid can disconnect and function independently as needed. It can be powered by distributed generators, batteries or renewable resources.
INL has experience designing microgrids that integrate wind or solar resources with the right storage option. The result: a system of variable resources that is both flexible and manageable. INL’s 100 kW microgrid test bed includes “smart house” components such as home appliances that can dynamically adjust their electricity demand.
Military bases require reliable power with backup systems in case the primary grid is interrupted. However, as bases incorporate renewable sources such as wind and solar, the resulting swings in diesel generator usage can shorten the generator’s life span.
Such bases look to INL’s research for solutions. The lab has expertise in renewable resource assessment, grid integration and resilient power systems, and we welcome the opportunity to move those concepts from the lab setting to real-world demonstrations.