IEEE Electrification Magazine - March 2015 - 52

technical challenges when integrated to a distribution network as they produce a variable amount of energy. Seamless
integration of these resources may only be accomplished
through the implementation of mitigation measures. Utilities may need to upgrade their distribution network, use
advanced volt-var control practices, smart inverters, or energy storage to address the rapid deployment of renewable
energy resources. Community microgrids use the coordinated control of a combination of dispatchable DGs, DES, and
controllable loads to "smooth down" the intermittent output
of renewable energy resources. This allows for increased
penetration of renewable energy and diversification of
resources, enables utilities to meet the goals set by the
Renewable Portfolio Standards, and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Figure 4).

Reduced Costs of Recurring System Upgrades
As the demand for electricity increases, today's power system must be reinforced by the addition of new generation,
transmission, and distribution facilities. Community
microgrids deploy DERs to supply local loads, including conventional and renewable DGs and DES, and implement load
control to facilitate local grid management. Therefore, while
operating in interconnected mode, the additional generating
capacity from community microgrids decreases the average
and peak T&D system loading, effectively deferring capacity
increase or generation investments. This benefit, however, is
contingent upon a large penetration of microgrids in
distribution networks, which could accordingly contribute to
mitigate T&D congestion issues. Community microgrids can
also provide utilities with additional operational flexibility
(increased reserve) to handle load transfers during restoration or system reconfiguration. These technical and
economic aspects need to be carefully evaluated when considering microgrid deployment as part of system expansion
plans, along with investments in conventional T&D and generation infrastructures.

Energy Efficiency
Community microgrids could help improve overall energy
efficiency by reducing T&D losses and allowing the implementation of optimal load control and resource dispatch.
The former is a direct consequence of supplying consumer

loads with local generating facilities, and the latter can be
accomplished by intelligent control and dispatch of consumer loads. For instance, the microgrid controller could
interact with consumer controllers to curtail or dispatch
loads to accomplish the overall system efficiency goals.
Similarly, this objective could be adjusted to respond to the
real-time price, operational security, power quality, or reliability signals. Evidently, this requires having the adequate
regulatory framework and consumer incentives in place.

Power Quality
Consumers' needs for higher power quality have significantly increased during the past decade due to the growing application of voltage-sensitive loads, including a large
number and variety of electronic loads and light-emitting
diodes. Utilities are always seeking efficient ways of
improving power quality issues by addressing prevailing
concerns stemmed from harmonics and voltage. Community microgrids provide a quick and efficient answer for
addressing power quality needs by enabling local control
of the frequency, voltage, and load, and a rapid response
from the DES.

Lowered Energy Costs
Financial incentives offered to consumers within a community microgrid who would consider load scheduling
strategies according to electricity prices and benefit from
locally generated power is a significant driver in the economic deployment of a microgrid. Although it is still more economical to purchase power from the utility, microgrids could
provide benefits by reducing T&D costs. The reduced energy
costs would impact each individual consumer within the
community microgrid. However, the microgrid local generation not only has the potential to lower energy costs for local
consumers (which will be more significant as DG technologies become less expensive) but it could also potentially
benefit the entire system by reducing the T&D networks'
congestion levels (when the community microgrids penetration is high) and enabling a more economic dispatch of
available energy resources in the utility grid.

community Microgrid Deployment
Components

Figure 4. Community microgrids enable the integration of renewable
energy resources to distribution networks for reaching environmental
targets.

52

I E E E E l e c t r i f i c ati o n M agaz ine / March 2015

The main microgrid components include loads, local DGs,
DES, smart switches and protective devices, communication,
control and automation systems, and a master controller.
Microgrid loads are categorized into two types-fixed
and adjustable. The fixed loads cannot be altered and
must be satisfied under normal operating conditions. The
adjustable loads, however, are responsive to controlling
signals from a local controller or the microgrid master
controller. The adjustable loads could be curtailed (i.e., curtailable loads) or deferred (i.e., shiftable loads) in response
to economic incentives or islanding requirements. Community microgrid loads could also be categorized into two



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