The Microgrid Systems Lab can provide a rich range of training, testing, and experimental facilities for in-house projects and other users, including those to be developed at its headquarters site in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and by facilitating relationships with its Members‘ resources.
MSL’s partnership with Santa Fe Community College offers training and educational facilities at the College’s Trades and Advanced Technology Center (TATC), and a training “Nanogrid” powering the Controlled Growing Environment greenhouse. The TATC 45,336 square foot LEED-platinum building was completed in 2011 at a cost of $12 million, and houses SFCC’s Sustainable Technologies Center, offering classes in biofuels, photovoltaics, and energy and building efficiency. The Nanogrid is currently under construction.
Planned facilities include an advanced campus-wide microgrid, now under development; a modeling and simulation environment; offices and meeting rooms; an adjunct research park, to house affiliated businesses and startups; and microgrid testing and validation capabilities.
The testing and validation facilities will be capable of rigorous testing of microgrid components, modules, sub-systems, and complete systems under varying conditions, including climate and environment. As many types of generation as possible will be represented (e.g., solar, wind, biomass, geothermal), with a total capacity estimated at up to 40 megawatts.
Complementing the design for the SFCC testing and validation capabilities, other state-of-the-art facilities are available now via MSL members, as follows:
Center for Emerging Energy Technologies (UNM): CEET’s Mesa del Sol microgrid facility supports many types of research and test-bed functions. Located at the Mesa del Sol mixed commercial-residential development in Albuquerque, New Mexico the fully functioning microgrid was originally created by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), along with the State of New Mexico, Mesa del Sol, Public Service Company of New Mexico, Sandia National Laboratory, and a number of Japanese companies including Shimizu, Toshiba, Tokyo Gas, Mitsubishi, Fuji Electric, Furukawa Battery, and others. It was donated to UNM in 2014 after the conclusion of the initial NEDO R&D agenda.
The system comprises a 50 kW parking lot canopy solar PV system, and a microgrid enclosure containing an 80 kW fuel cell, a 240 kW natural gas-powered generator, a lead-acid battery bank, hot and cold thermal storage, an absorption chiller, and an electric air-cooled chiller for shifting thermal loads. The adjacent area includes PNM’s utility-scale Prosperity Energy Storage Project, along with a number of smart-metered residential buildings and a film production studio with commercial loads, offering future development and experimentation potential.
Sandia National Laboratories:SNL’sDistributed Energy Technology Laboratory(PDF download) is configured as a 480V, 3-phase microgrid with interconnections to the utility grid and to various distributed energy resources including photovoltaic inverters, microturbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engine-generators, and electrical energy storage systems. DETL provides expertise and test support to perform the following functions:
- Grid-connected performance evaluations (e.g., efficiency, distortion, power factor, response to abnormal grid conditions)
- Off-grid (stand-alone) performance evaluations (e.g., transient response, compatibility with various load types, voltage and frequency regulations)
- Specialized tests (e.g., radio-frequency emissions, “non-islanding inverter,” interactions of multiple sources on a common microgrid, surge tolerance)
National Renewable Energy Laboratory: NREL’sEnergy Systems Integration Facility(ESIF) provides laboratory and office space for approximately 200 NREL researchers and support staff. The 182,500 square foot building houses research to overcome challenges related to the interconnection of distributed energy systems and the integration of renewable energy technologies into the electricity grid. Facilities include:
- ESIF’s high performance computer Peregrine, which can do more than a quadrillion calculations per second and is integral to the ESIF’s capabilities.
- An advanced visualization room, with a 16-foot, 3-D-like screen
In addition to ESIF’s research capabilities, industry and utilities will utilize it to demonstrate their new equipment and strategies at megawatt scale.
Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities:LADPU, which provides electricity to Los Alamos County, hosts a $50 million smart- and microgrid demo, developed in collaboration with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, LANL, and a consortium of Japanese manufacturers, including Toshiba, Sharp, NEC, Kyocera, Itochu, and Hitachi. The Los Alamos Smart Community features:
- A 2,800 square foot smart home with smart appliances
- Home and Micro-energy Management Systems (HEMS/MEMS)
- Approximately 1,600 homes with smart meters
- Community-scale PV generation and battery storage, capable of powering (and isolating) an entire circuit
LADPU is an unregulated municipal utility, with considerable flexibility, and these facilities are suitable for various types of testing applications.
The Energy and Resources Institute:TERI’s Smart Controller Lab (SCLab) in Haryana, India, is used to design and develop innovative, cost-effective smart and sustainable distributed power solutions for various applications in vertical domains. SCLab is a testing, evaluation, and research laboratory for distributed power systems and smart controllers; performance assessment of different distributed power systems; and design and development of customized smart solutions and packages for various applications. The lab also acts as knowledge expert to several distributed generation based programme and policies, and develops qualified and field proven professionals through specialized technical training courses and knowledge transfer. Services offered include:
- Testing and long-term performance assessment of different (PV) technologies both in standard lab (indoor) conditions and field (outdoor) environments
- Testing and long-term performance assessment of different battery technologies
- Testing and performance assessment of different inverters
- Testing and assessment of renewable energy based hybrid systems (including Smart Micro/Mini-Grids) under different operating conditions
Key equipment includes a Solar PV Array Simulator, a Grid Simulator, and a Load Emulator.
- MSL’s work is supported by publicly-accessible HPC resources at several of its Member institutions. On-site computing capability will be evaluated as part of the modeling and simulation facilities plan.