BY: BAHMAN DARYANIAN, PAUL DATKA AND LAVELLE FREEMAN, GE
Microgrid Feasibility Studies:
Considerations and Lessons Learned
and distribution (T&D) planning/engi-neering, distributed generation siting/
sizing, renewable generation integration,
energy efficiency and demand response,
smart grid/automation, advanced control and communications and energy
management systems—to meet some of
today’s most prevalent energy challenges.
Whether electrifying parts of the world
that have never had electricity before,
providing reliable power for hospitals
and other critical facilities when the grid
is down, enabling greater use of renewable generation like wind and solar or
providing local communities with greater
flexibility in choosing their energy source
and how they use that power, microgrid
solutions are playing an important role in
shaping the utility of the future.
With microgrids continuing to gain
acceptance, many utilities and energy
providers will find themselves weighing
whether the concept is a good fit to meet
their needs and address future challenges.
To help evaluate the benefits and potential
challenges associated with the technolo-
gy, comprehensive microgrid feasibility
studies should be conducted. Well before
a full-fledged study is undertaken, numer-
ous considerations should be considered
to ensure that the evaluation process starts
out in the right direction.
Prior to integrating a microgrid, a number of factors should be considered to
ensure the right system and approach are
used to meet unique application requirements. First, it is important to identify
the main justification or objective driving
the decision to implement a microgrid.
In many instances, increased grid resil-
iency is the primary goal—providing a
redundant power supply for when the
main utility grid is down. Other com-
mon reasons for implementing microgrids
include: increasing power supply reliabil-
ity for isolated, rural or island communi-
ties; reducing power costs and improving
reliability at industrial sites; increasing
energy security and surety at military
today’s hierarchical, centralized system.
With the growing need for reliable, afford-
able, efficient and cleaner energy, the power
industry must grow and adjust to ensure
future needs are met. One approach that is
gaining momentum in the electric power
industry is the use of microgrids to supply
power to a community of customers.
Microgrids are small-scale power grids
that can operate independently or in
conjunction with the main electrical grid.
They bring together diverse engineering