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Unformatted text preview: Developing Efficient Urban Electrical Systems Using Microgrids Michael Gahagan, Oracle Introduction With the advent of new technology in the areas of electric vehicles and battery storage, the electric utility will face a complex and daunting challenge in everyday management of the overall electricity grid. Electrical charging of these new devices will strain a utility’s ability to reliably and cost-effectively operate the electrical network. One possible solution to their dilemma is the insertion of a new system that can operate a geographical area of the utility’s distribution area in concert with other such systems functioning similarly in other parts of the larger utility operations. These smaller localized operational areas are “microgrids,” and the new localized systems are “microgrid controllers.” Microgrids are autonomous electricity environments that operate within a larger electric utility grid. The concept is not new. For years, chemical plants, refineries, military installations and other large facilities have had the ability to generate and manager their own electricity needs while, in addition, remaining connected to centrally located generation for supplemental needs. Today, the promise of mass-produced electric vehicles and of affordable, locally produced, distributed energy resources is encouraging expansion of the microgrid concept. Such “micro” operation within an electric utility has the potential to revolutionize urban electricity grids, permitting local use of generation from distributed renewables (especially solar rooftops and residential wind generation), and thus increasing efficiency and environmental sustainability. Background The Development of Centralized Generation The beginning of the 20 th Century saw the advent to electrical consumption on a significant scale. It developed as “pockets” of consumers connected by wires to electric dynamos (basic electricity generators). Initially, small direct current (DC) electrical generators served the various pockets of new electricity customers. The reason for these “local” installations was to avoid the large losses that occurred as the demand became more distant geographically from the actual generator. Wiring these pockets together led to the birth of the electric utility. Problems started to arise, however, as utilities strung more overhead wires to reach new electricity customers. Eventually, the maze of wires reached unmanageable proportions. A new approach was needed that could sustain the explosive growth. And one emerged: the alternating current transformer, which permitted utilities to locate generators remotely. • Alternating current and remote generation rapidly became the predominant form of the electric utility because this model solved such problems as: • Too many overhead wires in urban areas....
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This note was uploaded on 11/21/2011 for the course MICROGRID 100 taught by Professor P during the Spring '11 term at Pierce College.
- Spring '11