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Microgrid Clusters

The use of distributed generation (DG) units including renewable energy resources is becoming common and necessary due to worldwide green energy legislations and proposals. In this regard, the microgrid (MG) concept has appeared as a solution for the management in a controlled manner of DG units, including beneficial special operating characteristics; however, bottlenecks within microgrid technologies are mainly due to conventional way of conceiving electrical engineering, which is being breaking with the incorporation of information and communication technologies and artificial intelligence to this discipline. It is shown that by using such approaches, communication burden can be reduced while increasing system adaptability and flexibility. Therefore, a different research approach should be developed by investigating new and advanced tools and models to develop planning, operation and services of microgrid clusters towards the next smart grid requirements.

Microgrid Clusters Framework

MGlab Clusters

On the other hand, recent standards indicate that scalability, such as the expansion or the interconnection among MGs, have to be evaluated, and even for isolated MGs the future integration with the main grid has to be considered. In this way, the concept of multi-microgrids or microgrid cluster starts to play an important role for the MGs future development; this concept is related to higher level structures formed not only in low-voltage (LV) level but in medium-voltage (MV) level or a combination of both, i.e., the possibility of having several MGs connected through LV and MV feeders. In order to plan microgrid clusters, two level planning is necessary: intra-microgrid and cluster levels. The specific approach of the cluster level can be based on conventional power systems analysis or in constructal theories, and especially on bio-inspired algorithms, that have been originated by observing the forms of rivers, trees or lungs, with sizing, siting and operation scheduling purposes for energy generation, storage and distribution equipment. Moreover, application of bio-inspired techniques to specific microgrid/cluster planning scenarios is evaluated in order to select the best approach regarding problem constraints (under different site constraints and goals), and comparing them with different traditional approaches.

As a result, there is a clear gap between the microgrid concept and its potential as a decisive role in the new smart grid paradigm, allowing further investigation and proposal of ideas to embrace both concepts. Therefore, CROM proposes a bottom-up approach in order to conceive future smart grids from the interconnection of multiple microgrids.