Effect of Heat and Electricity Storage and Reliability on Microgrid Viability: A Study of Commercial Buildings in California and New York States

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Berkeley Lab has for several years been developing methods for selection of optimal microgrid systems, especially for commercial building applications, and applying these methods in the Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM). This project began with 3 major goals:

  1. to conduct detailed analysis to find the optimal equipment combination for microgrids at a few promising commercial building hosts in the two favorable markets of California and New York,
  2. to extend the analysis capability of DER-CAM to include both heat and electricity storage, and
  3. to make an initial effort towards adding consideration of power quality and reliability (PQR) to the capabilities of DER-CAM.

All of these objectives have been pursued via analysis of the attractiveness of a Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS) Microgrid consisting of multiple nameplate 100 kW Tecogen Premium Power Modules (CM-100). This unit consists of an asynchronous inverter-based variable speed internal combustion engine genset with combined heat and power (CHP) and power surge capability. The essence of CERTS Microgrid technology is that smarts added to the on-board power electronics of any microgrid device enables stable and safe islanded operation without the need for complex fast supervisory controls. This approach allows plug and play development of a microgrid that can potentially provide high PQR with a minimum of specialized site-specific engineering. A notable feature of the CM-100 is its time-limited surge rating of 125 kW, and DER-CAM capability to model this feature was also a necessary model enhancement.

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