CERTS Microgrid Laboratory Test Bed - PIER Final Project Report
The objective of the CERTS Microgrid Laboratory Test Bed project was to enhance the ease of integrating small energy sources into a microgrid. The project accomplished this objective by developing and demonstrating three advanced techniques, collectively referred to as the CERTS Microgrid concept, that significantly reduce the level of custom field engineering needed to operate microgrids consisting of small generating sources. The techniques comprising the CERTS Microgrid concept are: 1) a method for effecting automatic and seamless transitions between grid-connected and islanded modes of operation; 2) an approach to electrical protection within the microgrid that does not depend on high fault currents; and 3) a method for microgrid control that achieves voltage and frequency stability under islanded conditions without requiring high-speed communications. The techniques were demonstrated at a full-scale test bed built near Columbus, Ohio and operated by American Electric Power. The testing fully confirmed earlier research that had been conducted initially through analytical simulations, then through laboratory emulations, and finally through factory acceptance testing of individual microgrid components. The islanding and resychronization method met all Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 1547 and power quality requirements. The electrical protections system was able to distinguish between normal and faulted operation. The controls were found to be robust and under all conditions, including difficult motor starts. The results from these test are expected to lead to additional testing of enhancements to the basic techniques at the test bed to improve the business case for microgrid technologies, as well to field demonstrations involving microgrids that involve one or mroe of the CERTS Microgrid concepts.