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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Important Factors for Early Market Microgrids: Demand Response and Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging

  • Author(s): White, David
  • Advisor(s): Samuelsen, G. Scott
  • et al.

Microgrids are evolving concepts that are growing in interest due to their potential reliability, economic and environmental benefits. As with any new concept, there are many unresolved issues with regards to planning and operation. In particular, demand response (DR) and plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging are viewed as two key components of the future grid and both will likely be active technologies in the microgrid market. However, a better understanding of the economics associated with DR, the impact DR can have on the sizing of distributed energy resource (DER) systems and how to accommodate and price PEV charging is necessary to advance microgrid technologies. This work characterizes building based DR for a model microgrid, calculates the DER systems for a model microgrid under DR through a minimization of total cost, and determines pricing methods for a PEV charging station integrated with an individual building on the model microgrid.

It is shown that DR systems which consist only of HVAC fan reductions provide potential economic benefits to the microgrid through participation in utility DR programs. Additionally, peak shaving DR reduces the size of power generators, however increasing DR capacity does not necessarily lead to further reductions in size. As it currently stands for a microgrid that is an early adopter of PEV charging, current installation costs of PEV charging equipment lead to a system that is not competitive with established commercial charging networks or to gasoline prices for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

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