How to build a renewable microgrid

What is a renewable hybrid system or microgrid, and why is long-duration energy storage a key component?

What is a microgrid?

Microgrids can combine renewable energy with diesel or gas generator sets, and energy storage capabilities that deliver clean and affordable electricity to locations with limited or no access to reliable power.

A typical microgrid

• Operates independently

• Uses its own power generation

• Connects & communicates with generation components: grid, solar, wind, hydro, diesel generators, & energy storage systems (ESS)

How big is a microgrid?

Microgrid systems can vary in size, catering for projects between 100kW to 1GW and beyond.

Why develop a microgrid?

Many businesses and communities around the world today don’t have a sustainable, dependable, and cost-effcient supply of energy. Whether connected to an unreliable grid or located in a remote area with no access, it’s diffcult to develop and grow without stable access to electricity.

In many parts of the world, countries are contending with a power crunch. Demand continues to rise, while consumers feel the effect of soaring global energy prices, supply chain disruption, and an increased risk of power outages and interruptions – both due to climate and weather disasters like wildfires, or a mismatch in demand and supply capacity. The infrastructure societies have relied upon for decades is struggling to cope, and oftentimes grid owners and electricity producers push the problem to the end user, which results in high electricity prices.

Reducing the impact of these issues by strengthening the grid is not straightforward. With huge investment required to re-build infrastructure and rising interest rates, securing the funding for grid improvements or large-scale developments is a challenge.

End users require decentralised renewable energy, and stable and predictable costs. This has led stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to consider microgrids as a viable alternative. Offering flexibility and security for those without a reliable grid-based energy supply, and an expensive petroleum back-up such as diesel, microgrids incorporating renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydro, enable users to gain clean energy independence, by achieving:

• Reduced energy costs
• Increased potential to reach sustainability targets
• Facility to hedge energy prices
• Potential for net-zero carbon emission facilities

Why is LDES an important part of your microgrid?

Use of renewable energy sources will continue to rise and be incorporated into energy systems, including microgrids. With new streams of energy being introduced, it is important to align production and consumption. In long-duration energy storage (LDES), society has the technology that provides balance and meets a growing need for 8-to-18-hour flexibility to close the full day cycle, providing clean power whenever it’s needed, whether as part of a microgrid or larger scope energy system.

LDES can be scaled economically to sustain electricity provision for multiple hours, days, or even weeks. Long-duration solutions complement short-duration storage, fulfilling flexibility needs beyond solutions such as batteries – which aim to provide power for storage with fast response and short-term use – and delivering flexible and reliable clean energy for longer periods of time.

Long-duration energy storage

Azelio’s technology can be deployed in a microgrid system together with other renewable technologies such as batteries, providing an ideal solution for energy needs exceeding 4-6 hours and projects of up to 100 MW

Read more about long-duration energy storage

RISE Institute Life Cycle Analysis

When analysing environmental imapct (CO2e) Azelio’s solution is 29% cleaner than batteries and 96% cleaner diesel gensets.

Azelio’s TES.POD vs. lithium-ion batteries and diesel generators. Delivering electric power for 13 hours every day, for 25 years. Life Cycle Analysis by RISE Institute, 2020.

Read more about the life cycle analysis

Constructing a renewable microgrid

Another way to look at a renewable microgrid is as a collection of loads powered locally by Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as solar or wind, instead of a centralised authority or the national grid.

Each component can be controlled independently, isolating and reducing faults, and adding system resiliency. With the help of energy storage, operators can actively control the microgrid power balance to ensure stability.

Essential terms – a glossary of the terms associated with renewable microgrids

AC – Alternating Current
ACCB – AC Circuit Breakers
ACE – Area Control Error
AGC – Automatic Generation Control
ANSI – American National Standards Institute
BBC – Bidirectional Battery Charger
BEV – Battery Electric Vehicle
CC – Constant Current
CCGT – Combined Cycle Gas Turbine
CGU – Conventional Generating Unit
CHP – Combined Heat and Power
CP – Constant Power
CV – Constant Voltage
DC – Direct Current
DER – Distributed Energy Resources
DG – Distributed Generation
DMS – Distribution Management System
DOD – Depth of Discharge
DSM – Demand Side Management
DSO – Distribution System Operator
EMS – Energy Management System
ESP – Energy Service Provider
ESS – Energy Storage System
FC – Fuel Cell
GHG – Greenhouse Gas
HPS – Hybrid Power System
HV – High Voltage
IBDC – Isolated Bidirectional DC-DC Converter
ICE – Internal Combustion Engine
ISO – Independent System Operator
LC – Local Controller
LFC – Load Frequency Control
LV – Low Voltage
LVDC – Low Voltage DC
MAC – Maximum Allowed Current
MG – Microgrid
MV – Medium Voltage
OC – Over Current
O&M – Operation & Maintenance
PCC – Point of Common Coupling
PLS – Power Line Signaling
PEI – Power Electronic Interface
PEV – Plug-in Electric Vehicle
PFC – Primary Frequency Control
PU – Per Unit
RES – Renewable Energy Sources
SA – Sensitivity Analysis
SC – Super Capacitor
SCC – Short Circuit Current
SOC – State of Charge
SS – Storage Systems
THD – Total Harmonic Distortion
TSO – Transmission System Operator
UBC – Unidirectional Battery Charger
UFLS – Under Frequency Load Shedding
VPP – Virtual Power Plant
VSI – Voltage Source Inverter

TES.POD as part of a renewable microgrid

The below example illustrates how TES.POD long-duration energy storage can work in combination with solar PV in a renewable microgrid system.

Learn about Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

Azelio is a Swedish cleantech company. We have developed an ingenious long duration energy storage technology, providing dispatchable electricity and usable heat for all hours of the day – with zero emissions and at a very competitive cost.

www.azelio.com is using green hosting

Contact information

Azelio
Lindholmsplatsen 1
417 56 Gothenburg
Sweden

Phone: +46 532 100 20

Email: info@azelio.com

© Azelio 2022