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Smart Mini-Grid: An intelligent way to distribute clean energy
TERI has designed, developed, and demonstrated the country's first-of-its-kind Smart Mini-Grid system. The objective is to optimally use smarter control of distributed energy sources combined with intelligent management of loads to improve the efficiency and reliability of the overall mini-grid system. The Smart Mini-Grid, built with the support of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), was recently inaugurated at the TERI Retreat in Gual Pahari, Gurgaon.
A Smart Mini-Grid has greater resilience to loading as compared to the conventional grid system. It is marked by power flow through multiple routes, a feature common to the conventional grid system. However, unlike the conventional grid system, it is designed to avoid cascade tripping of network elements.
The system also has the capability to respond automatically to network problems and minimize network disruptions. It can anticipate and respond to system network problems and avoid or mitigate power outages, power quality problems, and service disruptions using real-time information from embedded sensors and automated controls. The grid is also equipped with a self healing system that enables it to rapidly detect, analyze, respond to power disturbances and restore power supply.
The TERI Smart Mini-Grid facility combines the following distributed generation resources--3.3 kWp wind generator, 1 kWp thin-film solar PV, 12.5 kW solar PV, 100 kWe biomass gasifier, 600 Ah, 48 V storage battery, and a diesel generator. The diesel generator has been added to the system to meet the intermittency of the renewable resources and hence ensure reliable power supply.
Such Smart Mini-Grid systems have great potential, not only in commercial and industrial complexes, but also in hospitals, shopping malls, apartments, residential complexes, educational institutions, remote un-electrified as well as electrified locations to ensure maximum flexibility, reliability, and safety with enhanced efficiency of the overall system.
The Smart Mini-Grid can provide solutions to problems of energy security, sustainability, and ensure reliable quality power. It can be used to strengthen the country's electricity sector and enhance the performance of rural electricity supply systems. This system enhances energy efficiency and offers maximum reliability flexibility, safety etc. in the overall electricity distribution network. Large-scale implementation of such systems will go a long way in meeting the energy needs of the country. It can also be integrated with the existing programmes of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) such as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission as well as the national rural electrification programme.
- To develop and demonstrate distributed generation based smart mini-grid models and control techniques which would be applicable to Indian sites/conditions;
- To demonstrate how smarter control of distributed energy sources combined with intelligent management of loads can improve both efficiency and reliability of the overall mini-grid system.
- Variable loads which are connected to the distribution grid;
- Diverse range of small, local generators based on distributed energy resources, for example, solar, wind energy, storage system; and
- Control and power conditioning systems.
- Foster demand side management & response;
- Reduce power outages, increasing reliability, efficiency, and safety;
- Reduce carbon footprint and minimize fossil fuel consumption
- Provide customers autonomy to manage their electricity needs.
- Integration of multiple DERs, ensuring maximum utilization of renewable energy sources;
- Resource and load profiling, controlling, and forecasting;
- Centralized control (Smart Hybrid Controller/Intelligent Dispatch Controller) for resource optimization and demand management;
- Load prioritization;
- Integrated, high-speed, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) -based digital communication on LabVIEW (a software platform for acquiring data and sending and receiving controls) platform;
- Real-time data acquisition and monitoring of thousands of electrical and physical signals;
- Minimized outages and fast response to network disturbances through automatic connect/disconnected of system components.