Energy Assurance and Advanced Microgrid Conceptual Design Course

As a follow on to the Microgrids Webinar hosted by Sandia National Laboratories during October Energy Month, we are having a 2-day Microgrids Design Workshop on March 13-14, 2017 at the Pentagon in Washington DC!  Sandia, along with the Tactical Microgrids Standards Consortium, will be providing more detailed training on microgrid design.  

Today’s modern society is highly dependent on the electrical grid and a major outage can have severe consequences. Having a reliable source of power is especially important when it comes to places such as military bases or critical municipal functions where public health and safety depends on electric power for the water and waste water, police and fire fighting, hospitals, and communications systems to operate properly. Although most military bases and municipal functions and infrastructures utilize backup generation at critical mission buildings, failure of these backup generation resources is unfortunately quite common. In many cases, these backup generation resources are poorly maintained and do not start or run properly when required.  Often, they also do not have a sufficient fuel supply to operate for long periods during an extended outage.

U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Events, DOE, 2013.

The issue of designing critical infrastructures to function effectively during an extended outage is a growing concern, as highlighted in the figure below that shows a significant increase in the number of extreme weather outages in the U.S., which have also increased in duration and tripled the number of customers impacted.

Of growing concern is that municipalities and military installations have multiple critical functions or services that are interdependent, such that a loss of power or energy to one facility or service will adversely affect other functions or operations.  For example, loss of power to a water treatment plant for an extended period could reduce the ability to pump water, impacting not only public health, but also firefighting, and water for industrial uses.  Therefore, extended power outages can have cascading impacts and can lead to a devastating chain of impacts to critical services or critical mission functions.

This highlights the importance of considering options to improve the design, operation, and management of the energy infrastructure to minimize the risks and improve the security and resiliency of a community. To address these challenges, Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) developed the Energy Surety Design Methodology (ESDM), a risk-informed, performance-based energy infrastructure evaluation framework to help utilities and municipalities evaluate and design improvements to assure the performance of the electric system to meet critical local needs.  At the core of the framework is setting energy system performance goals within a community or military installation and then conducting risk assessments for various options to identify cost and performance benefits.

One effective approach identified and utilized to enhance energy assurance is advanced microgrids. Advanced microgrids integrate local distributed and renewable energy generation and storage resources onto the local distribution system, and with modern automated controls operate both ‘grid-tied’ and ‘islanded’ as needed to provide high power security, reliability, and resiliency at relatively low cost.  Sandia has developed a 2-day “Energy Assurance and Advanced Microgrid Conceptual Design Course” to provide a basic understanding of energy assurance and advanced microgrid design that includes technical discussions and working example  problems using representative infrastructure and load data.  The course includes:

  • Background information on the topology and operation of electric transmission and distribution systems,
  • Energy assurance issues and design metrics,
  • Information on advanced energy technologies, microgrid components, and tactical and installation advanced microgrid applications,
  • Identifying critical loads and services, design threats and power outage considerations, and setting energy system performance goals, and
  • Step-by-step instructions on microgrid evaluation, analysis, and performance-based design using energy surety metrics.  This includes exercises in evaluating, analyzing, and developing microgrid options, and estimating associated benefits and costs.
  • Information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on implementation of advanced microgrids for tactical and installation applications, including; standards for communication and control, safety and grounding, interconnection and islanding, and permitting, contracting, and construction.

Each student will be given their own 1) 250-page bound course book with background information, discussion papers, and course slides, and 2) 50-page work book with example problems and work sheets, that they can keep for future reference.

The next class will be offered March 13-14, 2017 at the Pentagon as part of the Joint DOE/DoD Strategic Partnership to Enhance Energy Security.

Sandia has developed a 2-day “Energy Assurance and Advanced Microgrid Conceptual Design Course” to provide basic training on energy assurance and advanced microgrid design that includes both technical discussions and working example problems using representative infrastructure and load data.

The course includes a bound course book with all presentation materials that can be used for future reference by each student. The course also includes a workbook that contains worksheets for each example problem in the class.  The example problems are taken from actual military installations and associated real-world energy assurance considerations.

The course structure is divided into individual modules, consisting of a technical presentation followed by a class exercise in solving an example problem. The individual modules include:

Day 1

Module 1 – Introduction to Electric Power and Energy Surety

  • Basics of the topology, design, and operation of electric power systems
  • Energy security, assurance, resilience definitions and metrics
  • Benefits of advanced microgrid approaches – performance, cost, reliability

Module 2 – Energy Surety Design Methodology

  • Discussion of step-by-step approach for risk-informed, performance-based, analysis and design of energy systems using energy surety metrics

Module 3 – Defining Energy System Boundaries

  • Islanded, with host nation, with host community – best approach to meet critical mission assurance and associated services reliably and cost effectively

Module 4 – Identifying Credible Design Basis Threats

  • Risk and performance-based intentional, accidental, and disaster assessment

Module 5 – Ranking Mission Critical Assets, Services, and Functions

  • Defining mission critical functions, operations, and loads

Module 6 – Developing Performance Goals and Objectives

  • Based on energy metrics, system boundaries, credible threats, and mission critical needs, establish energy system performance goals and objectives

Module 7 – Energy System Performance Risk Analysis

  • Exercise in calculating energy system performance risks based on goals
Day 2

Module 8 – Energy Infrastructure Improvement Considerations

  • Advanced microgrids
  • Operations and maintenance improvements
  • System hardening and system redundancy improvements
  • Renewable energy, energy storage improvements
  • Community or host nation power integration opportunities
  • Cyber security issue

Module 9 – Energy System Upgrade Performance Risk Analysis

  • Exercise in calculating energy system performance risk with energy upgrades

Module 10 – Cost Estimating for Energy Improvements and Microgrids

  • Exercise in calculating performance risk reduction option costs and associated energy security and resiliency benefits for microgrids and other options

Module 11 – Installation Microgrid Design and Implementation Discussions

  • USACE discussion of issues, challenges, and lessons learned

Module 12 – Tactical Microgrid Design and Implementation Discussions

  • USACE discussion of standards, challenges, and lessons learned

If you would like to attend this course or have any questions, email