Microgrids Introduce New Issues for Power Engineers and Utility Managers

Some of the most exciting applications of microgrids are now taking place in the U.S. commercial shipping and ports industries, in response to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandates that these industries stop using diesel fuel to run in-port ship systems and port equipment. Ships and ports, in fact, have developed complementary microgrid strategies to meet these mandates and their strategies are producing important economic, energy security and environmental benefits.

As microgrids come online, utilities will need to pay attention to several operational issues. For example, interconnection standards are evolving and engineers must consider the impacts of these new standards when implementing distributed generation systems. Also, if microgrid penetration is significant, utility operations can be impacted either by reduced demand or by performance considerations, such as the voltage fluctuations caused by photovoltaic operations during changing solar conditions.

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