Internet of Networked Microgrids Solution for Scalable Agile Microgrids
Stephen Bayne | Texas Tech University
This project will to create a smart building management solution capable of controlling clusters of dispersed building distributed energy resources (DERs), controllable loads and intelligent building switches/breakers in scalable networked buildings for military installations. Leveraging the existing technologies that the team is currently working on, the project will demonstrate an Internet of Networked Building (IoNB) management solution. The project will work toward a hardened, secure, scalable, interoperable, cost-efficient architecture for networked building management to enable operations and communications with critical loads. At the core of the integrated solution is the hardware/software management system that coordinates the operation of several controllable DERs and loads within several buildings in a military base. The primary objectives of the IoNB solution will include:
- Enabling an integrated advanced monitoring, control and communications solution of controllable building assets,
- Integrate the networked-buildings control algorithm based on Group NIRE (GNIRE)’s patent pending load control algorithm to a base automation controller for the utility incentive-based programs and base time-based programs, and
- Test the networked-building asset priority algorithm on the hardware-in-loop testbed.
The IoNB solution will regulate the DER mix including flexible loads and intelligent switches in networked buildings. The IoNB solution is based on a supervisory controller integrated with the open-source platform, VOLTTRON(TM), which will be utilized for the priority load control algorithm deployment. VOLTTRON enables separating the parts and pieces of the building management system (BMS) such as device drivers, control algorithms, database interfaces, and front-end management and inserting a communications platform between these systems, allowing communications with any other external management system for future expansion. The GNIRE BEMS deployed on the VOLTTRON platform can be run across multiple hardware solutions at once. In this scenario, a central Base Level Command and Control server utilizing VOLTTRON instance, called VOLTTRON central, will acts as an agent manager allowing the coordination of numerous agents over communication protocols, such as Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The overall IoNB solution embraces increased DER testing through a combination of analysis tools, networking software, and interoperable control platform for automating energy assets. Test cases will include performing decentralized operations on buildings to serve critical loads during the event of an outage while maintaining the overall system stability. The novel base building assets grouping algorithm will ensure the high priority critical loads continuity, by changing the building load configurations and curtailing non-essential loads during emergencies, high prices of electricity from electric utilities, or commands given by base commanders.
The IoNB will benefit the Department of Defense by demonstrating that military installations with multiple buildings can be turned into networked building nanogrids with islanding capabilities that offer higher energy security, lower emission, lower-cost, and are automated to manage the building assets including DERs. The initial analysis using the Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM) analysis tool and the National Institute of Standards and Technology Bridge Life-Cycle Cost Analysis process show very encouraging saving/investment relationship for the IoNB solution. The analysis indicates that the IoNB is life-cycle cost effective and can reduce energy use compared to typical microgrid designs by between 5-15% depending on the number and type of DER and the size of building loads controlled by the system.