Workshop on Microgrid Systems and Power Electronics for Low Energy Buildings

Sponsored by the Mid-America Microgrid Education and Training Consortium (MARMET), the Power Sources Manufacturers Association (PSMA) and the IEEE Power Electronics Society Emerging Technologies Technical Committe, held a workshop on microgrid systems and power electronics for low energy buildings. The workshop on March 29-30, which brought together renewable energy systems and their integration into electricity grids and buildings, follows from a focused workshop held in 2014 at the Applied Power Electronics Conference.

MARMET is one of three Distributed Technology Training Consortia  (DTTC) in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, the Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) program. The three regional consortia, each with multiple university, utility and industry partners, are working toward harmonizing power systems analysis and R&D into training activities such as curriculum and short course development, internships and co-ops, and continuing education in power engineering. IREC is the National Network Administrator for the GEARED program.

The workshop was held at the new Electrical and Computer Engineering Buildings (ECEB) at the University of Illinois, a facility designed to achieve LEED Platinum status and ultimately net-zero energy performance.

The event addressed engineering issues involved in implementing grid-interactive renewables, addressing questions and topics like:

  • How do microgrid configurations and operational approaches support renewable energy deployment in buildings and commercial sites?
  • What are appropriate strategies for energy reduction in new building designs and retrofits?
  • How can microgrids and renewable resources operate to benefit the grid, with attributes that include reactive power support, dynamic regulation, and intelligent fault management?
  • What are energy storage alternatives, thermal, electrical, and others, that help mitigate randomness of renewable resources?
  • What business and economic considerations drive engineering decisions in these areas?

The workshop mixed presentations, submitted papers, discussion sessions, and small-group discussions. The workshop proceedings will be published. The new ECEB offered in-depth building tours and analysis.