Dr. Badrul Chowdhury, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, won a Research Grant entitled "Resilient Community Microgrids with Dynamic Reconfiguration to Serve Critical Loads in the Aftermath of Severe Events" from the Department of Energy (DoE). This $3.6 million award from the DoE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) will help Dr. Chowdhury and his team from UNC Charlotte's Energy Production and Infrastructure Center (EPIC) to improve the resilience and reliability of the regional grid. The proposed control architecture will be tested utilizing a unique digital-twin approach to which laboratories will have direct, real-time connections to microgrids operated by the major utilities in North Carolina. A field demonstration at Duke Energy's Hot Springs microgrid is planned. UNCC was selected as a part of the SETO Fiscal Year 2020 funding program, which is an effort to advance research and development projects to lower solar electricity costs, increase the competitiveness of American solar manufacturing and businesses, improve the reliability and resilience of the grid, and expand solar to new applications.
This award has a three-year duration. An advanced microgrid control architecture will be designed, which will coordinate seamlessly with the bulk power grid at multiple points of common coupling, automatically balance the load and generation, provide critical services (hospitals, emergency shelter, etc.) at a minimum, detect faulty conditions on a continuous basis, communicate with DERs, form networked microgrids with neighboring communities when needed, and always maintain safe operating conditions. The proposed control will be tested utilizing a unique digital-twin approach in which laboratories at the partner institutions will have direct, real-time connections to microgrids operated by the major utilities in North Carolina.