Real-Time Microgrid Modeling and Simulation

Real-Time Microgrid Modeling and Simulation

Real-Time Microgrid Modeling & Simulation

The increasing relevance of microgrids and the distributed energy resources that comprise them has generated a demand for detailed study tools and sophisticated hardware-in-the-loop test facilities to evaluate the operation of the associated control and power devices on the grid.

The benefits of microgrid systems include increased grid reliability, the integration of renewable and alternative energy sources, and the provision of energy access to remote and developing communities.

The microgrid concept is relatively new compared to conventional power system operation and the best method to study challenges regarding microgrid operation and implementation is using detailed simulation programs and models. Electromagnetic transient (EMT) simulators, such as the RTDS Simulator, have been well established for detailed analysis of power system transients in the time domain from DC up to kHz frequencies found in modern power electronic converter systems.


Figure 1. Time step requirement for different types of simulation [1]

RTDS Simulators can accurately analyze the steady state and transient behaviour of the microgrid in grid connected and islanded mode in continuous real time. Advantages of using real time digital simulators for microgrid modeling and applications include:

  • Fast simulation times
    Microgrid analytical studies can be performed much faster than with offline simulation programs. Since the simulator operates in continuous real time, the simulated microgrid system can operate in a manner similar to the real system. As the simulation parameters are modified and contingencies are applied, the user can watch the microgrid respond in real time.
  • Hardware in the loop Testing
    The Hardware in the loop capability of RTDS Simulators allows the design of microgrid control, protection and power devices to be evaluated under realistic operating conditions before they are installed and commissioned in the real microgrid system.

The short video shows the real time simulation of a simple microgrid with a Photovoltaic, Battery and Diesel Generator unit for different operating conditions such as grid-connected operation, turning on the microgrid components, islanding the microgrid and shading conditions of the solar array. Developing detailed real-time microgrid simulation models is critical for detailed analytical studies and hardware-in-the loop testing applications [2].

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Author: Onyi Nzimako
March 2017


[1] M. D. Omar Faruque et al., “Real-Time Simulation Technologies for Power Systems Design, Testing, and Analysis,” in IEEE Power and Energy Technology Systems Journal, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 63-73, June 2015.
[2] O. Nzimako and A. Rajapakse, “Real time simulation of a microgrid with multiple distributed energy resources,” 2016 International Conference on Cogeneration, Small Power Plants and District Energy (ICUE), Bangkok, 2016, pp. 1-6.