Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, 2012, 3, 83-88 Published Online May 2012 ( 1
Trends and Overview Regarding the Involvement of
Micro-Grids in Modern Power Systems
Muhammad Ali1, Hafeez ur Rahman2, Waheed ur Rahman1, Haseeb ur Rahman1
1Deparment of Electrical Engineering, NWFP University of Engineering & Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan; 2Department of Elec-
trical Engineering, Gandhara Institute of Scie nce & Technology, Peshawar, Pakist an.
Received February 1st, 2012; revised March 9th, 2012; accepted March 17th, 2012
Customer satisfaction and participation in utility supply packages is the first and foremost factor in the success of any
supplying agency whether wholesale or retail dealer. The paper presents the concept of major prospects of non- auto-
nomous micro-grids installed in a certain locality. The article shows the basic background that is required for the in-
stallment of micro grid in a particular area and discusses the primary factors or pre-requisites that are required for the
existence and operation of micro-grids. It elaborate the major profitable applications and benefits that developing and
developed states get by using micro -grids in an area where utility g rid is already functioning. It also explains the basic
improvement in the quality of supply from micro grid after its installment. It also throws light on afterwards impact on
society with this system, such impacts include reliability, tariff rates, economics etc. The article discusses micro-grids
as the future of modern power systems. This paper shows significance of modernization by latest topologies in power
systems and its effect that will come afterwards.
Keywords: Distributed Generation (DG); Micro-Grids (MG); Renewable Energy Resources (RER); Micro-Grid Central
Controller (MGCC); Local Controller (LC)
1. Introduction
Every equipment either residential or industrial runs
through electrical power. As technologies advances; the
need of power is increasing drastically. Centralized power
systems for generation thus produces fluctuations at load
side as demand is not being fulfilled properly and this
basic need is increasing rapidly, thus utilities feel a great
pressure on them for increasing generation [1] and
transmission lines. Consumers are not satisfied fully by
the present scenario of available power especially in de-
veloping countries. So, Distributed Generation is one the
basic means of generating power for a certain locality,
which is environmental friendly as it minimizes th e emis-
sions of hazardous gases. MG consists of power gen-
erators capable of power generation rang from several
KW to few MW using Renewable Energy Resources such
as solar, wind, biomass etc and can run on fossil fuels
such as coal, gas, oil etc. Operation of Micro-Grids can
be performed in two basic modes. One form of operation
is in autonomous mode and other form of operation is in
non-autonomous mode as shown in Figures 1 and 2.
Autonomous operation [2] is that the MG is operating
alone or in other words it is decoupled from electrical
utility. Second form of operation is in non-autonomous
mode in which MG acts as a stand by system with
Figure 1. Centralized power system.
Figure 2. Distributed power system.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Trends and Overview Regarding the Involvement of Micro-Grids in Modern Power Systems
electrical utility. These DG sets are installed with elec-
trical utility to provide strength [3,4] to power plant by
supporting its voltage level or by supporting power for
reducing the peak demand during certain times. Stand -by
power generating units with present electrical infrastruc-
ture can be used for micro-grids. MG can prove to be one
of the best choice for installing it in a certain locality,
provided that it costs low and also in provides a certain
acceptable level of reliability [5] for a fighting with
present electrical utilities in modern age. The trends of
MG are eno rmously rising as they share some basic load
from utility. This basic trend is growing especially gr ow-
ing in developing counties where RER are sufficient to
generate the demands of people alone as well as by shar-
ing with utility. The basic and the foremost specialty of
MG’s is that they can operate in Islanding mode [6] thus
provides safety against troubling effects of faults. This
paper is divided into three main phases. Phase one shows
the basic background that is required for the installment
of micro grid in a particular area. This section discusses
the primary factors or pre-requisites that are required for
the existence and operation of micro-grids. Phase two
elaborates the major profitable applications and benefits
that developing and developed states get by using micro-
grids in an area where utility grid is already functioning.
Final phase explain s the basic improvement in th e quality
of supply from micro grid aft er i t s i nst allment.
The decentralized generation of electricity infrastruc-
ture near to load usin g di st ributed generati o n [7] .
In decentralized approach DG source controller [8] is
mainly responsible for power management. DG source
controller is called Local co nt ro ller and micr o- grid cen tral
controller is connected with Local controller for power
management from main utility.
In the Figure 3 intelligent TCP/IP controller network
figure electrical utility is connected through micro-grid
central controller and local controller.
In peak hour of demand intelligent local controller
which is connected by TCP/IP networking cable send
request to micro-grid central controller through TCP/IP
communication protocol. In Figure 3 TCP/IP controller
network Intelligent MGCC check the available power
from Utility that can supply to load through local con-
troller and Local controller control the power supply to
load. If power required to load is available power that
can be supply to load then MGCC send a signal to local
controller and starts sending power to load through LC.
If more power required then local controller send request
to other local controller to send the power. In case of
power requirement is not fulfill then intelligent local
controller perform intelligent load Shedding.
The ultimate objective is to prov ide the smooth and re-
liable power supply to load in different circumstances. Dif-
ferent types of “intelligent load shedding” [9-12] scheme
have been discussed in literature for power management.
In [13] describe the decentralized software control ap-
proach with int elligent ag ents the on FIPA software where
the local controllers compute one other to optimize MGCC
operation of MG.
This report stresses on non-autonomous mode of micro-
grids with direct conn ection with electrical utility. Figure
4 shows the architecture of micro grid with direct connec-
tion with utility through point of common connection.
2. Phase-1: Technical Background
Following are the important pre-requisites required for
the existence of micro-grids in a certain area:
For running MG on fossil fuels such as natural gas,
coal etc it is very vital that any of these resources must
be present in excessive amount in that particular area
where MG is to be installed. Once MG starts functioning
it requires fuel from time to time for generation. So, for
any region complete feasibility of resources in particular
Figure 3. TCP/IP controller network.
Figure 4. Non-autonomous MG architecture.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Trends and Overview Regarding the Involvement of Micro-Grids in Modern Power Systems 85
area must be done. Calculations must be done for how
much time resources can last? And after that time what
strategy either economic or uneconomic is adopted or in
other sense, either it will be feasible to run MG after that
period or not?
Do the climatic as well as geographic conditions agree
for the installment of MG? For example for an area which
is mostly gathered by clouds so, Photo Voltaic MG alone
installment is a big question. For an area, where rain oc-
curs most of the time in a day and throughout the year, so,
wind operated MG is out of question. MG is very feasible
in urban areas and its nearby surroundings where all fa-
cilities e.g. transportation etc are available. But for rural
areas, MG is still a big issue.
When in any particular area, load is increasing tre-
mendously with only present old dated generation system
available there, due to which there exists a remarkable
difference between generation and supply, so, non-au-
tonomous MG is a best solution. As a result, due to lack
of facilities and unawareness, crews of that electrical grid
have only one solution to that particular problem and that
unacceptable solution is load shedding. This is because
present generation system of the grid is unable to meet
the increasing demands of the people. MG in that area
could share some effective load from grid thus improving
power quality of supply.
For a region where blackouts or load shedding is un-
acceptable in any case even for few minutes such as
emergency hospitals, operation theater, university re-
search labs etc so, MG connection with utility will be
most suitable case .
Reliability and economics are the big issu es associated
with utility. Also power quality is another important is-
sue with grids. When demands are increasing and suppli-
ers are not getting much from consumers so result will be
a massive tariff rate. Sensitive electronic instruments ef-
ficiency greatly rely on power quality of supply. Present
UPS setup produce fluctuations to load as well as it has
low electric density as compared to grid power because
there are enough losses during conversion process of
The most important issue especially for developing
state is that due to increased demand and time to time
load shedding people have owned their mini-generators
diesel sets for shops and homes. They are facing prob-
lems like power. The cost on its operation, fuel, mainte-
nance etc becomes a big problem for local people. People
in an underdeveloped state does not know how to earn a
great profit form this mini set by exporting power from
this set to utility as well as to the market. For this, it re-
quires a control infrastructure of Non-Autonomous MG
for distribution. Due to lack of infra structure, the practi-
cal implementation of this system is still a big question.
Also, developed states cannot bear interruptions in sup-
ply and power converted from batteries in acute emer-
gency cases has low electric density as compared MG
operating on fossil fuels maintenance, operation, econo-
mics etc. People use these small sets only for acute emer-
gency cases in the times of load shedding otherwise their
demand is fulfilled partially by grid. However The major
issues for DG operation is control, protection, stability
and power quality of the supply [14,15].
3. Phase-2 Profitable Benef i t s a nd
The most promising feature of MG is the establishment
of business industry that can worth millions and billions
of dollars for providing back up power and support to
masses. With well equipped setup it is capable of ex-
porting the power to utility and to some required residen-
tial areas as well as to some private sector. Thus, it pro-
vokes thirsty businessmen to invest money in this sector
and can earn healthy profit. For example in a certain
community of 10 - 15 houses there exists a MG setup and
each owner of the house has to buy a membership of MG
for backup power. So, in case of failure of delivery from
utility MG provides its members quality power for cer-
tain time. Each member has to pay to MG owner who
gains profit through exporting power to residential sector
and to utility in times of need.
By the implementation of MG, the cost/KWhr of used
power from MG is reduced to a suitable value as com-
pared to market value of electricity produced by central
power plant. The costs involving installation, mainte-
nance, operational etc are much reduced as compare to
large utility setup including larg e units, long transmission
lines and increase losses due to corona; hurricanes etc.
This mini setup is close to loads so losses are much re-
duced in this case.
The concept of MG minimizes a lot of risks to electri-
cal utilities. These risks includ e fault occurring in central
plant, in transmission lines, in MG. Thus, it adds a secu-
rity feature to utility while operating in non-autonomous
mode as it is capable of operating in an islanded mode.
During heavy loading conditions MG can be subjected to
intentional or emergency islanding. Other types of risks
include load forecasting, prices of the fuel regularity is-
sues etc. MG smaller units requires less project capital
and lead time compared to large and heavy utility units.
By utilizing renewable energy resources (RER) such
as solar, wind etc in MG topology results in environ-
mental friendly atmosphere protecting ozone layer. By
using these sources one (developing or developed state)
is totally free from importing fossil fuels for production.
Thus, a state can store and reserve its primary energy
resources for times of acute emergency. This concept can
save a lot of money being spent on importing fuels from
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Trends and Overview Regarding the Involvement of Micro-Grids in Modern Power Systems
other states.
Through the implementation of this system unemploy-
ment is considerably reduced in a particular area of the
state as MG introduces job opportunities for the unem-
ployed people.
For using MG in cogeneration mode, the waste heat
produced can be used for heating, cooling in chemical
industries and hospitals. With MG if small units become
faulty can be easily resold and displaced from one place
to another as compared to large central power plant.
MG provides supporting and control services to utility
such as:
By the injection/absorp tion of reactive power for con-
trolling voltage of grid.
Can act as spinning reserve.
Can provide network stability.
Avoid system blackouts.
By the control of regulation etc.
4. Power Quality of Micro-Grids
In power systems, a term power quality is a quality of
service issued for customer and electric power service
providers. This term basically covers a variety of tran-
sient electromagnetic phenomenon [16]. The issues of
power quality are pronounced in modern power systems
especially in distributed generation, its importance is
very vital. Several problems may occur in power systems
such as blackouts, outages, surges etc. These basic prob-
lems occur due to power imbalance and increased de-
mand than supply. So, large variations and fluctuations in
supply are encountered in large power systems. Power
quality issues also includes current disto rtion, power fac-
tor, harmonics and triple harmonics, transients, Ferro re-
sonance, dropouts, sags, flicker, swell, reverse recovery
voltages, islanding etc. All above issues if not handled
properly may lead to poor service quality of supply. The
useful life of power system equipment is going towards
decline due to poor service quality provided by service
managers [17].
In real power quality problems is normally related to
hardware, software or control system malfunction of
power system. In system due to repeated Transient volt-
ages the Performance of equipments can be degrade over
the period of time. A survey conducted results on the
causes of power quality problems by Georgia power co.
given below. The power quality can have direct eco-
nomic Impact on many industrial users. Power quality is
also important issue because meeting the consumer ex-
pectation and increase customer confidence by increasing
power quality. Figures 5 and 6 survey results [18] con-
ducted by Georgia Power Co. of customer and Utility
perception causes of power quality.
The concept of non-autonomous MG introduced here
Figure 5. Survey results (conducted by Georgia power co.).
Figure 6. Survey results (conducted by Georgia Power co.).
eliminates some of major power quality issues such as
blackouts, Ferro resonance, Increased surges etc. Since
MG is the form of DG in power systems capable of han-
dling load acco rding to its rating and supp ly. It maintains
power, voltage and frequency balance with utility inter-
connected. The quality of supply is judged at consumer
end and proper maintenance of supply for different type
of consumers. MG eliminates and defers interruptions in
supply by sharing load fro m utility, acting as a backup or
a standby system. Different MGs in cases of acute emer-
gencies are capable of operating in islanding mode in
interconnected power systems. Each island maintains its
continuous supply to each connected consumer end and
when risks are removed again linked to central power
system or utility. In intentional islanding mode the sys-
tem of islanding has been planned in advance and all the
equipments have been designed to cope with the situation.
During hurricane or weather disturbances MG isolates
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. SGRE
Trends and Overview Regarding the Involvement of Micro-Grids in Modern Power Systems 87
itself from the utility supply. Thus by doing this it avoids
the risks of disturbances due to lighting strokes either
direct or indirect and other faults affecting the ongoing
supply. For example, in hospitals when open-heart sur-
gery is taking place interruptions in any case is highly
unacceptable. In unintentional mode, power system is
heavily loaded which can result in large fluctuations of
voltage and frequency resulting in the malfunctioning of
consumer equipments. MG is thus subjected to uninten-
tional islanding to avoid all this and maintains quality
supply to its connected loads.
Micro-grid can increase efficient service quality by pro-
viding power generation redundancy whenever needed. In
cases of extreme demand and loading conditions it en-
hances security of upstream networks against faults and
risks by operating in emergency iswlanding mode. MGs
as LV networks provide quality and reliable power in
contrast to heavy loaded HV networks [19]. In power
systems, power quality disaster level can be expressed as
overall losses caused by power quality events. Power
quality disaster level can be expressed as,
kFk Lk
where subscript k power quality event type:
E: Overall losses of all the power quality disasters
during monitoring period;
n: Number of power quality events;
E: Average direct loss of power quality even ts;
c: Correction coefficient of average direct loss;
E: Average latent loss of power quality events;
c: Correction coefficient of average latent loss.
Power quality disaster level if increased may result in
a high loss to utility or facility manag ers. The chances of
power transmission collapse is less in decentralized sys-
tems especially in DG. As MG has fewer number of con-
nected loads and this system is interconnected with util-
ity so micro grid central controller avoids such dangerous
consequences by immediate action of islanding. So, power
quality is im proved as well as disast er level is minimized.
5. Conclusion
This paper has discussed Micro-grid technology playing
a more numerous and important role in the world’s en-
ergy demand. Micro-grid safe operation increase chances
for fulfill the supply and demand of the consumer. Au-
tomated load management technique implemented by in-
telligent controller (neural implementation of controller)
network provides opportunity to overcome energy im-
balance. It further discussed the idea of non-autonomous
micro grid presented here can benefit utility, society and
local people of a certain locality. By implementing this
system losses are reduced, quality of power is improved
much better, tariff rates are reduced that can benefit poor
people and avoids interruption in supply that can benefit
critical places such as hospitals.
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