The sheer scale of the smart grid is almost incomprehensible. It is unreasonable, therefore, to presume that modernizing the power system equates to consolidating all aspects of real-time decision-making. Part of a comprehensive approach to designing and building the smart grid involves asking ourselves, rather than integrating more and more information exchange with increasingly complex control at higher and higher hierarchical levels, how can the opposite add value?
In the aftermath of numerous outages connected with extreme weather, excessive loads, and other challenges to energy supply, decentralized energy systems are commanding more attention than ever before. While exploring alternative resources and technology integration can lead to cheaper and more efficient energy access, new challenges rise as the complexity of energy systems increases. The challenges confront not only electric utilities, but also energy end-users, many of whom have begun asking “how can my company benefit from being in a microgrid?”, “What technologies offer us the most benefits?”, or “How much of each is needed?”
While microgrids can be a source of renewable and reliable energy for utility distribution systems, significant challenges exist in stable operation and meeting the economic goals of the microgrid owners. Sustainability of microgrids will depend on a sound business model, enabling technology, and regulation policies.
An energy management system (EMS) is an essential function needed to increase energy efficiency and to optimally coordinate several energy sources. A large number of systems have been proposed, but not all have the same objectives or technologies. After a classification and definition of EMS, several systems were integrated and tested to understand possible applications and their advantages.