Frequency regulation is currently provided by large individual resources, such as coal plants and gas turbines. There is growing interest for utilizing power flexibility of DERs in microgrids for providing frequency regulation. Researchers, funded by ARPA-E, from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have developed a control framework for a microgrid that coordinates DERs for frequency regulation.
From Centralized to Distributed Microgrid
Today, most microgrids are controlled in a centralized fashion with standard master slave architecture. There is a central controller, which is the supervisory controller and is connected via point-to-point connection to every DER in the microgrid.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) funded by ARPA-E, have developed a completely distributed controller architecture. Instead of a central controller, multiple micro controllers or nodes communicate with its neighbors towards a consensus. Olaolu Ajala, a PhD student in power and energy systems at UIUC, shows how this distributed controller architecture works using a Hardware-in-the-Loop microgrid testbed.