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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 9 (2020 Deadline)


Resiliency analysis for the development of microgrid architecture against climate-driven events in the Dominican Republic's electric systems

PI: Ramón Emilio De Jesús Grullón (r.dejesus@ce.pucmm.edu.do), Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra, Dominican Republic
U.S. Partner: Hashem Nehrir, Montana State University
Project Dates: April 2021 - April 2023

Project Overview:
 
 Video summarizing PEER project goals
9-410 De Jesus microgrid
Map courtesy of ´╗┐Ramón Emilio De Jesús Grullón, PUCM
 
 9-410 De jesus radio interview
Interview:  Energías, Combustibles y Mas Radio Show - ZOL1065FM
The rapid growth of grid resiliency research worldwide is enabling unprecedented opportunities for global collaboration to expand scientific knowledge and to improve the quality of life and well-being of citizens facing the dangers of climate change. This research project builds on, and expands the knowledge from project partners and academia in this key technology area with the goal of transforming scientific findings into tools that can generate further education and employment, necessary elements underpinning the economy and improvement of the quality of life in society. Recent severe power outages caused by increasingly frequent climate-driven events have highlighted the urgent need to improve grid resilience worldwide. Traditionally, the power industry has focused on methods that aim to restore loads after a fault by altering the topological structure of the distribution network, effectively isolating the fault and restoring as much load as possible after the general blackout. However, when the distribution system is severely damaged, traditional approaches cannot guarantee that energy will be supplied to much needed critical loads. This is where microgrids (MGs) have emerged as a tool due to the potential to recover quickly and effectively, providing an alternative approach to the resilience dilemma. The new paradigm presented by active MG integration into the grid requires a robust modelling process and hardware testing, and this research will tackle both. Using the latest real-time power hardware-in-the-Ioop (PHIL) simulation platforms will permit accurate representation of device integration and modeling. The PHIL testbed in this project will be the first one developed in the Dominican Republic.

The project aligns with the Dominican National Development Strategy (END 2010-2030) objectives of fostering an economy that is developed territorially and by sector and that is innovative, diversified, and environmentally sustainable, promoting a sustainable society that protects the environment and natural resources and promotes climate change adaptation. The capacity building on this topic is essential to obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, and resources needed to bootstrap the industry in the region and the country. The proposed testbed will serve not only as an educational tool to promote training and learning in this key technology area but also as a benchmark for government agencies, communities, and industry looking to integrate renewable energy sources and resilience into their decision-making process and policies. It will also perform as test platform for device-agnostic energy storage and electric vehicle integration into the energy grid.

Project updates

During July September 2022 reporting period, the team's work continued. The team reached an important milestone with the PUCMM-EDENORTE working group. They  managed to model a complete circuit and developed a guide for the implementation of the QGIS2OpenDSS plugin with the Technical Management of Distribution and Network Studies. Most recently, the team presented the results of this initiative to several managements of the distributor.
 
In terms of PUCMM Microgrid Laboratory set-up, the laboratory refurbishment work has been completed. The team are in the final stages of closing and testing the equipment for the inauguration of the facilities.  On November 15, USAID and NAS representatives will be conducting site visits and meet with the PEER team and visit the PUCMM project lab in Santiago
 
Outreach with USAID/ Santo Domingo has also been ongoing. The team presented the progress of the project to the USAID mission in Santo Domingo and agreed to connect with related projects in the country, such as the Energy Sector Reform (ESR) project, Green Recovery Investment Platform (GRIP) and Scholar Fulbright. The team hope this will help them establish further connections with more professionals, as well as discover further financing and capacity development opportunities.
 
The Microgrid Research blog is now hosted on the official PUCMM´s server which will give the MG Research team a bigger audience to share their insights.

Potential development impacts

As part of his PhD Research, CI Rafael Batista is conducting research on the use of biological inspired optimization techniques for the consensus making on the formation of networked microgrids in order to enhance resiliency and operational characteristics of the electrical grid. Swarm Intelligence (SI) is being explored with the particle swarm optimization algorithm (PSO) and validated using a simulation of an IEEE benchmark system for the testing of networked microgrids, presented in (Alam et al., 2020). 
 
Currently work is being done in the solution of the power flow equations for this benchmark system, which allows multiple reconfigurations by the activation of redundats 18 points of power coupling (PCC) for each microgrid presented. The decision of activating/deactivating PCC, increasing or reducing generation, and demand management will be done by the optimization algorithm. Various constraints are being included in the optimization process related to: serving critical loads, reducing transmission losses, improving operational cost, and minimizing power requirement from the central utility. This work will be the fundamental part for the reconfiguration ability for improved resiliency proposed by this project.

Future plans

Scholar programs
There is an important need in Dominican Republic’s electrical energy sector for the adoption of the latest trends in management, coordination, and control of the operation of electrical distribution networks. To that end, this project aims to secure funding to organize a series of academic and professional lectures in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) directed towards final year electrical engineering students and professionals currently working in Dominican Republic’s electrical sector. The Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM)’s Microgrid Laboratory (sponsored by USAID and NAS PEER program) offers the needed setup for the development of a series of training sessions related to electrical power system simulations and implementation of electrical smart grid technologies. The Sustainable Energy Center (SEC) at UPRM has had vast experience regarding the simulation and creation of control strategies of power systems, and promoting these exchanges will greatly improve the proficiency of electrical engineering students and professionals that will take part in this series of training. Furthermore, a better understanding of these future trends in the electrical sector will help in the integration of technologies which could improve the resiliency of Dominican Republic’s electrical sector. This improved resiliency could have great impacts in the security and stability of Dominican Republic’s entire society. Finally, this project will be a key enabler for the creation of new study programs which will rely on the Microgrid Laboratory and promote higher level education in the form of master or doctoral programs.
 
Development of additional training courses on OpenDSS and Matlab/Simulink
The main platforms/software to simulate the electrical grid components and interactions have already been identified by the team, as well as training courses on how to utilize them were already developed to build capacity among the students and professionals that will interact with the project. This will serve as a platform for developing future work and investigations. The team will organize workshops on the use and capabilities of these two tools for developing Power Systems simulations and to address studies on specific electrical grid issues. The training courses and workshops will be held at PUCMM with the support of the Engineering faculty and student’s committee. Furthermore, these training courses will help the integration of future students into the project as well as serving as a base for the development of the engineering curriculum of the local universities. 
 
Testbed Integration 
Currently the team is working on the preparation of the laboratory area for the placement and initial testing of the OPALRT real time control system. Network and protected electrical connections are currently being built. The initial validation will be done without the use of the inverters. The inverters are scheduled to arrive in the Dominican Republic in mid-January. Additionally, the team are planning to test the DC power supply.
 

 
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