Atmospheric Renewable Energy Research, Volume 3: Solar-Power Microgrids and Atmospheric Influences

Report No. ARL-TR-7797
Authors: Gail Vaucher, Morris Berman, and Jeffrey A Smith
Date/Pages: September 2016; 28 pages
Abstract: Saving lives, strengthening security, and improving economics motivate the US Army Research Laboratory to investigate the integration of renewable energy into Department of Defense/military missions. Renewable energy integration requires a variety of disciplines (e.g., power engineers and meteorologists). Establishing common definitions and understandings are a critical cornerstone for this joint effort. In Volume 1, we documented contemporary commitments by the US Government and Armed Forces toward actively integrating renewable energy into their respective missions. In Volume 2, we set a cornerstone by researching the components of solar-power system designs, with a focus on atmospheric contributions. In this Volume 3, we build onto the cornerstone by investigating the combining of multiple power systems into an integrated microgrid. Looking toward the future, we envision a not-yet-developed-for-Army mobile hybrid microgrid, which incorporates both traditional and renewable energy power generations. A significant hurdle in successfully operating a hybrid (solar/diesel) microgrid will be ensuring smooth transitions between traditional and nontraditional power resources. This barrier was investigated from 3 perspectives: we 1) identified atmospheric dependencies associated with the hybrid microgrid, 2) explored basic power grid models and power ramping events—a solar microgrid susceptibility associated with atmospheric conditions, and 3) examined microgrid simulations, a tool used to explore the atmospheric-dependent vulnerabilities and opportunities. The next step will be to investigate the development of a hybrid (solar/diesel) management tool.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2016