An Approach for Estimating the Economic Benefits of Microgrids while Evlauating Tradeoffs Between Multiple Assets, Objectives and Parties

P. Balducci
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory,
United States

Keywords: energy storage, microgrids


Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed methods and a suite of tools designed to perform multifaceted economic assessments of microgrids. These tools have recently enabled PNNL to evaluate the economic benefits of various microgrid design and operational characteristics for both the U.S. Army and local partner utilities. The economic assessment can be used to optimally scale and simulate the operation of a microgrid on an hourly basis over a one-year evaluation period using base load information and energy market data. The results of the economic assessment can determine the number of hours the microgrid would be optimally engaged in the provision of each service and the associated value of each service. The team has also developed a method for evaluating a set of Pareto optimal solutions as a means to evaluate tradeoffs between the two parties based on the design and operation of the microgrid. Finally, given a fixed budget, the team has also developed a method for evaluating tradeoffs between energy security, achieved through investment in generators that provide little or no operational benefit, and operational benefits achieved through investments in photovoltaics and energy storage.