Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
microgrid, renewable energy, optimization
A microgrid is a localized electric grid that generates some or all of the power used to meet its load. Union College currently has a microgrid that meets 70 percent of the campus’ load and is connected to the main grid. It is made up of a cogeneration plant as well as solar photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, which are renewable energy sources. The goal of this project is to determine the least cost, low-carbon energy mix that meets 100 percent of the campus’ load. The issue with solar and wind power is that they are variable based on time of day, time of year, and the weather. This is addressed in the planning of Union’s microgrid energy mix through considering storage and other low-carbon renewable generation. MATLAB is used for linear programming optimization with constraints. The output is input to the Simulink model designed to replicate Union’s microgrid. This verifies that the energy mix is reliable under worst case conditions on the peak load day, and mimics the design process an engineering firm would undertake for a similar project. The optimal energy mix determined by the code is made up of solar photovoltaic arrays, wind turbines, geothermal power, lithium ion battery storage, and the current cogeneration plant. Specifically, adding 750kW of PV to the current 63kW on campus, adding 25kW of wind power to the current 36kW, adding 275kW geothermal generation plant, 4.5 MWh battery storage, and slightly raising the cogen to an average output of 2MW.
McMahon, Caitlin, "Optimization of Union College’s Microgrid to Meet All Load with a Least-Cost, Low-Carbon Energy Mix" (2020). Honors Theses. 2480.