Microgrids, Manufacturing, Demand-side Management
Thirty-one percent of annual energy consumption in the United States occurs within the industrial sector, where manufacturing processes account for the largest amount of energy consumption and carbon emissions. For this reason, energy efficiency in manufacturing facilities is increasingly important for reducing operating costs and improving profits. Using microgrids to generate local sustainable power should reduce energy consumption from the main utility grid along with energy costs and carbon emissions. Also, microgrids have the potential to serve as reliable energy generators in international locations where the utility grid is often unstable. For this research, a smart microgrid system was designed as part of an innovative load management option to improve energy utilization through active Demand-Side Management (DSM). An intelligent active DSM algorithm was developed to manage the intermittent nature of the microgrid and instantaneous demand of the site loads. The controlling algorithm required two input signals; one from the microgrid indicating the availability of renewable energy and another from the manufacturing process indicating energy use as a percent of peak production. Based on these inputs the algorithm had three modes of operation: normal (business as usual), curtailment (shutting off non-critical loads), and energy storage. The results show that active management of a manufacturing microgrid has the potential for saving energy and money by intelligent scheduling of process loads.