GE Logo
Home Protection & Control Legacy Specialized Protection
Related Links
  UR Series
  Industrial Communications
  Support Documents
Microgrid Control System - Legacy

microgrid control system
Contact Us

Manufacturing for this product has been discontinued. As an alternative, please refer to the GridNode Microgrid and DER Management Solutions.

The Grid IQ™ Microgrid Control System (MCS) enables distribution grid operators to integrate and optimize energy assets with an objective to reduce the overall energy cost for a local distribution grid, also known as a "microgrid".

MCS is based on a supervisory control architecture provided by Multilin™ U90Plus Generation Optimizer, Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), substation gateways, a Human Machine Interface (HMI) and a secure communications network .

The MCS provides a simple yet effective solution to integrate fossil fuel based Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), renewable DERs and energy storage optimize the operation of a local microgrid with a goal to minimize the total cost of operation, including Cost of Energy (CoE).

Key benefits
  • Enables integration of renewable energy resources with conventional fossil based generators
  • Optimizes the dispatch of DERs to reduce the total cost of energy and microgrid operation
  • Maintains a secure and reliable power supply for mission critical loads for operation in 'islanded' mode
  • Enables integration with Volt/VAR controls for a better utilization of distribution system assets
  • Maximizes the use of renewable assets for reduced GHG emissions and environmental impact

OverviewMCS componentsKey featuresApplications

Microgrid overview

What is a Microgrid
A Microgrid is an integrated energy system with local Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as local loads, generating assets and possibly energy storage devices such as batteries or fuel-cells. A microgrid system is typically capable of operating in "islanded" (off-the grid) or grid-connected mode.

Permanently Islanded Microgrid
Permanently Islanded microgrid networks are stand alone networks that must produce all of the generation locally that will be consumed by the loads in the network. Islanded microgrid networks are quite often found in remote, northern or island communities where the high cost of importing fuel and the availability of renewable resources (wind, hydro) can make optimization of generation very desirable.

Grid-Tied Microgrid
Grid-tied microgrid networks are able to produce power within its distribution circuits as well as import power from a utility source. University campuses and military facilities that have on-site generation to provide backup power in case of a loss of a utility source can benefit from generation optimization by utilizing their on-site generation to offset the costs of electricity when they can produce cheaper than they can buy it for.

Microgrid Control System Architecture and Optimization Sequence
The U90Plus is the central supervisory controller of a microgrid control system that maximizes the use of the DER's and gives commands to dispatchable resources to provide power to the load in the most economical method possible.

Architecture diagram
Microgrid control system components

Grid IQ's MCS is a system solution offering with the U90Plus generation optimizer as the heart of the control system surrounded by intelligent controllers, communications and other power system devices
The MCS is based on a supervisory control architecture provided by Multilin U90Plus Generation Optimizer. The core function of the U90Plus is its ability to monitor, track, and forecast load, generation and storage resources throughout the microgrid. To facilitate this, the U90Plus needs to communicate with intelligent controllers distributed at key points across the microgrid.

  • U90Plus Generation Optimizer: The U90Plus Generation Optimizer is the key central engine that provides management of DER's to provide power in the most economical method possible.
  • Communications Network: Load and generation centers are spread out across a microgrid network, and a reliable and robust communications network is provided for the U90Plus to monitor and control various assets. When laying fiber optic cables is uneconomical, a secure, industrial wireless network can be deployed. The U90Plus minimizes the amount of information needed to be transmitted over the communications network, providing a network has at least a 128kbps baud rate at each load or generation location.
  • Intelligent Local Controllers: Each aggregated load center, generating source, and energy storage unit is monitored by an intelligent controller located locally at DER locations. These controllers perform the real time measurements and receive commands from the U90Plus. These intelligent controllers support the Modbus RTU or Modbus TCP/IP protocols and have control over the generator or storage unit control systems. Multilin's Universal Relay family is an ideal solution as it contains the necessary control and protection functions to protect the assets at the same time.
  • Integration Configuration Services: The MCS offering includes microgrid system feasibility studies, engineering, system design and modeling, U90Plus Generation Optimizer configuration, first level system integration services, system commissioning support and training. GE has a team of subject matter experts to help develop and build a Microgrid project.
Microgrid control system key features

The MCS provides a multitude of functionalities for permanently islanded (off-the-grid) and grid-connected microgrid systems:

  • Lowers Cost of Producing Power
  • Maximizes Use of Green Power
  • Load Forecasting
  • Forecasting Renewable Generation
  • Optimizes Generation Dispatch

  • Isochronous Generation Control
  • Renewable Generation Integration
  • Energy Storage Integration
  • Generation Unit Commitment
Typical Distributed Energy Resources for Microgrid Systems

The U90Plus can integrate many different types of Distributed Energy Resources into its generation optimization control algorithms.

Integration diagram
Typical microgrid applications

A microgrid system architecture diagram for a typical remote community suitable for application of GE's Grid IQ MCS system

A microgrid system architecture diagram for a typical military base capable of operating in idlanded mode in case of an adverse event on the main grid
Islanded Mining and Remote Communities

One of the biggest challenges for permanently islanded remote and mining communities is to reduce total cost of energy. Although many of these remote communities may have some form of a renewable resource, they lack a smart control system infrastructure and are primarily dependent upon fossil fuel based generation for their energy needs.

The Grid IQ MCS system can help many of these remote islanded communities by optimizing existing assets and also integrating renewable energy resources into the existing network. Such capability helps these communities reduce the total cost of energy and helps reduce the GHG emissions and resulting adverse environmental impacts. Studies have shown that such optimization schemes can reduce overall energy cost up to 15% over a period of time, while providing better visibility and controls to the operators and maintenance staff for the remote community distribution networks.

Grid Connected Military Bases

The defense departments globally are up against critical challenges to sustain their mission critical infrastructure during an unplanned event. Their objective is to provide secure and reliable power to their critical infrastructure regardless of situation of the main grid and want to provide a safe, secure and reliable power network for their mission critical buildings and assets.

The MCS system can help many of these defense installations by providing a capability to operate in secure islanded mode in case the main grid has an interruption. The MCS can manage available backup power sources and storage devices, possibly in combination with demand side management for low priority loads to sustain mission critical infrastructure.