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Distributed Generation-Based Smart Grid System Using NI CompactRIO & NI LabVIEW

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Original Authors: Alekhya Datta, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

Edited by Cyth Systems

Distributed Generation-Based Smart Grid System
Distributed Generation-Based Smart Grid System

The Challenge

Enhancing energy security and energy access, particularly in emerging economies with depleting energy resources, and generating power effectively and intelligently, which is equally important at the national level in India.

The Solution

Developing the first-of-its-kind smart mini grid (SMG) system in India, driven by state-of-the-art power electronics devices and controlled through ultra-fast digital technology based on NI CompactRIO hardware and NI LabVIEW system design software, which ensures a higher degree of flexibility, reliability, efficiency, and safety for the complete power system.

Left: Complete Single Line Diagram of an SMG System, Center: NI cRIO-9022 and C Series Modules Used in the SMG System, Right: LabVIEW source code of SMG Dashboard.


To cope with utility changes and challenges, many utility companies in India are planning to implement smart grid technology. An SMG system is a subset of a smart electric grid and is generally defined as an intelligent electricity distribution network operating at or below 11 kV and providing electricity to a community. It is supplied by a diverse range of distributed energy resources (DERs), including small, conventional generators such as diesel generators combined with a range of renewable generators such as hydro, wind turbine, biomass, and solar photovoltaic. SMGs can either be connected to the conventional utility grid or be isolated and provide electricity to a localized load only. An SMG is an application of digital information and communication technology (ICT) and uses advanced sensing, communication, and control technologies to optimize electrical power generation, delivery, and ultimately its end use within the domain of microgrids. An SMG provides dynamic communication and balancing of the electrical network, thus minimizing losses and increasing the stability of the grid.


Benefits of an SMG

The benefits of an SMG include the following:

  • Fostering demand-side management and demand-side response

  • Reducing power outages and increasing the reliability, efficiency, and safety of the grid

  • Reducing the carbon footprint and minimizing fossil fuel consumption

  • Providing better autonomy to customers to manage their electricity needs


Initiative Taken by TERI on SMG Systems

Under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Partnership program, TERI submitted a proposal to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization submitted a proposal to the Commonwealth of Australia Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and The Arts to obtain funding to develop and demonstrate distributed generation-based SMG systems and control techniques that could be applicable to Indian sites and facilitate the deployment of SMGs in India. To optimize the multiple generating resources and the varying loads to be served, TERI designed and developed the SMG system in one of its research facilities at TERI Retreat in Haryana, India.


Unique Features of the TERI SMG Model

The unique features of the TERI SMG model include the following:

  • Integrated multiple DERs to ensure maximum utilization of renewable energy sources

  • Performing resource and load profiling, controlling, and forecasting

  • Centralized control (intelligent dispatch controller) for resource optimization and demand management

  • Initiated load prioritization—total loads were classified into critical, essential, and nonessential loads

  • Integrated, high-speed, FPGA-based digital communication using LabVIEW system design software for acquiring data and sending and receiving controls

  • Completing real-time data acquisition and monitoring of several electrical, weather, and physical parameters through installed sensors

  • Minimizing outages and fast responses to network disturbances through automatic connect/disconnect of system components

The TERI SMG system also integrated the following DERs:

  • 10.5 kWP solar photovoltaic (crystalline silicon-based solar module) systems installed on the roof of the north block of the TERI Retreat

  • 2 kWP solar photovoltaic (crystalline silicon-based solar module) systems installed on the roof of the Biomass Gasifier building

  • 1 kWP thin-film-based solar photovoltaic system on the roof of the south block of the TERI Retreat

  • 3.3 kW wind turbine generator (WTG)

  • 100 kW biomass gasifier (woody) system in the Biomass Gasifier building

  • Battery bank of 48 V, 600 Ah for energy storage

  • Diesel generators and a utility grid

The TERI Retreat is a residential, multifacility complex equipped with modern facilities including conference halls, official and residential premises, laboratories, and sports grounds. The electricity demand of the complex varies widely depending on the season, occupancy level of the residential premises, the number of conferences being held, and several other factors.


Original Authors:

Alekhya Datta, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

Edited by Cyth Systems







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