Autonomous Energy Grids: Controlling the Future Grid With Large Amounts of Distributed Energy Resources

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59 Scopus Citations


The drastic price reduction in variable renewable energy, such as wind and solar, coupled with the ease of use of smart technologies at the consumer level, is driving dramatic changes to the power system that will significantly transform how power is made, delivered, and used. Distributed energy resources (DERs)-which can include solar photovoltaic (PV), fuel cells, microturbines, gensets, distributed energy storage (e.g., batteries and ice storage), and new loads [e.g., electric vehicles (EVs), LED lighting, smart appliances, and electric heat pumps]-are being added to electric grids and causing bidirectional power flows and voltage fluctuations that can impact optimal control and system operation. Residential solar installations are expected to increase approximately 8% annually through 2050. Customer battery systems are anticipated to reach almost 1.9 GW by 2024, and current forecasts project that approximately 18.7 million EVs will be on U.S. roads in 2030. With numbers like these, it is not unreasonable to imagine a residential electricity customer having at least five controllable DERs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number9229208
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Power and Energy Magazine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2003-2012 IEEE.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-78467


  • autonomous systems
  • distributed power generation
  • electric vehicles
  • energy storage
  • load flow
  • power grids
  • renewable energy sources
  • transforms


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