August 20, 2015 By
Microgrids act as insurance if the central electric grid fails. So it’s fair to ask, how do you keep the microgrid from failing too?
It’s a legitimate worry since microgrids increasingly provide back-up power for critical facilities — hospitals, emergency services, telecommunications towers and the like.
This is an issue IPERC (short for Intelligent Power & Energy Research Corporation) has been grappling with for years. The military is one of the New York company’s main customers. So it has heavily focused on microgrid reliability and cybersecurity. IPERC designs mobile military microgrids to withstand harsh and hostile environments.
From all of this work, the company has come up with kind of back-up to the back-up, resiliency within the already resilient microgrid to serve not only the military, but also utilities, communities, campuses and others connected to the central grid.
Called Distributed Cyber-Secure Architecture, the system mimics within a microgrid the same philosophy that underlies distributed energy. Security lies in redundancy created by several self-sufficient operators that work together — rather than one central controller that may crash the whole system if it fails.
“I liken it to a big group hug,” said Peter Curtiss, IPERC technical director. “All of the computers get together and say what do we do that is in the best interest of this power network as a whole?”
IPERC has been working on the distributed architecture for a decade and offers it as part of its GridMaster microgrid control system. For full article.