Microgrids & Vehicle-Grid Integration

Microgrids and Vehicle-Grid Integration
The Microgrids and Vehicle-Grid research team studies customer adoption patterns of microgrid technologies, controllers and enables vehicle-grid integration.

Microgrid Research

A microgrid consists of energy generation and energy storage that can power a building, campus, or community when not connected to the electric grid, e.g. in the event of a disaster. Microgrids have obvious benefits in powering critical resources such as hospitals in the event of planned or unplanned grid outages. Renewable sources of generation such as PV have benefits over diesel generators in that they don’t emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other pollutants, and they don’t require transport of fuel that may be restricted in a disaster event. Renewable microgrids can operate year-round to reduce energy costs and emissions and to provide emergency power resources.

The Grid Integration Group (GIG) has created the DER-CAM platform to optimally design, plan, and operate microgrids and has real-world experience developing optimization algorithms for microgrid control. GIG is a leader in creating control and optimization solutions and demonstrating these solutions in real-world vehicle-grid and microgrid applications that reveal control, optimization, hardware, and software challenges that are not anticipated through simulation alone. Human behavior and system performance issues can often only be identified and addressed in the types of real-world tests and demonstrations performed by GIG.

Vehicle to Grid Integration ResearchElectric Vehicles Charging

Increasing penetration of renewable energy and electrifying transportation are major components of aggressive state and federal GHG reduction initiatives. High penetration of renewable energy (RE) requires energy storage, which electric vehicles (EVs) can provide. EVs have the potential to provide needed storage, but present unique challenges in that they are not in fixed locations, not continuously connected, and must meet transportation needs. High penetration of EVs require charging control that minimizes the impact on distribution points and the grid overall.

Beyond minimizing the impact of electrified transport on the grid, EVs can benefit the grid by providing needed grid services and demand response (DR) resources. The uncertain impact that REs and EVs will have on net loads (i.e. the “duck” curve) requires automated control of DR resources. GIG’s research focuses on EVs as storage and vehicle to grid integration, EV smart charging and DR, Automated DR technologies, tools, and standards (OpenADR).


Resilient Modular Replicable Microgrids (R2M2)

Resilient Modular Replicable Microgrids (R2M2) at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area: This CEC EPIC funded demonstration project will integrate three critical innovations to maximize resiliency, commercial viability, and uptake by California military bases: (1) Islandable microgrid meeting critical loads with 100% renewable generation with a 2 MW PV array and a 2 MW/4MWh battery, and a supervisory DER-CAM.OS control system optimal DER control and market interface (2) Modular, nested, replicable architecture—medium- to low-voltage Integrated Resilient Nodes (IRN), that also enable conversion of older base electric systems to robust modern microgrids and a 100 kilowatt (kW) PV and 100 kW/420 kWh battery capable of islanding individual critical buildings (3) Business model innovation using a cost-effective scalable packaged microgrid solution that enables demand savings, revenue generation and deferment of upgrades for both the substation and military base.

Market Participation/Grid Interaction Graphic

Controls for Connected Microgrids

There are multiple challenges that communities, campuses and military facilities face in implementing islandable microgrids with one of the most significant being cost. Currently, these entities consider the capability to island only at the point of common coupling with the utility grid in case of a grid outage, which requires larger more expensive power electronics. Renewable energy goals and a desire for greater on-site power generation and lower dependence on diesel fuel for back-up generators requires installation of photovoltaic (PV) panels, battery energy storage systems (BESSs) or other distributed energy resources (DER). The technology proposed here will enable the implementation of smaller microgrids that provide resilience for critical and non-critical loads in a staged approach that lowers costs and spreads those costs out over longer periods. The main objectives of this DoD ESTCP funded project are to: 1) develop a standardized design of an Integrated Resilient Node (IRN) in different sizes, 2) develop a DER-CAM.OS supervisory controller that can control one or more islanded nodes, including power sharing between nodes, and 3) test and demonstrate the control solution in multiple applications and use cases using LBNL’s existing hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) equipped FLEXGrid facility.

FLEXGrid test facility with DERs, real-time simulator, load simulator, grid emulator, rooftop PV, inverter, and BESS.

Berkeley Lab’s FLEXGrid test facility with DERs, real-time simulator, load simulator, grid emulator, rooftop PV, inverter, and BESS.


FLEXGrid test facility DERs - Inverter and switchgear, rooftop PV and batteries & voltage source.

Berkeley Lab’s FLEXGrid test facility DERs—Inverter and switchgear, rooftop PV, and batteries and voltage source.

Fleet/Workplace/Public Smart EV Charging

This California Energy Commission EPIC funded project developed and deployed a smart charging system for minimizing charging costs for fleet electric vehicles (EVs) and EVs charging at public stations. The demonstration leveraged the inherent flexibility in the time and rate of EV charging to decrease utility electric costs of EV charging. The smart charging control system was applied to a fleet of approximately 50 EVs owned by Alameda County and to charging stations that are used both by Alameda County vehicles and by the public including a DC fast charging station capable of charging at up to 50 kW. The project supplements Alameda County’s existing infrastructure investments by adding systems for intelligent optimization of EV charging rates and schedules, simple EV owner engagement, and control algorithms to create a flexible, modular, and scalable solution for smart charging of existing and future fleet and public EVs.


  • Monthly cost of controlled fleet charging sessions was reduced by 15% to 30%
  • Average cost saving per fleet charging session: $2.40 per session ($3.20 per session in summer, $1.40 per session in winter)
  • Linking fleet vehicle trip management with smart charging control would improve performance and further lower fleet EV charging costs
  • Monthly cost of public charging was reduced by 2% to 16%
  • Project demonstrated that communicating with customers can be done with fairly simple and inexpensive text messaging
  • Demonstrated feasibility of remote optimization and control of public charging sessions with no stranded drivers
  • Monthly cost of DC fast charging sessions reduced by 10% to 14%
  • Approach to reduce demand of level 2 fleet charging sessions during DCFC sessions is very inexpensive, especially compared to stationary battery storage

Vehicle-Grid Ancillary Services Market Participation

Created optimization and control system for largest vehicle-to-grid integration demonstration to date with 29 bi-directional charge/discharge EVs participating in day-ahead CAISO ancillary services regulation (up and down) market that required 4-second response.

Images of Vehicles Charging

Electricity Market Participation

  1. ADMS
  2. Microgrid and V2G demos
  3. Demand Response


Power Systems Simulation

Power Systems Simulation

  1. Standardization of simulation interfaces (CyDER; FMI-standard)
  2. Large-scale co-simulation of DERs (CEC Smart Inverter; CyDER)
  3. Interconnection Studies (PG&E, Indiana State)