LBNL Report Number
Optimal microgrid design is a challenging problem, especially for multi-energy microgrids with electricity, heating, and cooling loads as well as sources, and multiple energy carriers. To address this problem, this paper presents an optimization model formulated as a mixed-integer linear program, which determines the optimal technology portfolio, the optimal technology placement, and the associated optimal dispatch, in a microgrid with multiple energy types. The developed model uses a multi-node modeling approach (as opposed to an aggregate single-node approach) that includes electrical power flow and heat flow equations, and hence, offers the ability to perform optimal siting considering physical and operational constraints of electrical and heating/cooling networks. The new model is founded on the existing optimization model DER-CAM, a state-of-the-art decision support tool for microgrid planning and design. The results of a case study that compares single-node vs. multi-node optimal design for an example microgrid show the importance of multi-node modeling. It has been shown that single-node approaches are not only incapable of optimal DER placement, but may also result in sub-optimal DER portfolio, as well as underestimation of investment costs.