Microgrids can be used for securing the supply of power during network outages. Underground cabling of distribution networks is another effective but conventional and expensive alternative to enhance the reliability of the power supply. This paper first presents an analysis method for the determination of microgrid power supply adequacy during islanded operation and, second, presents a comparison method for the overall cost calculation of microgrids versus underground cabling. The microgrid power adequacy during a rather long network outage is required in order to indicate high level of reliability of the supply. The overall cost calculation considers the economic benefits and costs incurred, combined for both the distribution network company and the consumer. Whereas the microgrid setup determines the islanded-operation power adequacy and thus the reliability of the supply, the economic feasibility results from the normal operations and services. The methods are illustrated by two typical, and even critical, case studies in rural distribution networks: an electric-heated detached house and a dairy farm. These case studies show that even in the case of a single consumer, a microgrid option could be more economical than network renovation by underground cabling of a branch in order to increase the reliability.
- battery energy storage system (BESS)
- distribution network
- islanded operation
- micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP)
- network outage
- photovoltaics (PV)
- underground cable