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Forging ahead towards smart hybrid power grids

An EU-backed project prepares to test a new hybrid microgrid solution in Spain.

Digital Economy icon Digital Economy
Energy icon Energy

The majority of today’s power grids are based on alternating current (AC). However, renewable energy sources generate power in direct current (DC) and their storage systems use DC, too. Then there is the fact that most of our electricity consumption – through our computers, mobile phones and the batteries in our electric vehicles – is also in DC. In short, while the infrastructure may operate in AC, most of the elements use DC. Connecting DC-generated electricity to the AC-based main grid therefore often leads to multiple and inefficient conversions. Enter the EU-funded TIGON project that is designing a decentralised hybrid AC/DC system that will make power grid supply more reliable, resilient and cost-efficient. Now, 2 years into the project, TIGON researchers have published a paper describing a new case study for AC/DC microgrids in Spain. The demo site where the hybrid microgrid will be tested is the Centre for the Development of Renewable Energy, which is part of TIGON project partner Centre for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research, Spain. The Spanish case study is one of two within the project. The developed solutions will also be tested at a demo site in France, then replicated in Bulgaria and Finland. The solutions comprise eight microgrid software and hardware components currently being developed. The hardware includes a solid-state transformer, silicon carbide DC/DC converters, DC protection schemes and a medium-voltage DC photovoltaic plant. Software solutions include wide area monitoring protection and control, an energy management system, a decision support tool for DC-based grids and a cybersecurity defence system.

First in-person meeting

In October 2022, halfway through the 4-year project, the TIGON team met in person for the first time in Thessaloniki, Greece, to gauge overall progress. Hosted by TIGON project partner Centre for Research & Technology Hellas, the team members discussed aspects such as data handling and demonstration monitoring, as well as pathways to market and intellectual property. “The project is generally unfolding according to plan and it’s great to meet the team face to face finally,” states project manager Montserrat Lanero of TIGON coordinator Research Centre for Energy Resources and Consumption, Spain, in a news item posted on the project website. “Now our sights are set on preparing TIGON solutions for their deployment at the demo sites so that we can start the operation of these sites, which will be a major new phase in TIGON.” The TIGON (Towards Intelligent DC-based hybrid Grids Optimizing the network performance) project has also been included in a good practice brochure published by the Renewable Grid Initiative (RGI). The RGI brings together NGOs and transmission system operators from across Europe with the aim of promoting fair, transparent and sustainable grid development. The TIGON project is featured on page 28 of the brochure. For more information, please see: TIGON project website


TIGON, microgrid, grid, renewable, alternative current, AC, direct current, DC, energy

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