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2014-02: Microgrids – the building block of a smarter grid
June 2-4, 2014


INESC Porto - Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto


The deployment of Smart Grid (SG) implies major changes in the operation and planning of distribution systems, particularly in the Low Voltage (LV) networks. The majority of small scale Distributed Energy Resources (DER) – Electric Vehicles (EV), microgeneration, storage units and flexible loads – are connected to LV networks, requiring local control solutions to mitigate technical problems resulting from its integration. Simultaneously, LV DER can be aggregated in small cells in order to globally provide new functionalities to system operators. Microgrids enable the optimal integration of consumers and the grid through the integration of variable renewable energy resources with dynamic demand strategies from demand response and electric vehicle recharging services, while reducing peak demand and stabilizing the electricity system. The coordination of MG local resources, through an appropriated network of controllers and communication system, endows the LV system with sufficient autonomy to operate interconnected to the upstream network or autonomously – emergency operation. Autonomous operation became a matter of utmost interest since in this way an increase on the resilience of the electric grid can be obtained, allowing self-healing following disturbances on the grid and capacity to feed consumers following natural disasters.

Local Organizing Committee

João Peças Lopes received the Licenciado and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, in 1981 and 1988, respectively. Since 2008, he has been a full Professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto. He is currently the Director of the Ph.D. Program on Sustainable Energy Systems of the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto. He is also a Director of the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto (INESC Porto). He was responsible for INESC Porto activities in several EU financed research projects, and he is author or co-author of more than 200 papers, having supervised more than 25 Ph.D. and M.S. theses.
Carlos Moreira received the License and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, in 2003 and 2008, respectively. Since 2010 he is the Smart Grid Area leader in the Power Systems Unit of the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering of Porto (INESC Porto). He is also assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of University of Porto since 2008. His main research interests are focused on microgrids dynamics and control, smart grids and smart metering.


Nikos Hatziargyriou, NTUA
Josep Guerrero, University of Aalborg
Pierluigi Mancarella, University of Manchester
Federico Silvestro, University of Genova
Miguel Castilla, UPC
Joel Soares, INESC Porto
André Madureira, INESC Porto
Clara Gouveia, INESc Porto
David Rua, INESC Porto


Day 1-Concepts and architectures

(9h00 –9h15) Course Opening (João Peças Lopes and Carlos Moreira)
(9h15 –10h30) Microgrids – a general overview (Nikos Hatziargyriou)
Microgrids: definitions and architectures. Hierarchical and distributed control architectures. The role of the Microgrid with the Smart Grid. Microgrids International research activities. Hybrid microgrids. Future developments.
(10h30-11h00) Coffee-break
(11h00-13h00) Multi-energy microgrids (Pierluigi Mancarella)
General aspects of and benefits from the coordinated interaction of electricity and other energy vectors (particularly various fuels on the supply side and heat and cooling of the demand side) at an LV level. Impact of electro-thermal technologies (micro-CHP, heat pumps, etc) in LV networks and need for and benefits from controllability. Flexibility from multi-energy resources in a microgrid to provide upstream services to the power system (balancing, reserves, capacity support, etc). Value flow mapping for different actors and business cases in multi-energy microgrids. UK demo cases.
(13h00-14h30) Lunch
(14h30-16h00) Advanced Models and Algorithms for Demand Participation in Electricity Markets (Joel Soares)
Models and algorithms to manage controlled loads will be presented. Different methods with different goals will be extensively discussed and described, such as using demand response to minimize the energy price, maximize the integration of renewable energy and minimize the peak demand. The use of physically-based models in order to consider consumer comfort will be also addressed when developing the referred methods.
(16h00-16h30) Coffee-break
(16h30–18h00) Demand response management and storage integration in microgrid environment (Federico Silvestro)
Flexibility in management of electric distribution networks is more and more important due to large penetration of renewable energy sources (RES). In this context, it is necessary to systematically use demand response with all the different techniques available in smartgrids, such as load balancing, load shifting and peak shaving in order to perform an intelligent management of loads (ILM).
The contribution will focus on integration of demand side management (large buildings, heat pumps, electric vehicles, etc.) with renewable resources including the use of storage in microgrid operation.

Day 2 – Microgrids Operation and Control

(9h00 –11h00) Power converters modelling and operation (Miguel Castilla)
Power converters are a key element in the operation and performance of microgrids. This module introduces the basic concepts, operational modes, and control structures for power converters intended for microgrid applications. Also the module presents the fundamental tools for the modelling of power converters. Several examples will be examined in detail, including the modelling of grid-forming and grid-feeding power converters. Other examples showing the differences between models derived for control design and for simulation purposes will also be presented.
(11h00-11h30) Coffee-break
(11h30-13h00) Microgrids islanding operation (Clara Gouveia)
The implementation of the MG concept provides self-healing capabilities to the distribution network, due to its ability of operating autonomously from the main grid and the possibility of implementing local service restoration strategies. However, MG stability relies on the effectiveness of voltage and frequency regulation strategies, which have to be compatible with the MS and energy storage units’ operational characteristics. Additionally, when operating islanded from the main grid, the MG is more sensitive to voltage unbalance problems caused by the uneven connection of single-phase loads, MS and single-phase EV chargers
In this context, the MG hierarchical management and control structure will be revisited, discussing both local and centralized frequency and voltage balancing control strategies. The integration of SG new players like the EV and emergency demand response control schemes for both islanded operation and restoration procedures will also be presented.
When studying the MG autonomous operation and local restoration procedures it is necessary to study the MG dynamic behaviour under unbalanced conditions. A brief description of the dynamic models of the MG components will also be presented, including the implementation of the MG emergency regulation functionalities and voltage balancing mechanisms.

(13h00-14h30) Lunch
(14h30-16h30) DC Microgrids (Josep Guerrero)
DC distribution and transmission systems are a trend in future and present electrical networks. The focus of this topic is based on modeling, control and operation of DC microgrids, starting with stability analysis and control strategies, such as DC droop control, virtual impedances, and distributed and hierarchical control strategies. Further, control of DC-DC and AC-DC converters acting as DC microgrids interfaces and bridges are evaluated. The topic also shows examples of DC microgrids and its application in telecommunication systems or residential DC electrical distribution system and hybrid AC-DC microgrids.
(16h30-17h00) Coffee-break
(17h00-18h30) Extending the concept: multi-microgrids (André Madureira)
The widespread deployment of the microgrid concept will lead to the presence of several LV networks that can be regarded as active cells controlled by the Distribution System Operator. In order to take advantage of this new flexibility at the LV level, it is necessary to fully integrate the microgrid concept in the DSO control and management architecture in a coordinated way within the new smart grid paradigm.
Furthermore, new advanced control functionalities at higher voltage levels (i.e., MV and HV) should be developed in order to foster the integration of high levels of Distributed Generation, mostly based on Renewable Energy Sources. These algorithms should be able to exploit then Distributed Energy Resources at the various voltage levels to support distribution network operation as a whole.

Day 3 - Smart Grid laboratory development and live demonstration

(9h00 –10h30) Smart Grids Communications Architectures and Solutions (David Rua)
Identification of the main architectures and models tailored for the ICT for the smart grids. The need for models that integrate technical and market operations and account for the use of public or private communications networks. Identification of the requirements introduced by the different applications envisaged for the smart grid. Geographical characterization of distribution networks to identify the context upon which communication systems have to operate in the last-mile. Simulation tools for evaluating the impact of communication systems in microgrid control schemes, from the electric power system perspective and from the communications networks perspective.
(10h30-11h00) Coffee-break
(11h00-12h30) Development of a microgrid laboratory (Clara Gouveia, David Rua)
Envisioning the development of advanced experimental infrastructures for feasibility demonstration of MG operation, INESC Porto implemented the Microgrids and Electric Vehicles laboratory, which exploits the distinctive control and management solutions for EV and microgeneration units discussed throughout the course. The laboratory integrates commercially available components as well as hardware and software prototypes developed according to specific strategies envisioned for the active integration of EV and microgeneration for MG operation.
Under this module, the laboratory infrastructure will be presented, focusing in the implementation of the MG management and control architecture and communication system. The specification and development of the microgeneration and EV prototypes and its voltage and frequency control strategies will also be presented.

(13h00-14h30) Lunch
(14h30-16h30) Microgrid operation and control under interconnected and islanding conditions – live demonstration in the laboratory (Clara Gouveia, David Rua)
The MG and electric mobility laboratory offers a wide range of experimental testing capabilities for the three main areas of knowledge involved in the smart grid concept namely power systems, power electronics and communication technologies. One of its main advantages is the possibility of performing a wide variety of MG operating tests, integrating commercial equipment and the software and hardware pre-prototypes that were developed.
Under this module the participants will be able to visit the laboratorial infrastructures and participate in a set of experimental tests which demonstrate the feasibility of the MG operation both in interconnected and islanded mode of operation. The MG interconnected tests will focus on the coordination of microgeneration units and EV performing voltage control in Low Voltage networks. In islanded mode the main focus relies in the validation of MG primary and secondary frequency control schemes when considering the EV in grid supporting functionalities.

(16h30-17h00) Final discussion and course closure (João Peças Lopes and Carlos Moreira)
General discussion on the future of Microgrids considering the foreseen Smart Grid deployment.


The course will take place at INESC Porto buildings and Labs, situated in the Campus of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, in Porto, Portugal -

Course fees

Course fees will include lectures, course aids (lectures on CDs, leaflets, brochures, etc.), coffee breaks, three lunches and a course dinner in a restaurant.
An invoice will be given to each registered participant during the Course.
Payments are requested before the beginning of the Course.
To register, please fill in the FORM

Accommodation and further information

See the Leaflet