Intellectual Merit: This project considers both theoretical and practical aspects of response, control, and status of the University of Hawai`i Manoa (UHM) campus electrical microgrid and studies its behavior when distributed renewable energy sources are added. This project will transform the UHM campus's electrical distribution network into a more modern, intelligent and responsive microgrid which relies on a greater share of locally generated energy and energy efficient practices. Three interlinked research projects will be integrated into the education program on smart grids, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. The first component assembles all relevant information about the state of the microgrid and surrounding environment. A second component models and analyzes the microgrid using probabilistic signal processing and networking models to accurately predict the state of the microgrid and detect anomalous events (e.g. ramps in amount of solar PV produced and electrical grid outages). Once accurate models are constructed and verified through simulations and data gathering, the third project provides decision-making capability for the microgrid using distributed control and optimization algorithms to create a secure and stable microgrid to reduces costs and energy use. Students and faculty will work in a newly created smart campus energy lab (SCEL) which will house the data and networking components of the UHM campus microgrid.
Broader Impacts: UHM researchers and students will be able to combine what they learn in the classroom with theoretical and practical research projects in the SCEL and on the UHM campus microgrid. This understanding and practical knowledge will lead to better insight on the design and integration of new technology for the microgrid and future utility-scale smart grids. Through collaborations with the Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program (NHSEMP) and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the project will also target underrepresented students. This project differs from other smart sustainable microgrids being deployed at other academic institutions and communities as our energy profile is unique (Hawaii pays the highest electricity prices in the nation), we will incorporate large shares of distributed renewable energy (rooftop PV), and Hawai`i has unique micro-climates (no heating and wide variability in rainfall and cloud cover).