From local utility grids to electric ships, providing power to an ever increasing variety and magnitude of loads requires power grids that are more flexible, resilient, and efficient than ever before. In many cases, these systems must serve loads that are nearly equal to and occasionally exceed peak generation capacity. As a result, it is critical that these power systems and their controls are analyzed with high-fidelity models validated through component and system level testing. The University of Texas’ megawatt scale MVDC/HFAC power system testbed supports Navy programs and other research on isolated power systems. Testing completed to date includes model validation of a high fidelity model of series dc arc faults, investigation of rapid power transfer among multiple loads and sources, and coordination of energy storage.
While the CEM’s in-house microgrid is already one of the largest in the country, additional upgrade activities are currently underway. The Center is currently engaged in facility upgrades not only to expand the size of the microgrid from 1MW to 3MW, but also to expand its HIL testing capabilities. During Summer 16’ engineers and students will be hard at work integrating a real-time simulator, a FPGA cluster, along with 10 Semikron Semistack RE converter modules. Once complete, the CEM microgrid will one of the largest flexible testbeds capable of testing a full range of AC power systems, and conducting HIL testing of emerging power grid devices.