Integration of distributed energy resources in isolated microgrids: the Colombian paradigm
The electrification of rural or isolated areas coupled with increasing environmental concerns have promoted the emergence of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and the operation by isolated microgrids. However, the integration of such resources involves technical issues related to the reliability and continuity of the electricity supply. Indeed, the uncertainty of renewable generation sources and the reduced inertia of isolated microgrids are challenges for the operation of these distribution systems. One way to address them is by providing ancillary services through all the resources involved in the system’s operation (generation assets, demand share, and storage systems). Accordingly, this paper first presents a literature review of the challenges and potential benefits of integrating DERs into the operation of a distribution system. It also includes some common strategies to mitigate the vulnerability of the introduction of these technologies in microgrids. Afterwards, the current state of each type of resource in Colombia is assessed. Finally, some basic strategies that enhance the benefits of DER integration are outlined along with the overcoming of challenges of microgrid operation in said country. To that end, we consider isolated Colombian regions to be natural laboratories where the effects of DER integration and the requirements for the operation by local production units can be analyzed.
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