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A MicroGrid is an electrical distribution network consisted of distributed generators, local loads, and energy storage systems that can operate in grid-connected or islanded modes. Different technologies are combined together, such us power converters, control, communications, optimization, and so on. This way the energy can be generated and stored near to the consumption points, improving the stability and reducing the losses produced by the large power lines. The core research areas that will be presented in this Key Note are the following:
AC MicroGrids: conventional islanded systems to support AC loads are demanded in several areas such as islands, rural and remote areas. DC MicroGrids: next low-voltage distribution systems and microgrids will be based on DC, since many generators, storages and loads operate in DC, such photovoltaics, batteries, supercapacitors, LEDs, laptops, and electronic equipment. Modelling: generators, energy storage systems, loads, power electronics interfaces, and electrical distribution networks needs for comprehensive models with different levels, frequency ranges, and time scales. Control and operation: new local, distributed, and hierarchical controllers are needed in MicroGrid applications, regarding the different operation modes of both system and units. Energy storage: small dispersed energy storage units need to be combined and coordinated inertia-less MicroGrid. Standard-based information and communications technology: ICT is necessary for smart-metering and networked control systems applied to MicroGrids, including wireless communications, power line communications, bus signaling, and so on. Energy management systems and optimization: online and offline optimization systems are required to enhance MicroGrid operation regarding energy price, power losses, and economical aspects. Multi-agent systems (MAS) technologies: distributed control is a powerful tool for distributed energy systems like MicroGrids. Previous experiences in Danish electrical system like the Cell Controller project used MAS technologies to balance dispersed energy generation and consumption. Protections: since in a MicroGrid the power flow is multidirectional, protections cannot be perform as in the conventional power system in which power flow is unidirectional. Consequently, a fast communication layer is needed to coordinate all circuit breakers. Power quality: voltage and current harmonics and unbalances have to be taken into account in a MicroGrid due to the existence of nonlinear and/or single-phase loads. Coordination between power electronics converters is needed in order to enhance system power quality in a cooperative way.