Cyber-Physical Microgrids: Toward Future Resilient Communities
Authors: Tuyen V. Vu, Bang L.H. Nguyen, Zheyuan Cheng, Mo-Yuen Chow and Bin Zhang
Extended Abstract: Microgrids are the most promising component of the power system capable of ensuring resilient energy services for critical infrastructure that is impacted by either natural disasters or man-made incidents. Microgrids can be isolated from large-scale power transmission/distribution systems (macrogrids) to deliver energy to their local communities using local energy resources and distribution systems when power outages occur in the macrogrids. In such situations, microgrids could be considered as the last available resource to provide energy to critical infrastructure. Research in monitoring and control of microgrids has been ongoing for the last two decades to protect and enhance communities’ socio-economic performance. However, of increasing concern are the possible cyber-physical threats that could disrupt the provision of macrogrids’ energy services to critical infrastructure and consequently impact the resilience and sustainability of communities. As cyber-physical systems, microgrids are not immune to these threats. Advanced monitoring and control are critical for real-time operations of microgrids and, therefore, directly influence communities’ resilience. Research trends in monitoring have recently shifted from normal situational awareness in forecasting, state estimation, and prediction to anomalies’ analysis and cyber-physical attacks’ detection to support resilient control systems. To respond to estimated or forecasted events, resilient control systems to ensure optimal power flow and guarantee system voltage and frequency stability are desired. Although these monitoring and control systems have been investigated in power distribution and transmission systems, their applicability to and challenges for microgrids need to be addressed. Critically, there is not yet a widely accepted (consensus) definition, analytical methods, and associated metrics to consistently describe the resilience of power grids, especially for microgrids. This issue is tightly related to cyber-social-physical system design, monitoring, and control of microgrids. Therefore, future research should consider (1) cyber-physical situational awareness and resilient control systems to guard against malicious activities for microgrids, (2) the need for a standardized resilience framework for comprehensive and consistent resilience research in different monitoring and control layers of microgrids, (3) distinguishing and clarifying the definition of resilience for microgrids versus for distribution and transmission systems, and (4) human behavior in the system monitoring and control designs.