Structured Microgrids: Ultimate Assets for Utilities

Structured microgrids (SMs) are natural vehicles for integrating renewable energy into grid. Early campus adaptors, such as combined heat and power, have demonstrated significant economical benefits while reducing environmental footprint. They bring tremendous benefits to utility companies also. For instance, with their storage and active control capabilities, a 300-percent increase in bulk transmission and distribution is possible without having to increase transmission capacity. Furthermore, they will also position the utility industry to be better prepared for the emerging huge increase in baseload demand from electric vehicles and data centers for big data. This is a win-win-win situation for the consumer, the utilities (grid operators), and the environment. SMs are also powerful in turning a common back-up power set from an idle asset to an active asset for revenue generation. The will also be valuable in power substation automation and for energy surety, reliability, resiliency and security. It is also shown that the initial cost associated with a SM deployment can be easily offset with reduced operating cost, which in turn reduces the total life cycle cost by 33% to 67%.


Don TanProf. Don Tan is NGAS Fellow and Power Products Manager. He earned his Ph.D. from Caltech and is IEEE Fellow. A leader in adiabatic power conversion and resilient energy systems, his pioneering innovations have led to 10 high-impact industry firsts with record performances. He has given more than 40 keynotes and invited presentations at top-tier international conferences. His research and technologies have attracted more than $28M funding and his products portfolio is worth more than $200M. He serves frequently on national and international review committees/selection panels.

His leadership and services include: IEEE Board of Directors (2017-2018), TAB Financial Transparency Ad Hoc (2016-present), TAB/PSPB Products (2016), TAB ARC (2015), Founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE JESTPE (2013–present), PELS Nomination Committee Chair (2015–2016), President (2013–2014), Vice President-Operations (2009–2012), Fellow Committee (2010–2013), Vice President-Meetings (2001–2004), APEC General Chair and Steering Committee Chair (1999-2000), Associated Editor for IEEE TPEL (1996–2000) and LAC Chapter Chair (1995-1999).

His recent recognitions include: IEEE PELS Harry J. Owen, Jr. Distinguished Service Award (2017), Engineering Choice Award (2014), Distinguished Engineer (2011), CIE USA Asian American Engineer of the Year (2010), AIAA Space System Award (2008), JANNAF Outstanding Achievement in Spacecraft Propulsion (2007), NGST(TRW) Distinguished Patent Award (2002) and President’s Award for Innovation (2002). His technologies were licensed to major international companies.