Student Research Projects


Microgrid design for islanded communities is seeing renewed interest due to the increased accessibility of solar, wind, and energy storage technologies. Islanded communities are often economically disadvantaged, which requires cost-effective microgrid designs. This paper investigates the potential to achieve economic and environmental benefits via optimizing the sizing of various components of a renewable energy system. We used Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, Maine, USA as a testbed for developing an optimization framework. A system dynamics (SD) model was first developed to simulate the daily operation of the island microgrid system and then the model was calibrated and validated using historical data. A production probability frontier analysis was then conducted to co-optimize system costs, fossil fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions. We found that the greatest benefit is achieved when PV solar system size and battery size and panel numbers are co-optimized, for a fixed wind energy system size. As renewable energy systems such as wind, PV solar, and battery storage are introduced, fossil fuel consumption can be reduced significantly initially. Beyond a certain renewable energy system size, the reduction in fossil fuel consumption via increasing renewable energy becomes more costly. The model enables co-optimization of the economic and environmental performances of the microgrid.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Date of Publication or Presentation

Summer 6-23-2022

Project Type

Graduate Research Project

College or School


First Advisor

Martin Wosnik

Second Advisor

Weiwei Mo