Marine Energy Grid Interconnection and Microgrid Research

NREL is a key contributor to the grid interconnection of renewable generation and the development, validation, and deployment of hybrid renewable energy microgrids.

Two researchers look at a power grid projection.

Our grid interconnection work includes far-reaching studies that dive into the role of, and challenges related to, increasing amounts of renewable generation. More tailored analyses help marine energy developers better understand grid needs while informing their respective designs. NREL researchers partner with the U.S. Department of Energy, standards teams, technology developers, university researchers, independent system operators, and regional transmission organizations to accomplish this work.


Marine energy researchers leverage NREL's deep experience and broad capabilities in microgrid research to support the effective utilization of marine energy in a wide range of power systems—from small autonomous systems, to remote community islanded systems, and beyond.

  • Development of real-time power device and network software models for design and optimization
  • Interfacing and validation of watt to megawatt-scale power hardware
  • Real-time power simulations across a range of timescales, from sub-cycle electromagnetic transients to quasi-steady-state power flow simulations
  • Grid operations market simulations that help stakeholders understand the value of their technologies current and forward-looking electricity markets
  • Co-simulation involving hardware and software subsystems across multiple physical locations
  • Inclusion of real-time models from other domains, such as communication networks and building and thermal systems, in power-hardware-in-the-loop simulations via co-simulation
  • Transient studies that help developers and utilities understand the advantages and challenges of integrating marine energy into their grids
  • Development of power electronic converters and control algorithms for microgrid integration
  • Controller hardware-in-the-loop validation, where the physical controller interacts with a model of the microgrid and associated power devices
  • Power hardware-in-the-loop validation of microgrid hardware
  • Hybrid grid and microgrid validation, including the integration of wind turbines, PV, dynamometers, loads, and energy storage.


NREL's Controllable Grid Interface Saves Time and Resources, Improves Reliability of Renewable Energy Technologies, Fact Sheet (2015)

Continuously Optimized Reliable Energy Microgrid: Models and Tools, Fact Sheet (2013)


Ben McGilton

Researcher III, Electrical Engineering