Microgrid Design Using DER-CAM

The use of microgrids to improve the reliability, resiliency and efficiency of the electrical power grid is a concept that is gaining popularity and is expected to continue to receive attention in coming years.
Central Hudson Gas & Electric (CHG&E) in New York has been proactive in this area and is now taking steps to get approval for the use of microgrids as a service to customers. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) are supporting CHG&E in this endeavor and are conducting a feasibility study using the DER-CAM microgrid model.

One of the issues that must be addressed to enable the successful deployment of microgrids is how to optimize the design to meet performance expectations while minimizing cost. LBNL has developed the DER-CAM software as a tool to aid in this optimization process. The Distributed Energy Resources Customer Adoption Model (DER-CAM) is an economic and environmental model that can be applied to microgrids. DER-CAM has been recently upgraded with microgrid specific applications. It optimizes generation and loads, either for individual customer sites or a microgrid. To achieve this objective, the following issues are addressed:

  • Which is the lowest-cost combination of distributed generation technologies that a specific customer can install?
  • What is the appropriate level of installed capacity of these technologies that minimizes cost?
  • How should the installed capacity be operated so as to minimize the total customer energy bill?

LBNL also conducts first order engineering and economic analyses of microgrid development options for the St. Elizabeth’s campus in Washington, DC. The application is well suited to supporting community efforts to design and implement microgrid projects. On behalf of the project team at the District of Columbia Department of General Services (DGS) the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) works with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to transfer the DER-CAM tool to COG for use in analyzing microgrid projects in Washington, DC and the region. COG works with an engineering team from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to use the DER-CAM tool to evaluate microgrid options for the campus. LBNL will transfer DER-CAM to DC, provide training, and assist in the microgrid analysis.


  • Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
  • Central Hudson Gas & Electric (CHG&E)
  • Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG)