The next generation Smart Grid is the convergence of Information and Communication Technology with Power System Engineering.

The three research themes of NSGM-Net reflected this interdisciplinary nature.


Jump to Theme 2 and Theme 3. Read the Network Annual Reports.

1. Operation, control and protection of smart microgrids

Theme 1 was led by Dr. Reza Iravani at University of Toronto. The four projects in this theme were focused on the electrical engineering issues involved in Canadian urban, rural and remote microgrids.

Unlike their European counterparts, Canadian grids operate a large number of weak, long, radial distribution systems and have little or no experience operating microgrids. The research in this theme will seek to overcome operation, control and protection challenges that are required to enable deployment of distributed generation units and integration of electric vehicles in smart microgrids.

Project 1.1 Remote Smart Microgrids

Led by Dr Amirnaser Yazdani at Ryerson University, this project was aimed at

  • developing a robust and fault tolerant control strategy for remote microgrids
  • developing supervisory control to maximize depth of penetration of DER units
  • identifying reliable ICT and back-up algorithms to ensure reliability of supply


Project 1.2 Distributed and Hybrid Control

Led by Dr Reza Iravani at University of Toronto, this project was aimed at

  • delivering control strategies for single and cluster microgrids
  • developing improved interfaces and decision support systems
  • optimising operational microgrid scenarios, based on sensing and metering


Project 1.3 Disturbance Detection, Diagnosis and Protection

Led by Dr Wilsun Xu at University of Alberta, this project was developed to

  • provide strategies monitor signals and extract information at distributed nodes
  • identify status and operational requirements at the microgrid PoCC
  • specify advanced technologies for active islanding detection


Project 1.4 Operational Strategies to Address High Penetration of DG Units in Microgrids

Led by Dr Geza Joós at McGill University, this project aimed to

  • identify technical issues and constraints of existing standards
  • develop models for assessment of the various electrical and thermal issues
  • develop strategies to maximize overall efficiency


2. Smart microgrid planning, optimization and regulatory issues

Theme 2 was led by Dr Geza Joós at McGill University. The four projects in this theme were focused on the overall technical and economic justification of microgrids, and their interactions with the main grid.

The direct benefits to Canada of this theme were in providing tools to quantify the benefits of implementing microgrids, while the indirect benefits were the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through enabling new renewable generation, and improved flexibility and resilience of the distribution grid.

Theme 2 relied on the knowledge provided by Theme 1 on the internal operation of the microgrid, and on tools and systems supplied under Theme 3 related to information and communication technologies.

Project 2.1 Cost-Benefit Framework: Secondary Benefits and Ancillary Services

Led by Dr Geza Joós at McGill University, this project was aimed at

  • establishing a comprehensive list of all primary and secondary benefits, and a framework for quantifying benefits
  • developing a methodology for allocating the economic value to benefits to various stakeholders
  • developing mechanisms to exploit the operational and financial value of these benefits


Project 2.2 Energy and Supply Security Considerations

Led by Dr Reza Iravani at University of Toronto, this project was designed to

  • quantify the impact of a large penetration of microgrids on the performance of interconnected power systems
  • determine new regulatory guidelines required for a large penetration of microgrids


Project 2.3 Demand Response Technologies and Strategies

Led by Dr Kankar Bhattacharya at University of Waterloo this project was developed to:

  • determine the overall sustainability of microgrid deployment
  • design energy-aware scheduling algorithms
  • optimize internal microgrid load balancing


Project 2.4 Integration Design Guidelines and Performance Metrics

Led by Dr Ani Gole at University of Manitoba this project was designed to

  • define the control and communication layers
  • determine modeling requirements
  • develop models appropriate for different operating scenarios
  • produce relevant and universally usable study cases


3. Intelligent Microgrid Communication and Information Technologies

Theme 3 was led by Dr Julian Meng at University of New Brunswick. The four projects in this theme were focused on innovative network architectures to support seamless exchange of data and commands between participants in the smart grid network.

Unlike traditional grid control strategies based on hierarchical models, Canada’s smart grid will rely a distributed system of command and control. Given the enormity of data produced by arrays of sensors, smart meters, intelligent electronic devices (IEDs) and substation equipment it would no longer be practical to rely on a centralized control hierarchy. Instead, the required intelligence is inserted at the appropriate nodes of the system, so that operational and control decisions can be taken at the node level, based on local data and global control attributes.

Theme 3 supported the establishment of cost effective and efficient communication infrastructure for Canada’s intelligent microgrid future.

Project 3.1 Universal Communication Infrastructure

Led by Dr Fabrice Labeau at University of McGill, this project was aimed at

  • developing a media-agnostic topology for smart grid networks and associated protocols
  • focusing on seamless exchange of data and command through hybrid technologies
  • researching robust authentication methods associated with various access functionality


Project 3.2 Grid Integration Requirements, Standards, Codes and Regulations

Led by Dr Tho Le-Ngoc at McGill University, this project focused on

  • suitable communication technologies for smart microgrids
  • standards for end-to-end messaging
  • efficient protocols for distribution automation within and across integrated microgrids


Project 3.3 Distribution Automation Communications

Led by Dr Julian Meng at University of New Brunswick, this project was aimed at

  • developing a technology-agnostic topology for intelligent sensor networks
  • assessing cost-effective technologies for intelligent sensor networks
  • developing an optimal real-time operating system (RTOS) to support the sensor network profile


Project 3.4 Integrated Data Management and Portals

Led by Dr Hassan Farhangi at British Columbia Institute of Technology, this project focused on

  • the structure of intelligent agents at various command and control layers within and across smart microgrids
  • scalable multi-port database architecture to support energy management applications
  • platform-dependent architectures for user and utility portals


Annual Reports

  1. NSMG-Net Research Report 2010-2011
  2. NSMG-Net Research Report 2011-2012
  3. NSMG-Net Research Report 2012-2013
  4. NSMG-Net Research Report 2013-2014
  5. NSMG-Net Research Report 2014-2015