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Grid connection of renewable energy sources (RESs), such as wind and solar, is becoming today an important form of distributed generation (DG). The penetration of these DG units into electrical microgrids (MGs) is growing rapidly, enabling reaching high percentage of the installed generating capacity. However, the fluctuating and intermittent nature of this renewable generation causes variations of power flow that can significantly affect the stability and operation of the electrical grid. To overcome these problems, short-term distributed energy storage (DES) systems based on advanced technologies, such as superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES), supercapacitor (or ultracapacitor) energy storage (SCES or UCES) and flywheel energy storage (FES), arise as a potential alternative in order to balance any instantaneous mismatch between supply and demand in the microgrid. This paper is intended to offer a major insight into the emerging energy storage technologies for smart microgrid applications. The work provides a unique comprehensive analysis of both the modeling and the control design of leading emerging DES devices.