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This paper presents a new method based on the cost-benefit analysis for optimal sizing of an energy storage system in a microgrid (MG). The unit commitment problem with spinning reserve for MG is considered in this method. Time series and feed-forward neural network techniques are used for forecasting the wind speed and solar radiations respectively and the forecasting errors are also considered in this paper. Two mathematical models have been built for both the islanded and grid-connected modes of MGs. The main problem is formulated as a mixed linear integer problem (MLIP), which is solved in AMPL (A Modeling Language for Mathematical Programming). The effectiveness of the approach is validated by case studies where the optimal system energy storage ratings for the islanded and grid-connected MGs are determined. Quantitative results show that the optimal size of BESS exists and differs for both the grid-connected and islanded MGs in this paper.