Virtual Power Plants (VPPs)

It’s not a new concept but the details are complex and intriguing. If technical issues are solved VPPs could be a significant, even game changing factor in the energy mix providing additional capacity and helping to distribute load both at local and national scales. What’s a VPP? The idea goes back a long way. When wind and solar farms were first deployed one obvious draw back was that as single entities, they were of relatively small capacity. If it were possible to connect them in some way so that the total output was something close to a traditional power station, then controlling that aggregated output would be far more effective. With the proliferation of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs), VPPs have grown to include a wide variety of flexible generation assts which can serve short term balancing markets and ancillary services (such as frequency regulation). It’s a great concept which has been deployed successfully. However, VPPs gained an important flexibility dimension with the addition of Demand Side Response (DSR), also known as Demand Response. To define flexibility briefly: it’s a broad term used to describe the ability of assets to ramp up and down in near real-time. Capable assets include hydroelectric,… continue reading

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