A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a system of distributed, medium-sized power generators, along with adaptable power consumers and storage systems. It can consist of various elements like electric vehicles (EVs) and charging stations, heat pumps, household appliances, HVAC systems, batteries, plug-in devices, and industrial machinery. Single-family homes, multi-family homes, offices, stores, factories, cars, trucks, and buses are all eligible participants in a VPP. With the consent of participants, utilities can access their energy during peak demand or reserve it for future use. Participants even receive compensation for their involvement.
Essentially, a VPP consists of numerous households and businesses contributing to the untapped potential of their thermostats, electric vehicles (EVs), appliances, batteries, and solar panels to assist the grid. These devices can be adjusted, discharged, or controlled as needed by the grid. When these devices are grouped and synchronized, they can offer similar energy services as a conventional power plant.
Objective of Virtual Power Plant (VPP)
VPPs can achieve a wide range of objectives. In essence, they aim to connect decentralized energy sources like wind farms, solar parks, and Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units to monitor, predict, optimize, and trade their power. This enables the balancing of fluctuations in renewable energy generation by adjusting the power production and consumption of controllable units.
Uses of VPPs
Beyond stabilizing power grids, VPPs also establish conditions for integrating renewable energies into markets. Individual small plants often cannot balance fluctuations in renewable energy generation. By consolidating power from multiple units, a VPP can provide the same services, redundancy, and trade on markets like large central power or industrial consumers.
VPPs can also aid regulators, utility planners or operators, and other grid stakeholders in tackling crucial grid challenges such as reliability, affordability, decarbonization, electrification, and health and equity.
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