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Virtual Power Plants Could be the Future of Distributed Energy



More grid power failures are likely: a distributed network is the only solution

If you have heard about the concept of a VPP, it is most likely that you read about a Tesla Virtual Power Plant. A virtual power plant (VPP) is a system that uses a network of decentralized energy resources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and energy storage systems, to generate electricity.

These resources are connected and controlled through a central management system, which allows them to operate as a single, coordinated entity.

The goal of a VPP is to provide a reliable and cost-effective source of electricity by leveraging the collective output of the connected energy resources.

Tesla has been working on the concept going back as far as 2015, when they first began producing battery back up systems for solar.

Tesla’s home system, called Powerwall, and the Megapack, first offered in 2019, which is a massive 3 MWh energy storage product, are the best known backup systems for solar panel systems.

More recently companies such as Swell Energy are working together with utilities to operate a “behind the meter” virtual power plant systems that are able to manage residential solar installations to ensure that there are no outages and that the maximum financial benefit is available for the power generated.

VPPs can be used to provide electricity to a specific location, such as a neighborhood or a campus, or they can be connected to the grid and used to generate electricity for a larger area.

They can also be used to support the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid, by providing a flexible and responsive source of electricity that can be dispatched as needed to meet changing demand.

VPPs can be beneficial in a number of ways. They can help to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, which can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

They can also help to lower energy costs by using locally-generated renewable energy, and they can help to improve the reliability of the electricity supply by providing a distributed source of electricity that is not reliant on a single power plant or transmission line.

The many benefits of these systems are only now beginning to emerge – with greater cooperation between the government, regulations, utilities and individual home owners the potential for a more resilient grid and more secure, sustainable energy for communities are virtually unlimited.

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