Virtual Power Plants are changing the way our Electricity grids function, making it easier for smaller, decentralised, renewable energy sources to participate in the grid effortlessly. We listed some of the biggest players in the world of Virtual Power Plants from around the world, in no specific order.
What is the deal with VPP?
Think decentralized. Network and, of course, renewable energy. All the distributed renewable energy assets – be it hydropower, solar, wind, or biomass – are ready to be controlled by prosumers.
Though the term has been around since the 1990s, it became a tangible asset in the last 10 years. And it is growing into a force to reckon with as more and more energy companies create, use, and commercialize VPPs. The VPPs are slated for revenues to the tune of USD 5.02 Billion by 2026, and an expected annual CAGR growth of 21.3% in the coming years.
We have covered the power of Virtual Power Plants before if you’d like to look. On this blog, we have set out to find which VPPs shine brightly and how some of these top decentralized power grids work. Let’s delve in!
Arguably the largest, Tesla’s VPP in South Australia shows how technological advancement can be good for the community. There was a time when Australia was infamous for its high electricity prices, and unstable grid. That’s when Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk reached a deal with the South Australian government to install their Powerwalls and solar panels for 50,000 homes–many of which were low-income families.
Last year, they amped up their Powerwall installations, signalling a new phase and an addition of 3,000 batteries into their growing VPP.
Statkraft claims to be the largest VPP in Europe. The Norwegian firm plans to build 2 GW of VPP capacity in the U.K., and 12 GW in Germany. They have 10+ GW of existing installed capacity that is equivalent to 10 thermal power plants with the ability to power a major city. Their VPP strategy includes buying hydro projects in France and Turkey, as well as exploring several PPA opportunities.
Statkraft Chile grabbed headlines recently at the COP26 on their plans to develop a wind power project on public land with the help of 1GWh battery installations.
German VPP specialist Next Kraftwerke is one of the early adopters of virtual power plant (VPP) software as a service. With a growing network capacity of 9.8 MW and with thousands of DER assets, they are one of the largest European energy traders. Their VPP-as-a-service has also helped strike new deals as well, notably the $1.7m joint venture with the electronic giant Toshiba last year.
Thanks to abundant sunshine, Australia is leading the world in terms of PV uptake. AGL, a leading energy company, is a pioneer who is supporting the evolving Australian grid. AGL claims to be the world’s largest retail-led VPP, and Tesla and LG Energy Solutions batteries power them. The AGL estimates a total project cost of $19.5m and is backed by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Recently the AGL Energy forayed away from their primary focus on South Australia, to the eastern states of the continent country. They hope to grow their community by 20,000 participants in the coming months.
The Californian startup company OhmConnect claims over 150,000 customers in California and plans to dispatch more connected devices to bulk their grid. Recently, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (a Google affiliate) has seen potential enough to invest $80 million in the power plant and $20 million in OhmConnect.
US residential solar installer Sunrun is all set to add 300 home VPPs. They will harness the solar energy from residences and feed 5MW to the California grid. Like others, they too have supported low and middle-income families as part of their resource adequacy and hope to complete installation by 2023. They have partnered with distributed energy resources (DERs) management platform provider AutoGrid recently. And they have US$50 million worth of grid services projects contracted or ready in the pipeline.
Other market players who are making their presence felt are ABB Ltd., Robert Bosch Gmbh, Cisco Systems Inc., Blue Pillar Inc., Hitachi, Ltd., AutoGrid Systems, Comverge, AGL Energy and Enbala Power Networks.
We at Prospero will cover more facts from the world of energy. Follow us on LinkedIn to be up-to-date
We are bringing together experts and decision-makers working with Virtual Power Plants from leading Energy Industry companies. See what our expert panel from Next Kraftwerke, EDP, Enel X, E.ON, have to say.
- November 12, 2021