CEO Pentti Bruun and research analyst Aleksanteri Nummi at L7 Drive explain in Engineer Live’s article how advanced power electronics help to keep batteries alive for longer and enable operators to control their system through an innovative cloud-based solution.
As a brief summary, Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is a system that integrates several types of power sources to give a reliable power supply for the electricity distribution grid. A central cloud-based IT system controls the VPP functions and aggregates together multiple different distributed energy resources (DERs) almost in real time. The aggregated units can be traditional wind or solar plants, hydropower or other conventional power sources, but emerging new solutions, such as electric vehicle batteries, telecom stations battery back-ups, industrial loads (e.g. heating and flexible power consumers) can also be used.
Key benefits of VPPs:
- Flexible power for the grid that helps to manage the electric load more efficiently. During the peak demand times VPP can participate into peak clipping, valley filling or load shifting activities to smoothen the demand peaks and lows.
- Battery back-up changes from passive back-up power to active energy storage, which is discharged and recharged according to the situation. As a result, the used energy is green – which decreases emissions and means electricity distributors can avoid the start of fossil-based power plants and generators, therefore generating cost savings.
- More efficient electricity markets by making it possible to aggregate different smaller scale energy sources together, that enables new producers and prosumers to take part into the markets. Emerging 5G technology and faster broadband have made it possible for electricity grid operators to monitor and adjust the grids in millisecond times.