What Are Virtual Power Plants
Solar Batteries Can Help Decentralizing Power
Virtual Power Plants are a concept where individual solar batteries are connected via the grid to provide localized power without a large facility. This form of power would reduce the stress on the already outdated grid by serving the energy needs of onsite and nearby consumers. This form of energy would not need to travel from far-away generators across long-distance transmission lines.
Although the infrastructure for Virtual Power Plants is in the early stages, adding a battery to your rooftop solar is the beginning to decentralizing power. “While one battery (power plant) could falter, 200,000 of them that operate from remote locations will prove to be more durable — able to withstand cyber-attacks and wildfires(1).” Instead of one centralized outdated facility, power could be generated and stored within our communities.
Virtual Power Plants (VPP) would reduce the strain on our already failing infrastructure from PG&E by reducing the distance the power needs to travel. These outdated transmission lines have been the source of many of the PG&E related fire tragedies and the financial penalties do not seem to be motivating PG&E to do better. “By using onsite generation such as rooftop solar in combination with battery storage, those services can reduce the network’s overall cost by deferring expensive infrastructure upgrades(1).”
VPP’s would also reduce greenhouse gases and harmful air pollutants produced by centralized power plants. Since the power generated would come from solar, there would be no harmful byproduct created when converting it to the power we use for our homes. “Distributed energy resources (DERs)—specifically, behind-the-meter (BTM) battery storage paired with solar—offers a renewable, non-emitting energy resource that can help meet California’s need for a reliable electricity system(2).”
- Silverstein, Ken. “https://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2020/07/22/virtual-power-plants-are-one-of-the-top-innovations-of-the-decade/?sh=14bafbdf6d7a .” Forbes
- “https://mcusercontent.com/a0487692bb2e2f280211c4298/files/5954ea0c-7ce0-5a6e-149a-009543267c27/Resource_Adequacy_and_Reliability_Funding_5_31_22.pdf ” CALSSA
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