Virtual Power Stations or Virtual Power Plants (VPS/VPP) are two different terms for the same thing. They are part of the internet of energy and can replace centralised power plants due to their capabilities of remotely connecting independent energy systems together to form a responsive and flexible network.
Virtual Power Plants/Stations can tap into existing grid networks to tailor electricity supply and demand services in line with requirements. Therefore, they have the ability to predict demand and supply in advance, this allows the end user to manage their energy in a way which suits their needs, which could allow them to save money through the avoidance of peak DUoS periods or make money through the process of energy arbitrage, whilst supporting the wider needs of the energy network.
Virtual Power Plants/Stations allow for the remote control of energy through advanced software systems which provide the end user with the data required to make an informed decision, whilst also being able to react quickly to ever changing loads.
Greater adoption of Virtual Power Plants/Stations will support the UK’s transition towards a smart and responsive energy network through the aspect of digitalisation inherent within VPP’s. The digital abilities of VPP’s allow them to respond to changes in the supply and demand in a quick and responsive fashion which is one of the primary aims of the modernised energy network as the development of smart cities and the smart grid necessitate a fluid, integrated energy network.
Powerstar’s Virtual Powerstar Station (PVPS project)
The PVPS project is co-funded with the European Commission Horizon 2020 Programme which is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available from 2014 to 2020. All projects secured in the Horizon 2020 programme are unaffected by the UK’s departure from the EU.
Powerstar’s PVPS project aimed to pilot test an integrated energy management solution by building on the existing Powerstar voltage optimisation technology, developed to open up significant market opportunities in the European and International markets.
The PVPS solution was installed in 2017 and following full pilot-testing at a commercial site within a live operational environment the results will be showcased. The project involves the full integration of VIRTUE energy storage, voltage regulation and solar PV.
Key objectives of the PVPS project include:
- Control and maintain output frequency requirements in the electrical grid
- Integrate renewable technology into the grid
- Guarantee stable and reliable power distribution
- Reducing reliance on the grid
Once fully operational and tested, the PVPS will provide tangible benefits to the end user including:
- DUoS peak shaving
- Rewards from partaking in demand response
- Triad avoidance
- Energy resilience – through its full uninterruptible power supply (UPS) capabilities
- Energy optimisation – through voltage regulation
- Renewable firming
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