Virtual Power Plants Are Coming to Save the Grid, Sooner Than You Might Think
Virtual power plants, which are networks of small batteries that function like power plants, are rapidly gaining momentum and could make a significant impact on grid stability this summer. These virtual power plants consist of thousands of home-based batteries that contribute megawatts of capacity to the grid during peak electricity demand. The majority of electricity stored in these batteries is generated by rooftop solar, making this combination of renewable energy and battery networks a promising solution for the future grid. Various utilities and battery companies have launched pilot projects across California, Utah, Vermont, and other states, with participants numbering in the thousands. Sonnen, a battery manufacturer, is among the companies leading the way in popularizing virtual power plants. Their batteries, which can serve a larger function than backup power, have been integrated into initiatives such as Rocky Mountain Power's rebate program and virtual power plant projects with Pacific Gas & Electric, Baker Electric Home Energy, and Green Mountain Power.