The term Virtual Power Plant (VPP) was originally envisaged as the technology which can aggregate the information from distributed energy resources (DERs) and treat it as virtual ‘power plant’ to address the challenges of balancing power grid, as in the scenario of a conventional power plant in the conventional grid. In the scenario of large number of distributed renewables-based generation, the fluctuating and unpredictable power generation pattern is the specific challenge which was addressed by VPP.
Data aggregation and taking decision based on that is just one element of the grid balancing act. Today, grid has evolved further smarter and complex by introduction and increased usage of information from demand response programs (DRPs), energy management systems at the consumption-end, complex market place dynamics (eg: power trading), introduction of large scale storage mechanisms, increased usage of power (EVs), more resilient & digital T&D infrastructure (digital substations, infrastructure for bi-directional power flow, WAMS..) etc.
It is important and essential to aggregate data from all these sub-systems to efficiently manage the grid and meet the interest of all stakeholders. Accordingly, to address this new challenge, VPPs are evolving much beyond the original virtual ‘power plant’ system to a holistic Digital Grid Management Platform, which takes a comprehensive view of every aspect of the modern grid, to provide the right information and control to the stakeholders. This comprehensive digital grid management platform is also evolving as the “Uber of Energy” where all stakeholders can collaborate seamlessly.
This whitepaper briefly describes the critical subsystems from which information is to be gathered to manage the complex modern, digital grid. The in-depth domain knowledge gained in most of the related subsystems helps QuEST team to understand the challenges and visualize optimum digital technology solutions to address them. The word Virtual Power Plant (VPP) is used in this white paper to represent the comprehensive Digital Grid Management Platform.