No matter how advantageous the freedom of individualism sounds, a decentralized movement still needs a unifying connection to truly flourish.
If you think I’m talking about politics or people, you’d be wrong. This editor is all about the microgrids and distributed energy resources (DERs), but even a true believer like myself accepts that the main grid is a wonderful, useful invention that still has much to give.
Virtual power plants (VPP) — the technology to bring a bunch of DERs together and deliver capacity bidirectionally back into the utility grid — opens a world of opportunity for decentralized energy resources such as pieces of a microgrid. The future implementation of FERC Order 2222 requiring grid operators to allow aggregated DERs into markets also will heighten resiliency options to deal with peak demand challenges as the world gets more and more electrified, driving load ever higher.
Our story by Kathy Hitchens shows this VPP movement is accelerating all over the globe, from Western Australia to the United States. VPPs also help make the financial and interactive grid case for renewable energy deployments, a Western Australia official pointed out.
Last year, I was told by a high-level leader at aggregator firm AutoGrid that DERs and connective VPPs will be a key part of the “future grid. Lots of infrastructure is getting deployed, and we’ll need a layer to bring all those assets together.”
Digital transformation is a cliched term by now, but most cliches are around because they are true. Software and control technologies are not the answer for every challenge with energy infrastructure, but they do unify the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts.
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