Virtual Power Stations get around the Sun’s unreliability
We’ve been saying that legacy energy businesses are being compromised for over 15 months (even The Economist now agrees) mostly by energy storage devices. Now we have the next level of disruption – tech merged with a new business model – the virtual power station.
From TechnologyReview: “Attempting to harness the power of distributed rooftop solar installations to make its grid more flexible and reliable, New York utility Consolidated Edison is launching a pilot program this summer to link dozens of small solar arrays into a single, software-connected power plant. The utility is working with solar power developer SunPower and energy storage company Sunverge to create a “virtual power plant”—a network of distributed assets that functions as a unified resource on the grid.
The project will include 300 homes with a combined total of 1.8 megawatts of solar capacity and batteries that can store up to four megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to run 300 average U.S. households for about 10 hours.
Those are not huge numbers, but the ConEd program represents one of the most ambitious U.S. efforts yet to turn lots of distributed solar installations into a flexible source of grid power that can replace electricity from the fossil-fuel plants that are typically used to supplement intermittent renewable energy. Residential customers will lease the solar systems from ConEd and pay a small premium for home batteries, which can also provide a backup source of power during outages.”…more…