More and more people are generating their own electricity and joining forces with others to create virtual power plants. Decentralized, renewable energy systems, known as virtual, combined or swarm power plants, can offset any fluctuations in the grid. When connected with energy storage systems, they can supply both positive and negative balancing power. For multiple decentralized energy generators to be able to act together as a centralized power plant, they must be connected, must communicate and must constantly coordinate with each other using the best possible forecasts.
Virtual power plants represent a new kind of energy supply. They combine supply and demand intelligently to help stabilize the power grid and enable profitable energy trading. If there is too little energy in the system, either more electricity will be produced or less consumed to balance it out. Likewise, if there is too much energy, less will be produced or more consumed.
Current tests are looking at integrating electric vehicle batteries. When connected with energy storage, they can supply balancing power. Large-scale storage systems could absorb excess electricity from Germany’s national electricity grid where excess supply cannot be used. Large photovoltaic installation and wind farm operators could use these systems to optimize the commercialization of their power.