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31 Oct: A Texas-sized Milestone for VPPs

A Texas-sized Milestone for VPPs By John Bonnin Spiking energy prices, power plant failures, and the threat of rolling blackouts plagued much of the U.S. this past summer. But as Texans know all too well, winter can also bring outages. Extreme heat and cold require bold new solutions to maintain grid reliability. Particularly as Texans embrace electric heating, cooling, and even vehicles, putting more demand on the grid. These trends led the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), working with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), to announce a new pilot program testing how distributed energy resource (DER) solutions…

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27 Oct: Hey, Europe: You Can’t Get to 100% Renewables Without Demand Side Flexibility

Hey, Europe: You Can’t Get to 100% Renewables Without Demand Side Flexibility By Amit Narayan, CEO AutoGrid Europe has inspired the world with its ambitious renewables integration, smart energy trading, and grid balancing. But the next lap in this race requires a different muscle: Demand Side Flexibility (DSF) or the capacity to throttle electricity consumption by end customers as needed. An important new study from Smart Energy Europe (SmartEn) makes the case for increased DSF in Europe to meet aggressive climate action targets. Gone is the old assumption that because European businesses and homes are more efficient than their US…

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18 Oct: Australia Leads Again with New Mixed-Asset, Multi-Market VPPs

Australia Leads Again with New Mixed-Asset, Multi-Market VPPs By Pamoda Wijetunge, Regional Head ANZ Australia is one of the world’s hot spots for energy innovation. Once a pioneer in deploying renewable energy in remote and isolated power systems on the western side of the country, the focus here has recently shifted to the east coast, where the nation’s largest cities are interconnected with a robust grid facing its own unique set of challenges. As my colleague Peter Asmus noted in a blog published this past May, Australia is leading the way with market conditions ripe for the creation of virtual…

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06 Oct: From Dark to DER: Reinventing Puerto Rico’s Power Grid

From Dark to DER: Reinventing Puerto Rico’s Power Grid By Peter Asmus, Director – Strategic Marketing Tough but not surprising to learn that Puerto Rico’s power grid went dark as Hurricane Fiona pounded the island and the Dominican Republic last month. Just five years ago, Hurricane Maria brought Puerto Rico the worst blackouts in U.S. history. And around the world, the climate crisis continues to unleash extreme weather events, leaving legacy power grids increasingly at risk. Puerto Rico’s greatest challenge is remote centralized power generation relying on vulnerable cross-island transmission lines. When the lines go down in rugged mountainous terrain,…

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26 Sep: California’s Communities Are Key to Tackling the Climate Crisis

California’s Communities Are Key to Tackling the Climate Crisis By Amit Narayan Our electricity system has been described as the world’s largest continuously operating machine. Yet without innovation now required by the climate crisis, our traditional power grids will fail us. This came close to happening during California’s record-setting heat wave in early September. Yet the extreme temperatures also gave us a glimpse into future solutions now being embraced by communities throughout the state. Both recent challenges and promising pathways forward dominated conversation at the California Community Choice Association (CalCCA) gala last Saturday in San Francisco. It was inspiring to…

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10 Sep: Oh California! California’s Grid Flexes But Doesn’t Break.

Oh California! California’s Grid Flexes But Doesn’t Break. AutoGrid Flex Dispatches over 100 events By Rahul Kar – Senior VP If you have been crumbling under the heat dome in California, you are not alone. The electric grid is too. The past few days have been a crescendo of Flex Alerts, Emergency Notifications, threats of rolling blackouts, actual unintended blackouts; it all points to enormous systemic stress on how we supply, balance and consume power. While this is becoming the new norm with climate change and extreme weather events across the globe, let it not be lost that the 5th…

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25 Aug: Inflation Reduction Act: A Boon for VPP Industry

Inflation Reduction Act: A Boon for VPP Industry By Peter Asmus The Inflation Reduction Act  (IRA), signed into law last week, is a boon for virtual power plants (VPPs)–a term commonly used to refer to the ability of digital software platforms to aggregate and optimize distributed energy resources (DER) through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Though the bill is wide-ranging and addresses health care and federal deficit reduction, the most transformative impact this legislation will have is clearly on reducing the threat of global climate change. Why is the IRA the most significant piece of environmental legislation in decades?…

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12 Aug: AutoGrid’s Customers Flex Grid Muscles During Peak Summer

AutoGrid’s Customers Flex Grid Muscles During Peak Summer By Rahul Kar – Senior VP We are in the middle of peak summer season across the northern hemisphere and the electric grid is already groaning and straining under increased demand. Rolling power outages, alarming spot market energy prices, failing power plants and last minute cries for help from the grid operators, have become the norm. Not so for utilities that have planned ahead and use demand flexibility surgically. For them, a peaking summer day is business as usual. They have flourished managing peak load (and reliability) by forecasting and controlling demand…

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07 Jul: How DER Growth Feeds Growing Synergy Between VPPs, DERMS and Microgrids

How DER Growth Feeds Growing Synergy Between VPPs, DERMS and Microgrids By Peter Asmus According to Guidehouse Insights, the amount of capacity being added to power grids globally from 14 different distributed energy resources (DER) — everything from rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, electric vehicle (EV) charging, and a variety of other loads being converted into demand response (DR) assets – surpassed the new capacity coming on-line from centralized power sources (such as coal or nuclear plants) last year. The gap between distributed and centralized energy capacity additions grows over time in clear favor of DER (see below), highlighting the…

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24 May: Why Australia is Truly the Virtual Power Plants Market Frontier

Why Australia is Truly the Virtual Power Plants Market Frontier By Peter Asmus As one scans the world for opportunity during the current energy transition, one of the most vibrant regional markets is often forgotten due to its geography. I’m talking about Australia, that down under market which is forging a path of energy market innovation forward with few rivals on the world stage.   A report by energy network Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) forecasts that by 2050 almost 2/3 of all customers in Australia will feature some form of distributed energy resources (DER.)1…

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19 May: Virtual Power Plants: How Disparate DERs Can Be Integrated into a Single, Dispatchable Resource: Part I

Virtual Power Plants: How Disparate DERs Can Be Integrated into a Single, Dispatchable Resource: Part I By John Bonnin For decades, utilities have used Demand Response (DR) and Distributed Energy Resources (DER) as the basis for reducing peak demand, reducing coincident peaks, managing circuit-specific issues, and assisting the grid in emergencies. With the introduction of Virtual Power Plants (VPP), however, energy companies are in a fortunate position to also deploy DERs into the wholesale market. DERs with VPPs is a shift in strategy from essentially “defense” to “offense” seen by many as unlocking the hidden potential of these resources, creating…

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10 May: EVs are the Game-Changing DER: Exploring Vehicle Grid Integration for Grid Balancing

EVs are the Game-Changing DER: Exploring Vehicle Grid Integration for Grid Balancing By Peter Asmus Our energy systems are being transformed by the dramatic increase in distributed energy resources (DER) that are now populating power grids around the world. DER assets, popularized by rooftop solar PV and then distributed energy storage, are challenging our conventional thinking in new ways. Ironically, electric vehicles (EVs), the most challenging DER asset, could also be the most transformative of all. Once viewed as a major headache for utilities since each EV represents the equivalent load as a new house on their distribution grids, advances…

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21 Apr: Co-Optimizing Energy Storage: 3 Things You Need to know to Create Value Streams

Co-Optimizing Energy Storage: 3 Things You Need to know to Create Value Streams By Adam Todorski As energy storage becomes cheaper and more plentiful, fully utilizing battery storage deployments requires value-stream co-optimization. This post will cover some of the challenges and opportunities we’ve experienced as we help our customers who operate solar + storage deploy and co-optimize ever-growing energy-storage portfolios. Value-stream co-optimization is critical to managing distributed energy-storage assets, whether for distribution support use cases, e.g., non-wires alternatives (NWA), or for capturing merchant value streams through virtual power plants (VPPs). These categories of NWA and VPP value streams are increasingly…

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30 Mar: How VPPs Reduce Both Costs and Emission in Meeting Peak Demands

How VPPs Reduce Both Costs and Emission in Meeting Peak Demands New York and Texas Offer Opportunities to Replace Fossil Fuel Peaker Plants By Peter Asmus The emergence of virtual power plants (VPPs) as bona fide replacements for fossil fuel peaker plants has been discussed conceptually, but is there data to support this opportunity? Thanks to data and modeling provided by Guidehouse Insights, the apparent answer “yes” in two of the largest states often viewed as being on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Traditional peaking plants have been relied upon for decades to prop up regional power systems during…

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10 Feb: Benefits of DERMS and VPP on the Same Flexibility Management Platform

Benefits of DERMS and VPP on the Same Flexibility Management Platform By John Bonnin    One of the fastest-growing segments of the electric power industry is the aggregation of distribution systems and customer-side assets for use in supplying power and related services to the grid. BloombergNEF’s report of “Decentralized Energy Strategy Trends: 4Q 2021” revealed the largest amount of activity happening with demand response and virtual power plants. Managing the New Wave of Distributed Energy Utility operators have begun to expand their toolbox with grid flexibility management platforms to help balance the supply and demand for power with several successful…