The real appeal of virtual power plants
These networks of virtually connected small-scale energy resources can play a big role in helping us get to net zero.
Here's an interesting RMI article on “virtual power plants” and the role they can play in helping us optimize our energy use and decarbonize the grid.
A virtual power plant (or "VPP") is basically a virtually connected network of small-scale energy resources (buildings with rooftop solar, EVs, smart thermostats, etc.) that coordinates with the grid to maximize energy efficiency while reducing emissions. These networked systems can support rapid electrification and play a key role in helping us get to net zero.
According to one of the links in the article, VPPs add as much energy value to the grid as a natural gas “peaker” (a plant that supposedly supplies energy only during times of peak demand, though those claims don't always live up to reality) or a utility scale battery – for a lot less money.
I love solutions like this that can help us do more with less!