To unlock the many benefits of energy flexibility across Europe, every local grid operator, or distribution system operator (DSO), if you prefer) will eventually need an easy-to-use, energy flexibility platform to create a virtual power plant (VPP). A VPP is a multi-asset ecosystem that consists of a mix of energy generators, energy storage and energy assets that can be instructed to reduce their consumption, and there are a few key features which are needed to ensure success.
A VPP allows local grid operators to utilise energy flexibility to ensure a more stable energy supply, better energy efficiency and more opportunities for renewables to be accommodated on the grid.
Choosing a feature-rich VPP platform will allow grid operators to innovate at their own pace with limited exposure to risk while staying ahead in a challenging market. But what are the most important features to consider? Here, we summarise the top three features European grid operators should consider when choosing a VPP platform for their smart grid operations.
For more, download our whitepaper which outlines the business case for a streamlined, inter-operable future for local grid operators, where end users make better choices on asset utilisation and utilities make informed decisions based on their operating requirements.
In order to deliver the European Union’s vision for an integrated energy market, flexibility solutions that have the ability to transcend traditional energy borders will be vital. As renewable penetration increases, European grid operators will need to collaborate closely to ensure the active participation of consumers regardless of geography. Ultimately, this task will be much easier if stakeholders can come together to create a standardised route to achieve their flexibility goals.
As an example, the collaboration between Western Power Distribution and Kiwi Power created a first-of-its-kind template for how local grid operators can come together to simplify participation for flexibility providers across networks through a unified platform.
A VPP platform that can cater to a multi-DSO approach allows local grid operators to share their findings and experiences to hone their offer. The approach also allows grid operators to share ongoing platform costs, which would improve the value proposition while also delivering innovations and improvements more quickly. For example, with the right incentives in place, grid operators can motivate participation, so the more participatory data and feedback they have to understand what works, the quicker energy flexibility can be increased.
- Cloud technology
Cloud technology will be a key enabler for creating energy flexibility. A high level of digitalisation, automation and real-time control will be needed by grid operators to operate in increasingly dynamic markets. And having timely access to data will be more more important than ever.
Kiwi Power’s cloud-based VPP platform provides real-time visibility with ease and gives local grid operators the actionable insights they need to best utilise their assets. What’s more, cloud hosting provides a secure way for grid operators and flexible distributed energy asset owners to interact through the platform, instilling owners with confidence to entrust the operation of their valuable assets to the platform.
- Customer experience
The success of any flexibility market ultimately depends on the participation of energy flexibility providers. If the approach adopted is not an integrated one, flexible distributed energy asset owners with operations across Europe face the prospect of interacting with several local grid operators to engage in flexibility markets.
A multi-DSO approach, such as the one developed by Kiwi Power and Western Power Distribution, allows operators to streamline the process, making participation simpler, easier and less resource-intensive – improving the experience overall. By creating a central platform, flexible distributed energy asset owners will be able to view flexibility locations, requirement data, procurement notices and documentation published by all participating local grid operators in one place.
This will smooth the path for flexibility providers to increase their participation across different areas of operation without increasing the burden to do so. End users will benefit from a standardisation of processes, contracts and more, while being able to manage and analyse participation centrally.
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