cVPP - Community-based Virtual Power Plant: a novel model of radical decarbonisation based on empowerment of low-carbon community driven energy initiatives

Project Summary

A community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP)

Although local power generation by renewable sources is increasing, it has not yet had a real impact on radical decarbonisation of the energy sector, Changes need to be made by unlocking the potential of the prosumer. This project proposes a community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP), a novel model that can help organise & significantly boost renewable energy production & distribution at a local level.


Taking the VPP a step further

A virtual power plant (VPP) refers to a cluster of dispersed generator units, controllable loads & storage systems, aggregated to operate as a unique power plant. It enables integration of renewables & flexibility in demand in energy markets. Several VPP designs exist on the market developed by various organisations, however, implementation remained limited due to a top-down focus on technical parameters. The community-based version of a VPP is bottom-up and focusses on sustainability issues, by organizing a form of Collective Power, that is increasing the level of participation and control of the local community. The cVPP thus aims at taking the development of the VPP a step further.


Empowering prosumers - raising awareness - facilitate upscaling

The concept offers a community the opportunity to provide its energy needs with small-scale, distributed low-carbon technologies with participation from individual consumers, local energy companies or SMEs. It can empower prosumers and contribute to the democratisation of energy markets. This process spurs awareness & public engagement in the energy transition. By doing so, it facilitates upscaling of low-carbon energy community-driven initiatives that have, so far, missed critical mass to trigger the energy transition.


This project will…

  1. jointly conceptualise & test cVPP in 3 different markets of BE, NL, IRL with an aim to maximise interconnectedness of the cVPPs, joint influence & learning about different institutional contexts influencing implementation of cVPP;
  2. co-create a Mobilisation& Replication (MoRe) model based on practical lessons from realisation of different cVPP designs in 3 locations & cultures, supported by theoretical insights & interviews. MoRe aims to enable the propagation of cVPP to other territories by accounting for local preferences & aims and by provision of guidance to communities on how to address emerging barriers to cVPP implementation in their areas;
  3. Test & assess the MoRe by replicating in follower communities that will be identified & actively engaged in the process. After its end, the project will contribute to further roll-out of the cVPP to other NEW & European areas by dissemenation of business plans & guidance.


Long Term aspirations

In 10 years, the investments will stimulate the development of ca 50 new cVPPs in Europe, motivating environmental (450 KT CO2 emission reduction), social (4500 jobs) & economic (25000 houses with improved energy classification) effects that will proliferate further into the future. This replication will form the basis for the establishment of the EU cVPP network.

Learn about our partners! Visit tab PROJECT PARTNERS.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Contact name Address Email Website
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) Anna J. Wieczorek 5 Groene Loper
5612 AE
Name Contact Name Email Country
Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA) Paul Kenny Ireland
Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen (DPL) Willem Dikker Hupkes Netherlands
EnerGent Lieven Demolder Belgium
Gemeente Apeldoorn (GA) Femke Jochems Netherlands
Kamp C Maro Saridaki Belgium
Templederry Renewable energy Supply Limited. T/A Community Renewable energy supply (CRES) Noel Carey Ireland
Tipperary County Council (TCC) Marion O’Neill Ireland
Sub-Partner 1 (TU/e): Duneworks
Sub-Partner 2 (TEA): Friends of the Earth Ireland (FOEI)
Sub-Partner 3 (DPL): Alliander
Sub-Partner 4 (DPL): USEF
Sub-Partner 5 (EnerGent): Ecopower
Sub-Partner 6 (CRES): Claremorris and western District Energy Cooperative Ltd
Sub-Partner 7 (CRES): Limerick Community Grocery Ltd (The Urban Co-Op)
Sub-Partner 8 (CRES): Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative Ltd
Sub-Partner 9 (CRES): Aran Islands Energy Cooperative
Sub-Partner 10 (CRES): Smart M Power Ltd


Siddharth Raghav Murali, who recently graduated with a master’s thesis titled “Community based Virtual Power Plants: Aligning technical functions with social motivations”.

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Siddharth’s thesis has a social as well as a technical aspect and initially identifies a general set of social motivations present within a community, that could lead to the inception of a community-based project like the cVPP. Since Loenen village in the Netherlands has been chosen as the location where cVPP will be implemented, it was taken as the case study on which this thesis is based upon. The community of Loenen is actively involved in renewable development. In 2013, they were the recipients of funding for a community project to subsidize the installation of residential solar panels (Apeldoorn, 2015). The project was spearheaded by the local energy collective called Loenen Enrgie Neutraal (LEN). After the success of previous renewable energy projects in Loenen, the cVPP project is the next undertaking by LEN with the help of other partners in the consortium. Siddhart’s thesis was supervised by Dr. Ir. A.J. Wieczorek and Prof. Dr. Ir. G.P.J. Verbong from the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences (TU/e) and Dr. V. Cuk from the Faculty of Industrial Electrical Engineering (TU/e). Further information on Siddhart’s thesis can be found on following link: Read More

2nd Consortium Meeting, in Tipperary Ireland

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The 2nd Consortium Meeting of the cVPP project will take place from 11th to 13th April 2018, at the Great National Abbey Court Hotel in Tipperary, Ireland and will be hosted by our project partners Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA) and Templederry Renewable energy Supply Limited, T/A Community Renewable energy supply (CRES). On day 1, before lunch, an Irish Kick-off Meeting will be organised with Read More

cVPP project kick-off

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The official Kick-off Meeting of the cVPP project was held in Eindhoven on December 13th and 14th 2017. As leading partner of the consortium, the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) invited all project partners to this two-day-meeting in the Netherlands. The meeting was opened by Anna Wieczorek and Geert Verbong, from the School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, who welcomed the participants to the project’s kick-off. The meeting was attended by Read More


geWOONdoen | Just do it

, Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium

JustDOit: inspiration day for thinkers and doers (PP: Kamp C) EN | The province of Antwerp developed a number of tools to work with the local authorities and their inhabitants to tackle the challenges of the future: habit breaker, a resilient villages policy, a sustainable building loket, ... They are a first step to going into various LIVING challenges. Be inspired on 29 May by the testimonies of the municipalities and experts. Discover how they mobilised their inhabitants towards more quality in their living environment. GeWOONdoen: inspiratiedag voor denkers en doeners (PP: Kamp C) NL | De provincie Antwerpen ontwikkelde een aantal instrumenten om samen met de lokale besturen én hun inwoners de uitdagingen van de toekomst aan te pakken: geWOONtebreker, een veerkrachtig dorpenbeleid, een duurzaam bouwloket,... Ze vormen een eerste stap om in te gaan op diverse WOONuitdagingen. Laat je op 29 mei inspireren door de getuigenissen van de gemeenten en experten die je voor zijn gegaan. Ontdek hoe zij hun inwoners in beweging brachten om hun woon- en leefomgeving meer kwaliteitsvol te maken. Ga met hen in gesprek op de markt en ervaar tijdens belevingsmomenten en workshops wat onder andere geWOONtebreker voor jouw stad of gemeente kan betekenen.
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Environmental & socio-economic challenges

North-West Europe is confronted with a need to reduce its carbon footprint. Transition to more sustainable energy system is needed, where regional & local authorities & other stakeholders play a key role. Low-carbon community-driven energy initiatives are emerging everywhere in NWE region & offer potential to considerably decarbonise the energy sector. However, integration of distributed power sources with local demand-side management & storage into local networks, poses additional socio-economic challenges. E.g. to be able to increase the generation by distributed sources & increase efficiency, these local initiatives need to expand, both in number of participants & regarding replication of successful initiatives in other regions.

Empowering local communities 

Another key aspect is how to organise involvement of local communities. Several regulatory & institutional issues have to be solved. An important condition to achieve this is that the communities become main beneficiaries of the integrated local system; either directly (distributing profits) or indirectly (financing community level projects). A community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP), proposed in this project, offers an attractive concept for empowerment of these initiatives.

Technological challenges

A VPP is a cluster of dispersed generator units, controllable loads & storage systems, aggregated to operate as a unique power plant. It enables integration of renewables & flexibility in demand in national energy markets. A central part of VPP is the energy management system (EMS), software that coordinates the power flows. Early VPPs have been largely top-down projects focused on solving grid issues for network operators & developing markets for utilities & aggregators. They now seem to enter commercial phase. Several companies are offering software solutions (esp. in Germany: Siemens, LichtBlick, Next Kraftwerke, E.On). However, these applications are still mainly limited to test locations & pilot projects, although the scale & number of connections is increasing. In other NWE countries, only a few initiatives have been set up, mainly by network operators & aggregators. These designs however focus on technical aspects only & do not account for user role & markets.

Innovation closer to the people

In line with societal developments, the innovative cVPP concept proposed here is more bottom-up & focusses on sustainability issues: GHG emission reductions, RES-maximisation & socio-economic community development. By organising a form of Collective Power, that is increasing the level of participation & control of the local community, the cVPP takes the development of VPP a step further. The concept offers a community the opportunity to provide its energy needs with small-scale, distributed low-carbon technologies with participation from individual consumers/prosumers, local energy companies or SMEs. Also, the option of introducing localised markets will be explored. For this, regulatory changes are probably needed, depending on the local conditions.

How explain cVPP to the people?

Sharing knowledge through territorial cooperation

Joint implementation of 3 cVPPs demands joint design & its adaptation to & learning from local conditions. This includes options of locally available renewable sources & demand management, differences in the way energy markets & sector are organised & socio-cultural differences between communities in the participating countries. Investment proposals in this project address some of the local & national requirements for cVPP. By creating 3 cVPPs based on common design, we will develop a model for implementing cVPPs in other locations, taking into account local preferences, aims, laws & regulations. Using so far experiences of Germany (& other countries) & learning from each of the 3 cVPPs proposed, this project offers opportunity to develop & replicate a completely new way of organising low-carbon & sustainable energy system. Without intensive territorial cooperation it would be impossible to reach the project objectives.

Project Partners:

Why are we involved in the cVPP |

community-based Virtual Power Plant?

Have a look at the interviews...


Helping enterprises innovate


Low carbon

Supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy in all sectors and promoting sustainable transport

Low carbon

Resource & materials efficiency

New ways to produce more value with fewer materials

Resource & materials efficiency

Partner TU/e:

  • Subpartner Duneworks

Partner: Tipperary Energy Agency

  • Subpartner Friends of the Earth

Partner Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen

  • Subpartner Alliander
  • Subpartner USEF

Parner EnerGent

  • Subpartner Ecopower

Partner Apeldoorn

Partner Kamp C

Partner Templederry Renewable energy Supply Limited. T/A Community Renewable energy supply

  • Subpartner  Claremorris and western District Energy Cooperative Ltd.
  • Subpartner  Limerick Community Grocery Ltd.
  • Subpartner  Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative Ltd.
  • Subpartner  Aran Islands Energy Cooperative
  • Subpartner  Smart M Power Ltd.

Partner Tipperary County Council



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