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…
- 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;
- 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;
- 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.