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) 

Due to growing concerns about CO2 emissions, renewables such as PV and wind energy have increased substantially over the past years. Their growing deployment, intermittent nature and lack of storage facilities are however making it more challenging to balance demand and supply and to stay within the capacity limits of the electricity grid.  A community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP) facilitates local community energy initiatives to aggregate distributed generation and flexibility through an Energy Management System (EMS) platform which models price changes, energy flows and weather conditions, and thereby helps to solve the grid problems. Being organized by the community and driven by their needs, a cVPP works for citizens: it enables energy communities to manage energy demand and supply within their community and to trade energy and flexibility on markets, which helps democratise the energy system.  In the current regulatory framework the viability of cVPP business models is limited. Yet, updates of the EU’s energy policy framework (Winter Package) are expected to improve the level-playing-field for cVPPs 

cVPP realization and capitalization 

In the first project phase (2017-2020), the cVPP project developed and tested a socio-technical concept of a cVPP in 3 communities in Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium and developed a Mobilisation and Replication (MoRe) model to help 9 other communities developing their own cVPPs 

The second phase (2020-2022) supports the capitalization where cVPP goes from replication, doing more of the same, towards upscaling, taking cVPP to the next level. Specifically, this phase focuses on: (i) technical upscaling of the EMS by adding assets and experimenting with trade and flexibility and (ii) social upscaling of the business cases through connection of new target groups such as SMEs, industries and rental sector, and territories. The MoRe model is now picked up by Rescoop, a European federation of over 1500 cooperatives, and using insights from cVPP upscaling and the transposition of Winter Package the model is getting upgraded. 

The Interreg cVPP project is a unique research project. It gives a very rare opportunity to set real innovations in practice and study them. This is very different from usual research routines, when innovations are studied that are initiated by others and that happened in the past. Given the current sustainability challenges and the urgency to act, this is the right way to go. The project seeks to empower prosumers and energy communities and its efforts have been rewarded with winning the EU Sustainable Energy Citizens Award 2020 and the IE&IS Valorization Price 2020.

Events

WEBINAR | Energy communities supporting the energy transition Interreg NWE project “community based Virtual Power Plant”

19-06-2020 - 19-06-2020, Sustainable Energy Week | WEBINAR | Friday 19th June 2020 | 10:00 - 11:30

The European energy system is changing rapidly. Decentralization, democratization and RES penetration are offering new social and technical challenges. Also roles are changing in t... Read more

View more

News

Launching the Starter’s Guide & cVPP Animation

Posted on 17-12-2020

We are very proud to announce the launch of the Starter’s Guide and cVPP explainer video animation! Kamp C, as Communication Partner, has developed the Starter’s Guide, an interac... Read more

We are proud to announce that cVPP won the EUSEW Citizens' Award 2020 !

Posted on 23-06-2020

Thank you for your vote ! We did it! Thank you everyone for your support and votes! Very proud that our community-based Virtual Power Plant project Interreg North West Europe (N... Read more

View more

Learn about our partners! Visit tab PROJECT PARTNERS.

Project Partners

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) 3 Groene Loper
Eindhoven
5612 AE
Netherlands
a.j.wieczorek@tue.nl www.tue.nl
Name Contact Name Email Country
Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA) Siona Daly siona@tippenergy.ie Ireland
Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen (DPL) Willem Dikker Hupkes willem@dikkerhupkes.nl Netherlands
EnerGent Jeroen Baets jeroen.baets@energent.be Belgium
Gemeente Apeldoorn (GA) Randall Hanegraaf R.Hanegraaf@ovij.nl Netherlands
Kamp C Maro Saridaki maro.saridaki@kampc.be Belgium
Community Power (CRES) Gregg Allen gregg@communitypower.ie Ireland
Tipperary County Council (TCC) Siona Daly siona@tippenergy.ie Ireland
REScoop.eu Dirk Vansintjan dirk.vansintjan@rescoop.eu
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
1. Eindhoven University of Technology

Eindhoven University of Technology is a Dutch research university specialized in engineering science and technology.  

TU/e is Lead Partner and responsible for developing a Mobilisation and Replication (MoRe) model, an approach to support socio-technical innovation towards cVPP replication. This means that the MoRe model supports energy communities to learn how a cVPP can contribute to realise their goals and that it supports them in mobilising other community members to become engaged in this effort – in a contextualised manner. TU/e uses years of research experience on upscaling and replication to lead the development of the MoRe model and contributes theoretical knowledge on replication and gathering of lessons from cVPPs. 

Subpartner: Duneworks

Video: What motivates TU/e to participate in the cVPP project?

2. Tipperary Energy Agency

Tipperary Energy Agency (TEA) is an independent social enterprise that focusses on driving the energy transition through the provision of expertise, innovation and strong customer service. Their mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable energy solutions in Tipperary and beyond, by advocating, educating and innovating on climate action. Their vision is that all communities, businesses and citizens participate in the energy transition and achieve carbon neutrality.

TEA works as a disseminating organisation to community groups in Ireland, including the facilitation of exchanges with groups from NEW and as a facilitator of sub partners to complement sustainable energy investment & establishment of the cVPP in Ireland.

Subpartner: Friends of the Earth Ireland

Video: What motivates TEA to participate in the cVPP project?

3. Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen

Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen (DPL) is a public, non-profit organization and its objective is to create and support sustainability and livability initiatives for the village of Loenen. Activities concentrate on the communication and attraction and implementation of various (subsidized) projects. 

DPL takes the lead in creation of a cVPP in Loenen (the Netherlands), the development of the transnational cVPP model and long-term effects of the cVPP-project.  With the cVPP project, DPL accelerates, professionalizes and scales up Loenen with regard to energy neutrality that has been put in motion by the existing Foundation of Loenen Energy Neutral (LEN - former NWE ACE project 2013). 

Subpartners: Alliander and USEF

Video: What motivates DPL to participate in the cVPP project?

4. EnerGent

EnerGent cv is a Belgian Citizens Energy Cooperative active in the region of East Flanders. EnerGent invests in renewable energy production, such as solar installations, wind mills, CO2 neutral Heat Systems etc. Besides, EnerGent organises energy services for its cooperative members in order to stimulate them to improve energy efficiency of their dwellings an to install residential solar installations.  

 EnerGent is responsible for the implementation of the cVPP concept in the Belgian pilot, and contributes to the development of the MoRe model and support of the long term roll out. As an Energy Cooperation, EnerGent has broad experience in working with/supporting local communities, renewable energy investments and business models. 

Subpartner: Ecopower

Video: What motivates EnerGent to participate in the cVPP project?

5. Gemeente Apeldoorn

Gemeente Apeldoorn (GA) is a mid-sized municipality consisting of the city Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, and several villages. GA is responsible for local policymaking in several domains and sets ambitious goals in the Agenda Apeldoorn Energy Neutral to accelerate energy savings, efficiency and sustainable energy production, specifically in the built environment.  

GA works closely with local communities, organisations, businesses and regional partners on innovative initiatives and energy challenges, making GA an ideal partner for the replication of cVPP in new communities and supporting local energy communities. GA closely cooperates with DPL, which operates within the municipal boundaries of Apeldoorn and draws on Interreg NWE experiences from the ACE for Energy Project (IVB) and disseminates project outcomes via large networks. 

Video: What motivates Gemeente Apeldoorn to participate in the cVPP project?

6. Kamp C

Kamp C is the knowledge center for innovation and sustainable building in the Province of Antwerp, whose core mission is to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable society. Kamp C is currently active within more than 20 EU funded projects with varied objectives, ranging from scaling up renovation, supporting renewable energy initiatives, to innovation (3D printing, circular economy and tendering). Kamp C works closely together with 70 local authorities, housing associations, as well as public initiatives that support vulnerable citizens, supporting municipalities with technical and juridical advice concerning construction and environmental matters, scanning buildings, prioritising energy efficiency projects and facilitating the construction phase, but offers also direct and pro bono advice and solutions to citizens in the Province of Antwerp region for sustainable renovation in their homes and neighbourhoods. Kamp C has developed a multitude of trainings and methods towards engaging a variety of residents in sustainable innovation processes. 

Kamp C is replicating partner in Belgium with main activities in the Province of Antwerp and also works as lead communication partner. Kamp C has guided communities towards setting up their own cVPP through the Dream-Dare-Do trajectory, has co-created the Starter’s Guide with partners Duneworks and TU Eindhoven and is advocating for the upscaling of citizens energy communities in the Province of Antwerp. 

Video: What motivates Kamp C to participate in the cVPP project?

7. Community Power

Community Power (formerly CRES) is Irelands first Community Owned Licensed Supply Company trading on the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM). Community Power is supporting communities around Ireland to develop their own renewable energy solutions. The collective ambition is to allow the many benefits of generating renewable power to stay local to the area where it is generated. Community Power is specifically focusing on community oriented solutions and supporting communities in developing a better understanding of how the market is likely to evolve and how community energy solutions can grow within this changing market.  

Community Power is implementing cVPP investment package in Ireland and like other implementing partners contributing to the development of the MoRe model and supporting long term roll out of the cVPP project to other partner territories.   

Subpartners: Claremorris and western District Energy Cooperative Ltd, Limerick Community Grocery Ltd (The Urban Co-Op), Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative Ltd, Aran Islands Energy Cooperative, Smart M Power Ltd 

Video: What motivates Community Power to participate in the cVPP project?

8. Tipperary County Council

Tipperary County Council is the local authority responsible for the administration of local government in Tipperary. Temple Derry Renewable Energy Supply Ltd. (trading as CRES) is also based in the county and is a 100% community owned renewable energy supply company, trading on behalf of small scale wind and hydro generators. Tipperary Energy Agency acts on behalf of Tipperary Co Co to manage and develop our energy resources. As one of the leading local authorities in the county in meeting energy efficiencies targets, we also have a long term commitment to developing sustainable energy projects in partnership with local communities.  

The purpose of the CVPP pilot project was to demonstrate  how a community based virtual power plant could be established in a rural environment, benefitting all the partners. Monetary savings will be accrued by the energy producers (Tipperary County Council) in generating their own energy requirements, the energy broker (Community Power) has a community ethos through purchasing and selling the excess energy produced to other consumers in the community.  

The CVPP project enabled Tipperary County Council to install 250Kw of  solar PV panels on three buildings and a landfill site and has contributed to doubling of solar PV panel capacity to 442kW. As the energy produced is sourced from renewables, this project will also contribute to meeting our climate change targets. 

Video: What motivates Tipperary County Council to participate in the cVPP project?

9. REScoop.eu

REScoop.eu is the European federation of citizen energy cooperatives. They represent a growing network of nearly 2.000 energy cooperatives from across Europe and 1.25 million citizens. Through REScoop.eu these energy cooperatives want to make their voices heard in the EU energy debates. REScoop.eu does European advocacy work and supports starting energy cooperatives in setting up and running their business. It fosters collaboration between energy cooperatives and promotes the cooperative business model in the energy sector. 

REScoop.eu joined cVPP in June 2020 to support the project capitalisation. Through REScoop.eu the cVPP project gets linked up with ECCO (NWE 496) and REScoop VPP. The REScoop network and tools that are being developed through these respective projects help setting up new energy communities and support their engagement in demand-side flexibility, aggregation and community-based virtual power plants. REScoop.eu leverages project results and disseminates these through its European network of energy communities and policy makers. 

What is a community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP)? 

Imagine that you generate your own energy. That makes you a prosumer. You can try to consume your own local production as much as you can, i.e. maximise your self-consumption. To realize this, you need to manage your energy as a smart prosumer. And what if you can do even more, together with others in a community? Discover in the video below how you could do more with your energy. (Dutch version at the bottom of this page)

A cVPP gives citizens an active role in the energy system, empowers them in the energy transition and allows them to do more with their own energy, by collectively managing their energy production and consumption. 

What is cVPP? What is VPP and what is the “c” in  cVPPi.e. what makes it community-based? Discover it here. 

A cVPP creates value for and by the community. What kind of value does cVPP create? How do these values relate to appropriate activities a cVPP can undertake? Read it here.  

A cVPP not necessarily only has value for the community, but it could also create value for the energy system. How does cVPP create value for the energy system? What role can communities play in the energy system, that could bring system value? Find out here.  

ICT plays an important role in the realisation of a cVPP. Discover here how important ICT is for a community and how these communities could use ICT for value creation. 

Other interesting readings on the conceptualization of cVPP can be found here:  

 

Below the Dutch version of the "What is cVPP" video.

Mobilise your community 

The involvement of the community is very important in a community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP). Engaging communities can be challenging because of a large diversity of communities and the context in which they operate. Discover the starter’s guide for energy communities that is developed using the insights from the three cVPP pilots and the nine replication sites. The guide aims to inspire, inform, engage and empower communities and enable them to participate in the energy transition.  For more information on cVPPs in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland, check out the cVPP examples.

Starter's guide

This starter's guide includes tools and crash courses, which can also be found separately under downloads 

A Dutch translation of the starter’s guide can be found here. 

For more information and tools to support your energy community, visit www.rescoop.eu.

Replication 

TU Eindhoven and Duneworks developed a Mobilisation and Replication (MoRe) model, based on experiences of the implementing and replicating partners. The model helps to explore whether and how a cVPP is a feasible solution for energy communities that want to play a more active role in the energy system. The MoRe model is a support tool, written for advisors and process moderators to support and advise energy communities in building their own cVPP. Energy communities that want to get started by their own, are advised to use the starter’s guide (see above). 

You can find the MoRe model here. 

Building a cVPP can be quite challenging, and because of the institutional contexts it cannot always support aspired roles and activities. Read here about the challenges the communities faced when setting up their cVPPs and what has been recommended to policy makers to change in order to make cVPP a viable business case. 

Upscaling 

More to come soon. 

Community-driven energy initiatives are seen as important drivers of the energy transition. So far, these initiatives focused mainly on energy generation and conservation. Recently, however, some initiatives started to adopt smart grid technologies like Virtual Power Plants (VPP) which enables them to become involved in the distribution, trading and management of energy. A novel model for energy provision arises: the community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP). 

Three practical cases in Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands highlight the diversity of cVPPs, that results from different choices and trade-offs made by various communities in diverse institutional contexts. Applying the cVPP conceptualization showed that the three cVPPs had to comply with the incumbent energy system, making it difficult to play the preferred roles in the energy system, operate on the scale of their community and to keep their own needs and values at the center. 

Below you can find more information per case. 

The rural cVPP - DPL (The Netherlands) 

The story of the Dutch cVPP starts in 2013 in Loenen, a small rural village in the Province of Gelderland. In 2013, the village of Loenen won a sustainability competition, organized by the municipality of Appeldoorn, requiring solutions to make villages energy neutral. Winning this competition by introducing a revolving fund, was the start to implementing this solution in their own village. Already more than 300 projects with an investment value of close to 2 million euro's have been installed in the Loenen buildings (insulation, PV (166), Heat pumps, etc) thanks to this fund and more are to come. The ambition of the village is to use all rooftop capacity in Loenen for PV, and become selfsupporting. Yet, this strategy requires smart energy management and so the rural cVPP got initiated. Currently Loenen generates 50% of household demand with local PV. 

The implementation of the cVPP is a bottom-up process, led by shared values and interests. These values were identified in Loenen through workshops and individual surveys. Read here more about the rural cVPP value proposition as a result of this.  

Technically, the cVPP consists of close to 100 residential PV, 0,9 MWp industrial PV, several steerable heat pumps and an EV-charging point, all connected through a tailor-made Energy Management System (EMS). During the upscaling phase of the project, more residential and industrial PV, storage facilities and flexible assets will be added. More information on the technical architecture of the ‘rural’ cVPP can be found here. 

More information on the rural cvpp can be found here: 

The social cVPP - EnerGent (Belgium) 

The story of the Belgian cVPP starts in Sint-Amandsberg-Dampoort, a residential, densely populated neighbourhood in the city of Ghent. Some people of this neighbourhood wanted to organize more solar energy locally, share it amongst each other and investigate the possibility of a neighbourhood battery to keep all produced energy locally. This led to the initiation of the project ‘Buurzame stroom, which aimed to increase PV production in the neighbourhood, reach all kinds of target groups including socially vulnerable households and investigate solutions for smart electricity grids. It is within this neighbourhood that the cVPP is built. Because of the focus on social inclusion, this pilot project implements a ‘social cVPP’. 

A cVPP is built by and for the neighbourhood. An important step in the cVPP implementation therefore consists of engaging the community and designing a cVPP according to the community’s values and needs. A community survey was conducted to identify these values. Discover here the social cVPP value proposition and how EnerGent aimed at including socially vulnerable target groups. 

The technical architecture of the cVPP consists of 16 residential PV coupled to home batteries, 1 battery at SME level and 2 thermal storage units through hybrid heat pumps, all connected through an open-source Energy Management System (EMS). During the upscaling phase of the project, this architecture will be extended with additional heat pumps and other flexible assets. More information on the technical establishment of the cVPP and how the EMS has been developed, can be found here

More information on the social cvpp can be found here: 

  • Slides: Summary of progress (June 2020)
  • Video kanaal Z: The impact of solar panels on the electricity grid
  • Article Aldi: EnerGent puts solar panels on the roof of Aldi

 

The dispersed cVPP - Community Power (Ireland) 

The Irish story starts in Co Tipperary at the Templederry Wind Farm, Ireland’s first community owned wind farm. This community project went through a process of partnerships with other community energy groups from the regions Tipperary, Limerick, Galway, Mayo and Dublin, all working on a sustainable energy future for Ireland, and led to the foundation of Community Power, Ireland’s first community owned electricity supplier. Community Power’s ambition is to increase on-site renewable generation, increase community owned renewable generation, smartly manage energy flows and support future communities to participate in building their own renewable energy solutions “by building a cVPP” across the country, i.e. a dispersed cVPP. 

All decisions made by Community Power must reflect the values and needs as agreed by all partner groups. Therefore, interactive group sessions with community members were organised, leading to identification of five core principles: local benefit, clean energy, co-operative, fair prices and local resilience. Read here how these principles impacted the design and implementation of the dispersed cVPP. 

An Energy Management System (EMS) with a dispersed architecture was developed and installed in domestic properties.  The EMS allows smart control of heat pumps and batteries to optimize behind-the-meter energy flows and provide flexibility services to the national grid.  During the upscaling phase of the project, new communities will be added to the dispersed cVPP and the number of connections to the EMS will be extended. 

More information on the dispersed cvpp can be found here: 

News


Power for the people

Posted on

Power for the people - Renewable Electricity auction now open for community energy The first auction for the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS 1) is open for applications from today, Monday 9th March, with the first auction due to take place over the summer. It is the first time community led renewable energy projects will be recognised and supported in Ireland. Read More

Kick-off on Monday 2 December and Tuesday 10 December 2019 | Loenen (NL)

Posted on

EN | For every interested Loenen residents, not just the more than 80 participants who already visited our workshops, we organize a kick-off meeting on Monday 2 December and Tuesday 10 December 2019. During this evening (from 7.30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) the project will be explained again. Everyone who then definitively registers as a participant will receive a so-called EARN-E for free. That is a smart device (value 30 euros) with app that gives you a simple insight into your electricity consumption and the idea behind the virtual power plant! Our goal is to recruit at least 100 participants in Loenen, so hear it and continue! In September we informed you in the newsletter about the progress of the virtual power plant, also known as cVPP. The tender for the Energy Management System, the heart of the plant, was still ongoing. In the meantime, after a careful process, the ICT Automatisering BV company has been chosen to build and implement the system. So we are really starting now! Read More

Three winning energycommunities in the Province of Antwerp

Posted on

EN | Three winning energy citizen movements come from the province of Antwerp. Kamp C, the Provincial Center for Sustainability and Innovation, announces three winning citizens' initiatives that want to generate energy themselves. They participated in the Open Call "Dreaming Dare to Do | Together strong for the energy transition3" of the cVPP project. ZuidtrAnt cvba-so & Stalinsstraat in Deurne, Cohousing BM Gummaar in Mechelen and Klimaan CV receive a check of 2000 euros and guidance to continue their project. NL| Drie winnende energieburgerbewegingen komen uit de provincie Antwerpen. Kamp C, het Provinciaal Centrum voor Duurzaamheid en Innovatie, maakt drie winnende burgerinitiatieven bekend die zelf energie willen opwekken. Zij namen deel aan de Open Oproep ‘Dromen Durven Doen | Samen sterk voor de energietransitie’ van het cVPP-project. ZuidtrAnt cvba-so & Stalinsstraat in Deurne, Burgerlijke Maatschap Gummaar in Mechelen en Klimaan CV krijgen een cheque van 2000 euro en begeleiding om hun project verder te zetten. Read More

Loenen the first steps

Posted on

The municipality of Apeldoorn and the Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen receive a European subsidy for the development and construction of a virtual power plant. With the subsidy and with the financial support of the Province of Gelderland, Loenen is going to work to be energy-neutral and self-sufficient within twenty years. More information about the project and its progress can be found soon on www.duurzaamloenen.be Read More


Events


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.
Read More


MoRe Model - Final

Innovation

Helping enterprises innovate

Innovation

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

Share this

Tweet Share