Power plants conjure up images of large-scale infrastructure and investment.
But what is a virtual power plant?
It is a collection of smaller batteries that connect to add capacity to the electrical grid. The stored energy in these batteries are added to the grid in times of peak demand instead of remaining unused.
There are several initiatives in the U.S. at various stages, including in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Vermont.
The implementation of these virtual power plants have many benefits. In an interview for Inside Climate News, Mark Dyson from the research and advocacy group RMI suggests “(v)irtual power plants can help us keep the lights on and keep electricity affordable, using devices we’ve already bought and paid for, without building new power plants.”
Are virtual power plants an option where you live?