Virtual Power Plants

Pike Research defines a virtual power plant (VPP) as a system that relies upon software systems to remotely and automatically dispatch and optimize generation, demand-side, or storage resources (including plug-in electric vehicles and bi-directional inverters) in a single, secure web-connected system.

VPPs can provide extraordinary value and services to transmission and distribution (T&D) grid infrastructure, as well as revenue streams to myriad stakeholders engaged in the provision of electric power.

The primary goal of a VPP is to achieve the greatest possible profit for asset owners while at the same time maintaining the proper balance of the electricity grid. From the outside, the VPP looks like a single power production facility which publishes one schedule of operation and which can be optimized from a single, remote site. From the inside, the VPP can combine a rich diversity of independent resources into a network via sophisticated planning, scheduling, and bidding of distributed energy resource (DER)-based services. Pike Research forecasts that vendor revenue from VPPs, in an average forecast scenario, will reach $3.6 billion in 2020.

This Pike Research report examines the market for VPPs across four key segments: demand response-based VPPs, supply-side VPPs, mixed asset VPPs, and wholesale auction VPPs. The report includes both capacity and vendor revenue forecasts for each of these four VPP segments, broken down by region, through 2020. It also identifies key market drivers and barriers, and profiles the key players in the emerging VPP market, including utilities, large technology vendors, software firms, demand response aggregators, and selected key component providers. In addition, the report details the key issues facing primary VPP technologies, including smart grid automation, demand response, combined heat and power, advanced energy storage, smart inverters, and plug-in electric vehicles.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • How do different market participants and parts of the world define a VPP?
  • Which VPP segments show the best near-term potential in which geographies