Virtual Power Plants: The Future of Distributed Energy Storage

The virtual power plant - aggregated, behind-the-meter solar, energy storage, and building loads dispatched in concert to meet grid needs - is a new model that has been pioneered in New England and is now being adopted by forward-looking utilities and policymakers across the country. This session will explain why the virtual power plant is the future of energy storage, how states can create virtual power plants using existing programs and budgets, and why this is an important new paradigm that will benefit customers and communities. The virtual power plant model solves numerous problems, including how to fund distributed storage and bring it to scale; how to democratize storage, and include low-income and underserved communities in the storage revolution; how to lower storage investment risk for customers, utilities, investors and policymakers; how to tie individual, BTM systems to regional grid needs; and how to provide resilient power to communities for free. The adoption of a simple funding model, which uses existing state programs and budgets, makes possible the development of pipelines of behind-the-meter energy storage projects, including in low-income communities, which need advanced clean energy systems the most.

Session Speaker(s): 

Session Chair(s): 

Event Time: 

Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 11:30am to 12:30pm

CEU Information: 

AIA 1.0 LU
Conference-day attendance credits available from PHIUS, RESNET, and Mass. CSL

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain how aggregating and dispatching distributed storage through utility contracts makes batteries more cost effective and reduces economic risk for customers, utilities and lenders
  • Justify why publicf unds should support virtual power plants that harness private storage resources to address public grid needs
  • Describe the societal benefits offered by VPP-forming incentive programs such as ConnectedSolutions and BYOD programs, especially through stacking multiple value streams
  • Advocate for state policymakers and regulators to create virtual power plants through existing state programs and budgets

Session ID: 

BOS21-611