One of the new virtual power plants enables the Munich municipal utility company to run six of its cogeneration modules, five hydroelectric facilities, and one wind-power plant more efficiently and economically than if they were operated separately. The facilities have a combined output of 20 megawatts.
In addition, they can help improve grid stability by making controlling power available in the minute reserve range. Virtual power plants are ideally suited for renewable sources of energy. Since Germany's Renewable Energy Act was amended in January 2012, the associated market subsidy system encourages operators to sell electricity from their virtual power plants directly on the energy markets. As a result of the "energy revolution," the importance of virtual power plants in smart grids is expected to grow.
The distributed energy management system from the energy automation experts at Siemens uses sophisticated information and communications technology to network and combine the various decentralized power producers so that they can be centrally managed. To make this possible, the system processes all of the relevant information, including weather forecasts, current electricity prices, and energy demand. On the basis of this data, the system draws up an operation schedule for all of the associated facilities and monitors its implementation.
The system updates its energy consumption prediction every hour, depending on the weather forecast and the type of day. The operation schedule minimizes the costs of generating electricity and operating the facilities within the virtual power plant network. In doing so, the system takes economic as well as environmental aspects into account.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews
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