Norwegian state-owned utility Statkraft is looking at virtual power plants (VPPs) to drive expansion in Europe.
This follows the recent announcement that the company intends doubling its VPP capacity in the country to 2GW by summer 2019, as well as 12GW in Germany.
It’s UK capacity is made up of wind and solar power along with battery storage and flexible gas engines.
Vice president of sales and new products or the utilities UK division, Duncan Dale said the VPP model would have a critical role in optimizing power trading in country’s energy market, as the proportion of renewables increases, particularly intermittent sources.
“The increasing share of renewable energy in the U.K. will require a maximum of flexibility in the British power grid,” he said in a press note. “By integrating batteries and engines into the virtual power plant and optimizing their operations, we can provide this flexibility reliably.”
American players Southern California Edison and AMS’ recent claims of being the world’s biggest VPP pales in comparison to Statkraft’s UK facility, which has 37 times the power. The utility claims to be the largest generator of renewable energy in Europe.
The UK plant is also tiny in comparison the utility’s VPP operations in Germany, said to be the biggest distributed energy generation (DER) operation in Europe, with 1300 wind farms, 100 solar projects, 8 hydro-electric stations, and a dozen biomass power plants in operation since 2011. Statkraft further claims that its VPP capacity rivals that of up to 11 nuclear reactors.
VPP operations in the two countries are partnered with forecasting firm Energy & Meteo Systems, which provide software solutions to manage DER assets.
The company intends to roll out VPP’s in both France and Turkey. Expansion into France will be built on renewal rights to hydro-electric plants, and the company already has two projects in Turkey.
This is likely being driven by increasing demand or renewable power purchase agreements (PPA’s), with UK operations already providing 12 TWh per year to over 400 PPA customers, according to the company’s website, and is planning on extending supply to the Irish market.