Siemens pilots VPP technology in Finland

Siemens, which is currently selling off the majority share in its Energy, Gas and renewables businesses is piloting a virtual power plant in Finland in an effort to help balance the grid, and expand the potential for sustainable energy in the country.

The company is working alongside the Finnish government using its Vibeco (Virtual Buildings Ecosystem) which balances electrical loads from buildings connected as part of a microgrid, and incorporating renewables and storage.

Siemens says the VPP facilitates the combination of several small electrical loads of building or industrial sites, allowing building operators to sell energy back to the main grid or reserve market.

The service helps balance consumption by reducing reliance on reserve power, and as a result, cutting emissions.

Finnish national grid operator, Fingrid, current compensates property owners when the VPP feeds energy into the grid, and the Finnish government is providing €8.4 million for the required technology investments.

Siemens is currently running pilots with two customers. Finnish Railways will connect to Helsinki central station, as well as two train depots in a microgrid, creating a VPP, and the city of Lappeenranta will also kick off a VPP consisting of nine public buildings, which is intended to be scaled up to 50 more buildings in a city microgrid.

Markku Mäki-Hokkonen, Development Manager of the City of Lappeenranta said: “The virtual power plant service decreases the environmental impact of the city and provides additional income.”

Cedrik Neike, Chief Executive Officer Siemens Smart Infrastructure added: “We are shaping a new market at the grid edge with this technology. Together with the State of Finland, we are pioneering a model for decentralised energy systems to benefit utilities, business and society. The complexity of balancing loads across buildings, the grid and even with eMobility infrastructure requires deep domain expertise in the demand and supply areas.”

Siemens has also announced the launch a new business unit to support the expansion of its VPP activity.