Decentralized energy management: The "brains" of virtual power plants

Published: Tue 15 Oct 2013
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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Distributed generation, including from renewable resources, is on the rise -- and so are virtual power plants: clusters of small-scale generation sources that collectively behave like a single power plant. This strategy compensates for the characteristic fluctuations of individual wind and photovoltaic power facilities, thus minimizing disruption to power grids and making it easier to put renewable energy on the market.

Distributed energy management systems provide the intelligence to build a "hive mind" of disparate energy resources. This week, at European Utility Week, Dr. Thomas Werner (Product Lifecycle Manager for DEMS -- The Decentralized Energy Management System) will introduce DEMS 3.0. This software helps utilities easily manage virtual power plants. This isn't just for technical staff traditionally involved in grid operations; DEMS 3.0 is designed for use by energy economists or sales and marketing staff, not just engineers.

DEMS 3.0 can help utilities:

  • Bundle energy produced by decentralized resources -- including controllable loads and storage, as well as distributed generation.
  • More effectively access more energy markets, including spot, intra-day, and tertiary markets.
  • Quickly respond to market changes.
  • More accurately forecast solar and wind power generation.
  • Enhance demand response integration to lower peak demand and control long-term costs to build new power plants.

"Technology has to be fun," said Werner. "In the past, it was much more difficult to model and configure VPPs."

DEMS 3.0 includes a "Designer" tool that offers easy navigation, attractive layout, and automatic support mechanisms. This reduces by 60% the amount training required for VPP data engineers and users. Consequently, this makes it far more affordable to implement VPPs, putting this strategy in reach of utilities of any size.

LEARN MORE: In a recent interview, Werner describes DEMS 3.0 in more detail.

Read more at Siemens Smart Grid Watch!