||European distribution utilities are facing a significant development of Distributed Energy Resources (DER).Initially, DER has been connected using a “fit and forget“ approach which is no longer appropriate as soon as the
penetration of DER becomes significant. Size, intermittence and actual non-dispatchability limit DER units’ ability to become active players in an open electricity market.
Besides the economic advantage of integrating small generators into the electricity market, integration of aggregated DER may also offer new services to the grid. Aggregation of small generators and controllable loads
through a “Virtual Power Plant“ (VPP) may give an opportunity to small units to reach mandatory volumes of power to be economically significant, and coordination to offer capability of grid services. Multiple DER coordinated
could not only participate to provide ancillary services (active power reserves for frequency control, reactive power reserve for local voltage control, black starts, etc.)that ensure stability and safety of the power grid, but also
new customer services for power quality, communication or
A VPP would thus provide valuable support to grid operators, offer new business opportunities and increase competitiveness in electricity markets, and consequently favour a smart integration of DER in the system.
An European Commission integrated R&D project called FENIX, which includes utilities, manufacturers, research institutes and academics, aims to verify the feasibility and value of the VPP concepts, and finally demonstrate prototypes of Virtual Power Plants during 2009.
Physical implementations of such concepts require a rethink of traditional distribution operations to permit communication, command and control of VPPs to becoordinated with distribution. The VPP demonstrations illustrate the value of aggregating generators and loads.
Scenarios include industrial controllable loads and several significant DER on a Spanish MV distribution network commercially aggregated by a VPP, and also a British town with a significant amount of small scale LV generation
units. The scenarios describe how the generators could be coordinated and operated to respond to electricity markets and operator needs. Specifications of innovative usage of DER, described in scenarios, will be defined, developed and finally implemented in operating software systems for the prototype VPPs.
This paper presents the general concepts of VPP developed in FENIX, and then focuses on the consequences for the Distribution System Operators (DSO) and their need for active power system management, and the innovative
functionalities that DSO tools will have to perform. It will finally present two case studies to be carried out one in the United Kingdom and the other in Spain to demonstrate parts of the VPP concept.