Virtual power plants for renewable energies

Apr 27, 2012
Siemens recently put two virtual power plants into operation. Virtual power plants are networks of several small power stations that are run like a single system. One of the new virtual power plants enables the Munich municipal utility company to run ...

Siemens recently put two virtual power plants into operation. Virtual power plants are networks of several small power stations that are run like a single system. 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. The second virtual power plant was set up for the utility company RWE and consists of a number of similar components to those in Munich. Although it will initially also have an output of 20 megawatts, the second virtual power plant will be expanded to 200 megawatts by 2015. The key component of each virtual power plant network is the distributed energy management system from Siemens.

When incorporated into smart grids, virtual power plants open up new possibilities for suppliers and operators of energy generation systems. The electricity produced in this manner can be traded on the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig, Germany, for example, or offered to other markets. Besides offering energy suppliers an additional way of selling electricity, virtual power plants also make the utilities more flexible. 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 "," the importance of virtual 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.

Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Smart software for self-regulating smart grid

May 24, 2011

Siemens and the utility company Allgauer Uberlandwerk (AUW) in the city of Kempten, Germany, are testing the smart grids of the future. The tests focus on optimized power distribution and the use of a self-organizing ...

Argonne gets wind of new energy models

Jan 11, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Sailors and golfers aren't the only people interested in knowing how much the wind blows; people who run wind farms need to know too.

Virtually engineering power plants

Jul 13, 2009

Photovoltaic and wind energy plants, hydroelectric power stations and biogas plants supply energy without polluting the environment. However, they are complex to design and maintain. Virtual reality makes ...

The Inexhaustible Energy Source Beneath Our Feet

May 24, 2004

According to the expert Willy Gehrer, the environmentally friendly generation of electricity from geothermal sources is going to play an important role in the future of energy production. “I’m convinced that ...

Intelligent networking of wind farms

Apr 06, 2010

The EU member states have passed a resolution requiring one fifth of their electricity needs to be derived from renewable energy sources by 2020, with wind farms covering a large part of this requirement. ...

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

tarheelchief
not rated yet May 02, 2012
If townships and counties unified their energy plans to utilize grazing lands,mountainous lands,or swamp lands for solar or wind farms,then they could coordinate their investments in smaller generation stations and tie into the grids already established.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...