Smart energy companies GridPoint and Leap are partnering to develop virtual power plants that will make businesses’ electricity consumption more efficient and reduce their utility bills. This announcement comes on the heels of Stem Inc’s recently disclosed plans to construct VPPs across South America.
In contrast to conventional power plants, which are centralized, virtual power plants are distributed networks of electricity infrastructure consisting of components such as integrated small- and medium-scale, typically renewable power plants, electricity storage (i.e. batteries), and smart devices such as thermostats and HVAC systems.
There are numerous benefits to VPPs due to their decentralized nature. Because they consist of many, smaller power plants rather than one large power plant, they are able to meet spikes in electricity demand more efficiently than firing up an energy-intensive peaker plant or building a whole new facility. Additionally, their integration of batteries allows cheap electricity, generated during the day, to be stored for use at night, driving down energy prices. By analyzing time-of-use rates, smart-grid integrated VPPs help businesses power their operations when electricity is cheapest and reduce energy consumption when rates are expensive. They even enable businesses that generate electricity via solar panels, electric vehicles, etc. to sell back their surplus to the grid.
GridPoint is an intelligent energy network provider that describes its mission as working to,
“Accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable energy future by creating a network of grid-interactive buildings. By transforming the way commercial businesses use energy through hardware and AI software, GridPoint unlocks the decarbonization, sustainability, and grid resiliency required for a cleaner, more efficient tomorrow.”
Leap is an energy marketplace provider and,
“The leading global platform for integrating flexible energy resources into global electricity markets. Leap supplies the grid with zero carbon, price competitive alternatives to fossil-fueled power plants by creating virtual power plants.”
Describing the partnership, GridPoint stated,
“With Leap, GridPoint and its customers can now capture the full value of automated energy consumption reductions, linking any grid-connected load to global energy markets with Leap’s simple API.”
VPPs have the added benefit of strengthening grid resilience and reliability by providing backup electricity in case of power outages, which are expected to increase in frequency as climate change continues to fuel extreme weather events.