Full load on decentralized electricity


The VPP, or Virtual Power Plant, is the new target of one of the world’s largest tech investment funds, Softbank’s Vision Fund 2. During a seed round from the startup Swell, the Japanese conglomerate was able to get its hands on disruptive technology in the future, according to her.

In France, it is more commonly called the virtual power plant. Its principle is based on the combination of small energy sources, such as private homes, to manage and store electricity. Everything is computer optimized for intelligent management and a decentralized solution in case of sudden need or hardship (such as natural disasters). Even Tesla is on it.

Electricity is reorganizing into a virtual power plant

Softbank went through its second fund, Vision Fund 2 and its $108 billion envelope to invest in Swell. The $ 120 million brought by it would not be the only capital injected, but the boss of the startup has not yet wanted to reveal more details on the round. One thing is certain, in addition to propelling Swell, this investment puts VPP technology center stage and confirms their ambition.

The startup already works with various public services in California as well as in New York State and Hawaii. Last February, it presented its new infrastructure management platform, GridAmp, which should go “provide advanced network capabilities to utilities”relying on a park of batteries and solar panels.

Public services, particularly in the United States and in countries where electricity is particularly carbon-intensive, are throwing themselves into these virtual power plant solutions as they allow them to get closer to the objectives of reducing CO2 emissions. In Hawaii, a power consumption policy official said:

“Working with grid service aggregators like Swell is a critical part of meeting Hawaiian Electric’s goal of reducing carbon emissions from power generation by 70% by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions. of carbon from electricity generation by 2045 or earlier”.

In a short time, the list of companies working on a Virtual Power Plant has grown. Sonnen, Sunrun, Sunnova, Enphase, SolarEdge or even Generac seek to compete with Tesla – some are also Swell partners.

Tesla is on it

Tesla has been working on the same physical and software infrastructure for several years now. After the state of California and Australia, it deployed a new virtual power plant in a city in Japan. On site, it offers public services to equip themselves with its own products (batteries and school panels) so that residents can install them in their homes.

Through the system of returning electricity to the grid as needed, residents can earn money. In times of high demand, individuals who feed electricity back into the grid can earn up to 2 euros per kilowatt hour.

True constellations, decentralized electrical networks on the principle of community, virtual electrical power plants rely heavily on new software technologies. Intelligent, they make it possible to better manage the network according to situations, even the most unusual. What to understand the importance of such infrastructures, in particular in the zones at the risks and/or the infrastructures are insufficient or exposed to the risks (in particular of nature).

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