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Toshiba Advances Virtual Power Plant Capabilities with AI and IoT Technologies


Virtual Power Plants and their role in a decarbonized society

Power companies that handle the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power are constantly adjusting output levels to meet anticipated consumption, and to maintain a dynamic balance between supply and demand. If those efforts fail, and supply becomes unstable, power outages result.

A VPP brings advanced energy management technologies to dispersed energy generation sources. It bundles them together in a network  that’s the virtual plant  and applies IoT and AI to aggregating output and controlling their connection to the grid. In combination and managed by a VPP, small, isolated power generation points can be used in load-leveling, to absorb excess supply from renewables, and to deliver supply during shortages. Used to realize fine adjustments and no-waste generation, VPP will also contribute the decarbonization of society.

The capabilities of VPP extend even further. Used in combination with energy management systems at consumer sites, VPP can create and support innovative services. For instance, power that is not consumed as a result of incentives on the demand side, is seen as having the same value as power that is generated, and is measured as a ‘negawatt’. VPP can stimulate realization of negawatts, and manage them. In a fully realized market, it will become possible to buy electricity generated from all kinds of power supply sources, including low cost generation by consumers.

As the 2020s progress and the new energy supply market grows, VPP will play the role of managing and using widely distributed power sources. The potential of numerous small-scale generation facilities, widely dispersed in offices, factories and homes, and even electric cars, is immense. In the new future, VPP will have an indispensable part to play in realizing a decarbonized society.