Energy Storage

Google Nest, GM, and Others Form Partnership to Advance Virtual Power Plants

Consulting firm RMI recently announced the formation of a virtual power plant partnership that aims to advance and support the build out and scaling of virtual power plants.

The founding members of the Virtual Power Plant Partnership include Ford, General Motors, Google Nest, OhmConnect, Olivine, SPAN, SunPower, Sunrun, SwitchDin, and Virtual Peaker, with initial funding made possible by General Motors and Google Nest.

Virtual power plants are portfolios comprised of hundreds or thousands of households and businesses that offer the latent potential of their electric vehicles, smart thermostats, appliances, batteries, solar arrays, and additional energy assets to support the grid.

Customers, or their authorized energy management companies, can then use advanced software to adjust charging, discharging, output, and demand from distributed energy resources in response to signals from markets and grid operators in an effort to efficiently balance energy supply and demand.

The threefold goals of the partnership are to:

  • Catalog, research, and communicate VPP benefits,
  • Develop industry-wide best practices, standards, and roadmaps, and
  • Inform and shape policy development.

In December, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District announced an agreement with Swell Energy that would give it the ability to tap into its customers’ energy storage devices to create a virtual power plant.