A virtual power plant (VPP) consists of distributed energy storage systems, like Tesla Powerwalls, used in concert to provide grid services and avoid the use of polluting and expensive peaker power plants.
PC Magazine notes the program was launched in conjunction with California power utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company:
As well as the personal feeling of satisfaction for helping to stabilize California’s grid, you’ll receive $2 for every additional kilowatt-hour delivered during designated “events,” such as any time grid operator CAISO issues an energy alert, warning, or emergency. Contributors will receive push notifications before and during an event with details of its expected start and finish times. Once an event is over, each Powerwall will automatically resume normal operation.
Electrek adds that “The $2 per kWh amount is quite significant and reflects just how much value a Virtual Power Plant can add to the grid in case of an emergency event where the grid needs more capacity. Depending on the events and the number of Powerwalls homeowners have, they could earn anywhere from $10 to $60 per event or even more for bigger systems.”
But in addition, “Tesla will dispatch your Powerwall when the grid is in critical need of additional power. That is when the least efficient generators would typically come online.”
And you get the distinction of being pat of “the largest distributed battery in the world — potentially over 50,000 Powerwalls…. Tesla said that it has about 50,000 Powerwalls that could be eligible for this VPP, which add up to a significant 500 MWh of energy capacity than can be distributed in any event… [I]t is basically going to turn the company into a major decentralized electric utility. It’s already in operation in Australia. Now it’s in California, and soon it is going to be in Texas.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.