RMI, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the global energy transformation, on Jan. 10 announced the formation of the Virtual Power Plant Partnership (VP3).

In recognition of the critical work needed to tackle scaling the market for virtual power plants, initial funding of the VP3 effort was made possible by General Motors and Google Nest. As of Jan. 10, VP3 includes founding members Ford, General Motors, Google Nest, OhmConnect, Olivine, SPAN, SunPower, Sunrun, SwitchDin and Virtual Peaker.

VP3 is an initiative based at RMI that works to catalyze industry and transform policy to support scaling VPPs in ways that help advance affordable, reliable electric sector decarbonization by overcoming barriers to VPP market growth.

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

VP3 follows in the path of successful institutional spinoffs in the electric sector space previously incubated by RMI, including the Clean Energy Buyers Association and the Energy Web Foundation.

“Virtual power plants are poised for explosive growth, and RMI is committed to being at the forefront of their success by launching VP3,” said RMI CEO Jon Creyts. “Our analysis shows that VPPs can reduce peak power demand and improve grid resilience in a world of increasingly extreme climate events. A growing VPP market also means revenue opportunities for hardware, software and energy-service companies in the buildings and automotive industries. For large energy users, VPPs can significantly reduce energy spend while providing new revenue streams.”

“The next 12 to 24 months are critical for policy and program development to seize the potential offered by virtual power plants, and VP3 is here to ensure that the energy transition doesn’t miss a beat,” said Mark Dyson, RMI managing director for carbon-free electricity. “Policy change, customer and stakeholder education, and unilateral action by individual businesses or organizations all take time and resources. We’re excited to partner in this work with leading businesses in VPP-related sectors including electric vehicles, building controls, residential energy technologies, utility-facing software solutions and more.”

More About VP3’s Goals

With the guidance and support of its members, VP3 is working toward a future where businesses, households and communities are empowered through VPPs which can help to support cost-effective energy, emissions reductions and a more resilient electricity grid. To achieve this, VP3 will work to:

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

“Virtual power plants present an exciting opportunity to unlock additional value for homes, businesses and communities, helping to drive greater energy independence and grid decarbonization,” said Mark Bole, GM VP and head of V2X and battery solutions. “This collaboration underscores GM’s commitment to creating a more resilient grid, with EVs and virtual power plants playing a key role in helping to advance our all-electric future.”

"Electric vehicles are introducing entirely new opportunities for consumers and businesses alike, creating a greater need for sustainable energy solutions to responsibly power our connected lifestyles," said Bill Crider, head of global charging and energy services, Ford Motor Company. "Supporting grid stability through the introduction of technologies like Intelligent Backup Power is central to Ford's strategy, and collaborating to advance virtual power plants will be another important step to ensure a smooth transition to an EV lifestyle."

Source: RMI, Ford

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