Big News on Virtual Power Plants

Here’s a surprise: PSE, CENSE, and the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) all agree that “Virtual Power Plants” are an essential investment for grid modernization. At a hearing held on March 25, 2021, the UTC accepted PSE’s plan to postpone competitive bidding on Demand Response solutions so the company could concentrate on developing a Virtual Power Plant system.

What is a “Virtual Power Plant?” It’s a collection of rooftop solar panels, batteries in homes and businesses, and smart grid technologies that leading utilities use to meet high levels of demand for electricity and respond to local power outages. Virtual Power Plants (VPPs for short) are reducing costly outages, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and holding the line on ever-increasing energy bills for customers. If that sounds a bit too virtual to understand, see the videos below that provide further insights.

Can a VPP replace Energize Eastside? Yes!  CENSE engaged a respected energy consulting firm to analyze the capabilities, economics, and technical feasibility of a VPP operating on the Eastside.  CENSE will publish this study in time for the Newcastle’s land use hearing for Energize Eastside (date not set yet).

The study’s conclusions are exciting!  By every significant measure, a VPP delivers better value than either Energize Eastside or “No Action.”

Benefit Virtual Power Plant Energize Eastside No Action
Save customers money    
Deliver better year-round reliability    
Reduce harmful gas emissions    
Avoid pipeline safety risks  
Preserve trees and neighborhood character  
Benefit Virtual
Power
Plant
Energize
Eastside
Save
customers
money
 
Deliver better
year-round
reliability
 
Reduce
harmful gas
emissions
 
Avoid
pipeline
safety risks
 
Preserve
trees and
neighborhood
character
 

This short video from Tesla explains how a growing VPP in South Australia benefits customers (90 seconds)

This video explains how electric vehicles can help a VPP replace fossil fuel plants (9 min)

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