ABB Ability™ for Power

Virtual power plants


Modern power plants need modern control systems. Distributed generation is not a threat, it’s an opportunity.

Key Challenges

Key Challenges

Respond quickly and cost-effectively to rapidly changing load requirements

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) collects / pools units under a central control system. Almost all power generation and storage technologies can be part of a VPP including biogas, biomass, combined heat and power (CHP), wind, solar, hydro, diesel and fossil-fired plants.

Energy storage facilities can also be incorporated into a VPP. Any type of energy storage technology can be applied, including batteries, thermal storage, compressed air or pumped storage.

Typically, VPPs pool production from hundreds of small and medium renewable energy plants into a single entity that has the large scale and flexibility to participate in the electricity market. Broadly speaking, a VPP has three goals:

  • 1

    Obtain better prices on spot and derivatives markets

  • 2

    Participate in the power balancing market

  • 3

    Optimize production and consumption inside the VPP

Core deliverables

Core deliverables

Better modeling and scalability

Reliability is a core deliverable for the industry, which is challenged by the variability of renewable supply, the diversification of consumer and business demand and, as anyone in America’s Midwest will tell you, springtime storms. Better modeling, and modeling that gets better over time, can have implications not only for service uptime, but also for cost management.

Power plants gain a competitive advantage with unit load schedules that minimize the deviation with the nominated overall schedule. This means not only better planning tools, but also the capacity to customize the scale of the modeling to best reflect a particular plant’s business resources and needs.

The Power of Digital

The Power of Digital

Solving industry needs through digitalization

Virtual power plants, also known as virtual power pools, are a proven way to harness the advantages of multi-unit distributed generation. They do so across an impressive range of applications which enable:

  • Utilities and distributed energy companies to integrate, optimize, and trade production

  • Municipal utilities to balance production with consumption using day-ahead planning

  • Microgrids to integrate more renewables to minimize their use of fossil fuels

  • Industries to cut their energy costs by up to 10% without impacting production

  • Conventional multi-unit power plants to optimize production

By 2025 there will be 1 billion more people on the planet, all requiring electricity. And by 2040, 60 percent of the power generated worldwide will come from renewable sources, almost half of which from wind and solar photovoltaic. Much of this solar and wind power will be generated by small-scale producers – individuals, businesses and municipalities.

As a result, the need is escalating for virtual power plants that combine multiple, geographically dispersed production units into a single optimized entity that can plan and adjust production dynamically and trade intelligently on the energy market.

  • «…VPP operators can pool and trade production from thousands of small-scale generators, municipalities and microgrids can optimize their energy networks, and industries can cut their energy costs by 5-10 percent - all through ABB Ability™ solutions for virtual power plants…»

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