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Virtual power plant used to trade energy for the first time by catering company

Published May 4, 2020

Virtual power plant used to trade energy for the first time by catering company

A catering company in Devon has become the first in the UK to use a ‘virtual power plant’ to trade energy on the grid.   

Philip Dennis Foodservice in Devon used a Tesla energy storage system in tandem with a BYD battery to provide power to a Flexitricity virtual power plant and then to the grid.  

Last year, the government amended the Balancing and Settlement Code. This meant virtual power plants are now able to respond to balancing mechanism units, such as the system used by Philip Dennis Foodservice.  

The trade was made after the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) requested the company to provide extra energy in order to stabilise the grid.  

The VPP responds to calls from the National Grid ESO, tapping into storage systems to sell into the grid at the time of demand, generating income for businesses. 

More businesses are expected to look into adopting these balancing systems. The National Grid ESO claims that new systems, products, and services will be crucial in coming years to support the transition to a decarbonised grid. 

Nick Fedson, a sustainability analyst at Alfa Energy said:

“Virtual power plants are an important concept in a zero-carbon electricity grid. They serve two purposes. With a mostly renewable generation base, intermittent supply from large generation companies requires demand response. A virtual power plant can help stabilise demand by distributing small generation resources to improve frequency regulation and reduce transmission losses.  

“Secondly, virtual power plants create new earning opportunities for small generators, who can be paid for the power the produce and for the flexibility they give to the energy system – making small-scale renewable generation even more attractive for businesses.”