Virtual Power Plants

Demand Response, Supply-Side, and Mixed Asset VPPs:
Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

The evolution of energy markets is accelerating in the direction of a greater reliance upon distributed energy resources (DER). Successful strategies to manage this increasing two-way complexity are being deployed today all over the world. One such strategy is a virtual power plant (VPP), which can be viewed as a manifestation of the concept of transactive energy. Essentially, the VPP can combine a rich diversity of independent resources into a network via sophisticated planning, scheduling, and bidding of DER-based services.

Several recent trends are creating an environment conducive to VPPs. These include the increasing penetration of smart meters and other smart grid technologies, growth in variable renewable generation, and emerging markets for ancillary services. However, challenges to commercial rollouts of VPPs remain, including the lack of reliance upon dynamic, real-time pricing and consumer pushback against the smart grid. The end goal for this market is the mixed asset VPP segment, as it brings distributed generation (DG) and demand response (DR) together to provide a synergistic sharing of grid resources. Navigant Research forecasts that total annual VPP vendor revenue will grow from $1.1 billion in 2014 to $5.3 billion in 2023 under a base scenario.

This Navigant Research report analyzes the global VPP market, with a focus on three primary segments: DR, supply-side, and mixed asset VPPs. The study provides an analysis of the market issues, including business cases, market drivers, and implementation challenges, associated with VPPs. Global market forecasts for power capacity and vendor revenue, broken out by segment, region, and scenario, extend through 2023. The report also examines the key technologies related to VPPs, as well as the competitive landscape.

Key Questions Addressed:
  • What is the Navigant Research definition of a virtual power plant (VPP)?
  • How do the market dynamics differ for the three VPP market segments: demand response (DR), supply-side, and mixed asset?
  • What technologies are being deployed within VPPs globally?
  • Where are the projected hot spots for the three primary VPP segments over the next 10 years?
  • How do VPP business models differ among vendors?
  • How does the VPP fit into transactive energy trends?
  • Why is the VPP the ultimate example of the energy cloud concept?
Who needs this report?
  • Smart grid hardware and software vendors
  • Grid operators and transmission companies
  • Utilities
  • Energy storage manufacturers
  • Demand response aggregators
  • Solar and wind companies
  • Government agencies
  • Investor community

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

1.1  Virtual Power Plants and the Emerging Energy Cloud

2. Market Issues 

2.1  Virtual Power Plants: Definitions and Market Segments

2.1.1   Navigant Research VPP Definition

2.1.2   Three Primary VPP Segments

   2.1.2.1  DR VPPs

   2.1.2.2  Supply-Side VPPs

   2.1.2.3  Mixed Asset VPPs

2.1.3   VPPs versus Microgrids

   2.1.3.1  Case Study: Lessons Learned from Denmark on VPP and Microgrid Overlap

2.2  The Business Case for VPPs

2.2.1   Better DER Asset Utilization

2.2.2   Synergy with ADR

2.2.3   Emergence of New Utility Business Models

2.2.4   Tipping Point Value Propositions for VPPs

2.3  Current Market Drivers

2.3.1   Maturing Smart Meter Markets

2.3.2   Utility Distribution and Substation Automation Trends

2.3.3   Global Growth in Variable Renewable Generation

2.3.4   Utility and Regulator Pushback on Renewables Incentives

2.3.5   Emerging Organized Markets for Grid Ancillary Services

2.3.6   FERC Orders on DR

2.4  Implementation Challenges

2.4.1   Lack of Dynamic Energy Pricing

2.4.2   Pushback against the Utility Smart Grid

2.4.3   Lack of VPP Standards, Certifications, and Property Rights

2.4.4   What Is the Best VPP Business Model?

   2.4.4.1  Business Model Case Study: How Ventyx Leverages the Cloud for VPPs

3. Technology Issues

3.1  VPP-Enabling Technology Overview

3.2  DG

3.2.1   Pros and Cons

3.2.2   Commercial Time Horizon

3.3  Smart Meters

3.3.1   Pros and Cons

3.3.2   Commercialization Time Horizon

3.4  DR

3.4.1   Pros and Cons

3.4.2   Commercial Time Horizon

3.5  Smart Inverters

3.5.1   Pros and Cons

3.5.2   Commercial Time Horizon

3.6  Advanced Energy Storage

3.6.1   Pros and Cons

3.6.2   Commercial Time Horizon

3.7  PEVs

3.7.1   Pros and Cons

3.7.2   Commercial Time Horizon

3.8  Smart Grid Networking Software

4. Key Industry Players 

4.1  The VPP Competitive Landscape

4.2  Utilities

4.2.1   DONG Energy

4.2.2   Duke Energy

4.2.3   RWE

4.3  Large Technology Players

4.3.1   Alstom Grid

4.3.2   Bosch

4.3.3   GE Digital Energy

4.3.4   IBM

4.3.5   Schneider Electric

4.3.6   Siemens

4.4  Pure Software Firms

4.4.1   ENBALA Power Networks

4.4.2   Joule Assets

4.4.3   Power Analytics

4.4.4   Power Assure

4.4.5   Spirae

4.4.6   Ventyx/ABB

4.4.7   Viridity Energy

4.5  DR Aggregators

4.5.1   Comverge

4.5.2   Consert

4.5.3   Cooper Power Systems/Eaton

4.5.4   Customized Energy Solutions

4.5.5   EnerNOC

5. Market Forecasts  

5.1  VPP Market Forecast Overview

5.1.1   Scenarios

5.1.2   Five Leading VPP Markets

   5.1.2.1  United States

   5.1.2.2  Germany

   5.1.2.3  Denmark

   5.1.2.4  United Kingdom

   5.1.2.5  Japan

5.1.3   Revenue Forecast Methodology

5.2  DR VPPs

5.2.1   North America

5.2.2   Europe

5.2.3   Asia Pacific

5.2.4   Latin America

5.2.5   Middle East & Africa

5.3  Supply-Side VPPs

5.3.1   North America

5.3.2   Europe

5.3.3   Asia Pacific

5.3.4   Latin America

5.3.5   Middle East & Africa

5.4  Mixed Asset VPPs

5.4.1   North America

5.4.2   Europe

5.4.3   Asia Pacific

5.4.4   Latin America

5.4.5   Middle East & Africa

5.5  Conclusions and Recommendations

6. Company Directory
7. Acronym and Abbreviation List
8. Table of Contents
9. Table of Charts and Figures
10. Scope of Study, Sources and Methodology, Notes

List of Charts and Figures

  • VPP Conceptual Diagram
  • Germany’s RCPP
  • Cell Controller Hybrid Microgrid/VPP R&D Project
  • Relationship of Financial and Physical Topology of VPPs
  • Hierarchy of Resource Costs
  • Smart Meter Deployment Penetration Levels, United States: 2012
  • Today’s Bidirectional Prosumer Power System
  • Subsidies for Energy Resources: 2008-2010
  • Denmark’s Market Redesign for VPPs
  • Key Sources of Flexible Consumption Candidates for VPPs, Denmark: 2015-2035
  • Solar PV Cheaper Than Retail Utility Power in Southern Germany
  • Cutting Peak Demand through Wide Deployment of DG
  • Duck Graph of Renewable Energy Integration: 2013-2020
  • Smart Inverter Functionality
  • V2G Linkages to Smart Grid Services
  • McAlpine Microgrid Schematic
  • DER Schedule and Dispatch Evolution for VPPs
  • Schneider Electric’s Analogy between Amazon and VPP
  • DR Reinvented via Two-Way Communication Relationships into VPPs
  • Total Annual VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • ADR Power Capacity by Region, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Smart Meter Unit Shipments by Region, World Markets: 2013-2023
  • Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity and Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2011-2020
  • Installed Energy Storage Power Capacity in Microgrids by Region, World Markets: 2014-2024
  • Total Annual VPP Power Capacity by Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Vendor Revenue by Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual DR VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual DR VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Supply-Side VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Supply-Side VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Mixed Asset VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Mixed Asset VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023

List of Tables

  • DR VPP vs. Central Station Plant Comparison
  • DR VPP SWOT Analysis
  • Supply-Side VPP SWOT Analysis
  • Mixed Asset VPP SWOT Analysis
  • Comparison between VPPs and Microgrids
  • DG for VPPs SWOT Analysis
  • Operating and Cost Characteristics of DG Technologies for VPPs: 2014
  • Smart Meters for VPPs SWOT Analysis
  • DR for VPPs SWOT Analysis
  • Smart Inverters for VPPs SWOT Analysis
  • Energy Storage Ancillary Service Characteristics Relevant to VPPs
  • Advanced Energy Storage for VPPs SWOT Analysis
  • PEVs for VPPs SWOT Analysis
  • DONG Energy SWOT Analysis
  • Siemens SWOT Analysis
  • Ventyx SWOT Analysis
  • EnerNOC SWOT Analysis
  • Total Annual VPP Power Capacity by Region, Conservative Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Power Capacity by Region, Aggressive Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Conservative Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Aggressive Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual DR VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual DR VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Supply-Side VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Supply-Side VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Mixed Asset VPP Power Capacity by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023
  • Total Annual Mixed Asset VPP Vendor Revenue by Region, Base Scenario, World Markets: 2014-2023

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