Long-time Slashdot reader 140Mandak262Jamuna brings news of a triumph for a Tesla power project in South Australia: about 900 residential rooftop solar panels, coupled with storage batteries, “all linked up to central control, to form what they are calling a ‘Virtual Power Plant.'”
Nothing virtual about it, distributed power plant would have been a better name. That project, designed to link 50,000 homes and their solar panels, is just 2% complete. About 1000 homes. That 2% complete project had enough juice and control to step in, detect the frequency drop, increase power from the batteries and save the day.
But does this have implications for the future? “The opportunity for Virtual Power Plants to reach a large scale will benefit all energy users through added competition to deliver services at reducing prices,” says the executive general manager of emerging markets and services for the Australian Energy Market Operator (in the linked-to article above from Teslarati).
This is unprecedented. The electric utilities have been government-sanctioned monopolies for over a century, protected from competition… The battery bank will stabilize the grid so well, there will be no surge pricing for peaker power plants…
At present the Return-on-Investment comparison between solar/wind storage versus gas turbine power plants include the surge pricing benefit in favor of the gas power plants. It will be gone.