Virtual power plants

Aggregation of distributed renewable energy generation and batteries enables their participation in balancing, wholesale or flexibility markets. Further, aggregation services provide prosumers and small generators with the necessary technology and control and the aggregator acts as a responsible party in the power and flexibility markets. This means that small- scale flexibility resources which could otherwise not have participated, can offer their flexibility to TSOs and DSOs. Projects cover ICT tools, definition of productsto be offered and business models for aggregation of small-scale renewables.

Components & enablers

  • Controllability and observability of the technical devices
  • Regulatory: Clearly defined role for virtual power plants
  • ICT platforms

State of the art in application and research

Large-scale generation and storage units are currently able to participate in balancing and wholesale markets on their own, or through their BRP (balancing responsible party). Smaller generators or storage units, however, need aggregation services to reach the required scale for participation in these markets.

Aggregation through virtual power plants (VPPs) also reduce the risk to each generator or smaller storage unit of providing flexibility, as the risk is taken by the aggregator and diversified through there being several flexibility providers. Current markets are not.

EU-SysFlex (WP7, Portugal) tests aggregation of generation and storage in a concept grid. Includes FFR, FCR, FRR, congestion management, adequacy, and voltage support. One of the demonstrations include a pumped hydro storage plant and wind power plants connected at TSO level, providing aFRR (secondary reserve) in a capacity market, as well as participation in day-ahead and intraday markets.

SmarterEMC2 tests mechanisms for voltage control in a lab/simulation setting.

Technology Readiness Level

TRL 7 – demonstration:

EU-SysFlex tests aggregation of generation and pumped hydro storage in a concept transmission grid. Includes FFR, FCR, FRR, congestion management, adequacy, and voltage support.

Current focus of R&D and research gaps

See state of the art.


[1] EU-SysFlex:

  • WP7 (p. 15, 342-343). [Link]
  • WP8. [Link]
  • Work packages. [Link]

[2] SmarterEMC2. [Link]