Energy markets are evolving toward a greater reliance on distributed energy resources (DER) that generate, consume, or store electricity creating a two-way power flow dynamic. A platform to manage this increasing two-way complexity is a virtual power plant (VPP) — the concept that intelligent aggregation and optimization of DER can provide the same essential services as a traditional 24/7 centralized power plant.
A host of companies are starting to team up to offer demand response and other grid services, while simultaneously building out networks that resemble VPPs.
“VPPs can transform passive consumers into more active prosumers through the integration of new technologies such as demand response, solar PV systems, energy storage, and EVs,” says Dan Power, research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “Prosumers become active participants in grid operations, delivering the energy services they need but when called on, can also serve the needs of the larger grid.”
According to a Leaderboard report from Guidehouse Insights, Centrica Business Solutions, AutoGrid Systems, and Generac Grid Services are the leading VPP platform vendors right now.
Guidehouse says those companies “have clearly differentiated themselves from the competition through exceptional software platform development, robust portfolios in diverse markets, and a sustainable business model.”
Companies that trail the leaders, while positioned for long-term success, may have not fully executed their product launches, need to differentiate themselves via a unique VPP (or DERMS) offering technology, or demonstrate wider market success in new market segments or geographies, according to the report.
The report, Guidehouse Insights Leaderboard: Virtual Power Plant Platform Vendors, examines the Strategy and Execution of 16 VPP platform vendors whose platforms can create mixed-asset VPPs. These providers are rated on the following criteria: vision; go-to-market strategy; partners/acquisitions/investors; DERMS integration strategy; technology scope; geographic reach; sales, marketing, and distribution; platform performance; value chain capture; project portfolio; business model; and staying power.
Using Guidehouse Insights’ proprietary Leaderboard methodology, vendors are profiled, rated, and ranked with the goal of providing an objective assessment of their relative strengths and weaknesses in the global VPP platform market.
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