GM, Ford, Google partner to promote ‘virtual’ power plants

Washington — Firms Including general motors, ford motor company, Google and solar energy producers said on Tuesday they will work together to establish standards for expanding the use of virtual power plants (VPPs).

The energy transition nonprofit RMI will host the Virtual Power Plant Partnership (VP3), an initiative that also aims to shape policies to encourage the use of the system, the companies said.

Virtual power plants pool thousands of distributed energy resources, such as electric cars and electric heaters controlled by smart thermostats.

With customer permission, advanced software is used to switch thousands of home batteries, such as EVs, from charge mode to discharge mode, or to turn off electricity-using devices such as water heaters. We are responding to power shortages by means such as encouraging their consumption.

VPPs are positioned for explosive growth in the United States, where the Inflation Reduction Act of 2021 created or expanded tax incentives for VPPs. Electric carelectric water heaters, solar panels, etc. can adjust their output and consumption to smooth the grid load.

RMI estimates that VPP could reduce U.S. peak demand by 60 gigawatts (the average consumption of 50 million households) by 2030, and more than 200 GW by 2050.

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