Globally, the energy sector is evolving, driven by technological advances and climate change. Distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar and energy storage systems today complement traditional power plants which generate electricity centrally. Electricity produced from these energy resources at end users’ premises can be coordinated intelligently like a “single utility-scale power station”. Such a concept is known as a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) and Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp) have jointly awarded a grant to Nanyang Technological University to develop Singapore’s first Virtual Power Plant. Using real-time information from a variety of DERs, the VPP will optimise the power output of these resources located across the island. Energy fluctuations due to solar intermittency at different locations could be balanced automatically via the VPP. The VPP is also equipped with demand forecasting and optimisation algorithms that take into account Singapore’s power grid and market conditions.

VPPs can bring about many advantages such as flexibility, scalability and improved power grid resilience.  New DERs can be easily connected to the VPP while the distributed architecture of VPP reduces concentrated risks associated with single point of failures. This enables any fault on a distributed generation system to be quickly isolated, limiting loss of power to end users. A VPP operator could monitor and control the various DER locations, while ensuring a balance between supply and demand.

This VPP will contribute towards Singapore’s efforts to meet its climate change commitments. It allows for more clean and distributed energy resources such as solar to be integrated into Singapore’s energy mix while keeping the power system stable.  (Project details are in the Annex A)

EMA’s Chief Executive, Mr Ngiam Shih Chun said: “The energy landscape is changing and we need solutions that support our economic growth while safeguarding our environment at the same time. This is why solutions such as the virtual power plant are important as it helps us integrate cleaner energy sources into our energy system.”

“Sembcorp is excited to couple our expertise in energy with EMA and NTU to create a Virtual Power Plant for Singapore. A VPP will benefit Singapore through aggregation of renewable and energy storage resources to more efficiently meet the energy and sustainability needs of the nation,” said Mr Matthew Friedman, Sembcorp’s Chief Digital Officer.

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