A virtual power plant developed by Studer-Innotec and OIKEN in the canton of Valais

A virtual power plant developed by Studer-Innotec and OIKEN in the canton of Valais

OIKEN and Studer Innotec have joined forces to spearhead the development of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP), underscoring the Valais region’s commitment to innovative energy solutions. The VPP project aims to aggregate small energy producers to collectively match the impact of a larger power plant, addressing the challenges posed by the rapid expansion of decentralized and unpredictable energy sources, primarily solar power.

Switzerland’s solar energy statistics for 2022 reveal a significant leap in photovoltaic installations, with over 1 GW installed, contributing to a total capacity of 4.7 GW. This capacity produced 3.8 TWh, accounting for 6.7% of the Swiss electricity consumption, highlighting the growing importance of solar energy in the country’s energy mix. However, the inflexible nature of solar production necessitates the development of intelligent systems to optimize the use of these installations.

The introduction of smart meters and legislative changes in Switzerland are expected to pave the way for new dynamic pricing models, aligning with developments in other European countries. OIKEN and Studer Innotec are at the forefront of this transition, aiming to evolve technology and services while safeguarding consumer interests.

OIKEN and Studer Innotec’s collaborative venture aims to harness and optimize the flexibility derived from photovoltaic installations and storage batteries, marking a significant step towards managing intermittent and unpredictable energy resources more effectively. The project, which enjoys financial backing from The Ark Foundation, is being developed in collaboration with the Icare Research Institute in Sierre, with testing phases set to commence in 2024.

Advancing the energy transition in Valais

The project will explore the technical and economic potential across three usage levels: individual homes, neighborhoods, and regional or Distribution System Operator (DSO) levels. It seeks to improve self-consumption, optimize electricity reinjection into the grid, and enhance local flexibility aggregation through a VPP solution. This multifaceted approach promises to usher in dynamic pricing, consumption optimization, and balance group management, with the potential for further value-adding options in the future.

With the technical expertise of the Icare Research Institute, the project is currently in development, aiming to kickstart the testing phase with select clients to assess viability. The first outcomes are anticipated between late 2024 and early 2025, with The Ark Foundation supporting the feasibility study.

Source: GGBa

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