The control and communication center is where all the information from the Virtual Power Plant comes together. Diagrams are displayed on screens which users can individually configure. This creates a summary of all relevant planning and market activities as well as of current generation and consumption. Boundary conditions such as maintenance intervals for turbines, futures contracts or price forecasts are imported via an interface or entered by hand, including prices for balancing power. Additionally, monitoring of loads and consumption is possible.
Operational planning integrates all turbine-specific conditions and prepares an optimized aggregated schedule for multiple trading platforms. This includes the spot, intraday or balancing energy market. Moreover, existing futures contracts can be taken into account. Even the energy consumption is factored in to the continuous online optimization. The scheduling process can take place automatically or be manually activated. Operational planning avoids unnecessary shut-off (or switch on) events and saves operational resources. For the scheduling of ancillary services a safety reserve can also be configured.
The central control provides the plants with individual schedules and guarantees the adherence to those schedules passed on to the markets. Based on trend calculations a continuous monitoring and rescheduling is possible. If balancing power is called for, it is provided by a pool of pre-qualified power stations. In so doing, signals by the transmission grid operator can be directly processed. If no balancing power is necessary, then the entire portfolio can be used to even out the balancing group.
Multiple trading platforms can be simultaneously operated by the Virtual Power Plant via trading connections. This includes OTC, spot, intraday and balancing energy markets. Market-bids can be directly configured. Short reaction times are given through the real-time availability of data. Schedules can also be passed on to a control system or exported to a file via this interface. If the portfolio has pre-qualified power generating facilities available to it, then the software can also be used in the balancing power market. Participating in the primary and secondary reserve market is then just as possible as the deployment of minute reserves.
Information crucial to operational planning is made available via power and load predictions. In addition to data on the controllable power station, accurate forecasts of wind and solar power are important for power predictions. Therefore, our systems Previento and Suncast use forecasts by the most important weather providers. They utilize reference facilities and combine this information with specific data from the individual power generators, e.g. wind turbines. Previento and Suncast are important building blocks for reliable power predictions and turn wind and sun into reliable energy sources. The current energy consumption of the controllable consumer flows into the load prediction in the Virtual Power Plant, the latter being continuously adjusted via the always optimized load management.
The current day-ahead and intraday prices as well as the trading results gained on the different markets can be continuously and immediately transferred to the Virtual Power Plant. Moreover, futures contracts can be taken into account.
Information on planned non-availability, e.g. turbine maintenance, can be passed on to the Virtual Power Plant both from the operator portal as well as, in some cases, directly from the turbine itself.
The intelligent networking of controllable consumers and loads, such as cooling or heat production facilities as well as storages with decentralized power generators is one of the core functions of the Virtual Power Plant. Schedule deviations, power plant failures or unforeseen overproduction can thus be mostly counteracted.
One central function of the Virtual Power Plant is the remote control and the intelligent coupling of energy plants, consumers and storages. Decentralized power generators include, for example, wind energy, photovoltaic systems, hydropower, biofuel facilities or heat controlled thermal power stations.
Every power generating facility can be controlled by its own unit – the steering box. This turns the individual schedules set by the central control into control commands. The Virtual Power Plant can operate all standard interfaces.