Tesla Powerpacks Balance the European Grid in New Virtual Power Plant


On the site of an old coal mine in Belgium, flexibility provider REstore has launched a 32-megawatt virtual power plant (VPP), with a distribution-grid-connected 18.2-megawatt Tesla Powerpack storage system. The virtual power plant (VPP) has been providing primary frequency regulation to the Belgian transmission system operator since April 2018 and stacking value with additional participation in the real-time balancing market.

The 32-megawatt VPP is managed and bid into the market by ensuring the provision of bidirectional flexibility. These megawatts are symmetric and can go up and down depending on the system needs. The VPP portfolio is dominated by Tesla’s 18.2-megawatt, 22-megawatt-hour battery system.

The system currently provides rapid power in response to system frequency. It can also offer longer-duration, more energy-intensive service for longer deviations in system frequency through coordinated control of a pool of commercial and industrial customer assets. Although the VPP stands at 32 megawatts,

The technology automatically trades energy on the wholesale market, without any negative impact on its performance and revenues for the provision of the frequency regulation service to maximize investor returns. What makes this battery project unique is its inclusion in a larger flexibility portfolio, which results into a 1.5 times higher revenue stream for the battery, compared to the base case where the battery is monetized on a standalone basis. The scalable VPP has the Tesla battery as the backbone and the secret sauce of REstore’s software to provide viable frequency services to the transmission system operator, and it maximizes returns from market participation for all parties seeking revenues as part of the portfolio.
In the world of grid edge technologies, this project is a big deal since it is 100 times faster than fossil fuel plants.