Co-ordinating virtual power plants

Paul Boughton

The amount of electricity produced by renewable energy sources can sometimes fluctuate significantly, making a network unstable. Support from conventional power plants is required to balance out the situation. To guarantee a stable energy network, the relevant sources need to be combined automatically based on availability. However, insufficient planning certainty can cause problems for the operators of conventional power plants since installations of this type are not necessarily suitable for flexible control. To counter this problem, virtual power plants that combine different sources of renewable energy are a growing trend.

To facilitate the linking of individual energy sources to create virtual power plants, Mitsubishi Electric offers useful products for coordinating different energy sources intelligently, namely the process control system PMSXpro and the life-cycle software tool MAPS (Mitsubishi Adroit Process Suite). These can ensure that the installation responds quickly and flexibly to demands from the grid and control the sources connected to the virtual power plant according to their utilisation and capacities. As a result, this opens up new economic possibilities for the owner to participate in the energy market.

PMSXpro is certified to power plant standards and facilitates the reliable monitoring, operation and control of highly distributed systems in a way that is easy to understand. PMSXpro is a finely tuned process control system based on standardised automation components and characterised by highly uniform hardware and software. It also fulfils all the necessary requirements regarding availability, economic efficiency, expandability and flexibility.

MAPS can ensure an increase in value along the entire value chain. An integrated project assistant can generate PLC and SCADA projects automatically, resulting in significant time savings during the planning and configuration phases. This can also ensure a structured system design, thus significantly facilitating the ongoing maintenance of the installation throughout its whole lifecycle.

Mitsubishi Electric's portfolio also includes a wide range of other automation components for ensuring energy- and cost-efficient, smooth and flexible operation within virtual power plants such as PLCs, inverters, low-voltage switchgear, remote terminal units (RTUs) or HMI from the GOT series. 

Pic: Mitsu.jpg

Caption if needed: Virtual power plants help overcome an intrinsic issue associated with renewables

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