Plants that provide power for industrial, commercial, residential and other purposes typically have been large facilities that service wide geographical and population areas. A major challenge is locating the power plant as close as possible to those who need the power, and at the same time placing the plant close to the source of the energy, e.g., water, solar, wind, thereby reducing the costs of delivering the power.
Connecting people and resources increasingly is virtual, as in zoom meetings. Now there are virtual power plants (VPPs). They can be quite complicated , but generally they involve aggregating or pooling smaller distributed energy resources. For example, a solar panel is in effect a miniature power plant. Add a solar battery and the VPP becomes a bit more sophisticated, allowing distribution at times of most need. Installing the solar system provides carbon-free power and potential savings in energy costs.
If you connected all the individual miniature solar power plants, you could create a large VPP which does not require major infrastructure projects and cost, including for new central power plants, expensive transmission lines, and substations. Instead, software would be used to deliver the power.
Some further ideas to explore on Virtual Power Plants:
How many individual solar installations, with batteries, are necessary to aggregate to serve as a VPP?
How do owners of individual solar installations, with batteries, earn money from participating in a VPP?
Besides solar panels, with batteries, what other sources of power can be used to form a VPP?
Spencer Fields, “What is a virtual power plant?” Energy Sage bit.ly/3L20fbe
Nichola Groom, “Explainer: What is a virtual power plant?” Reuters (31 Jan 2023). reut.rs/3qPou5F
Llewellyn King, “The Next Big Thing In Electric Utilities: Virtual Power Plants,” Forbes (14 May 2023). bit.ly/45vqe30
Jason Deign, “So, What Exactly Are Virtual Power Plants? GTM helps explain a growing grid resource that can mimic power plants without dominating the landscape,” greentechmedia.com (22 Oct 2020). bit.ly/45HszaY