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From consumer to prosumer, how the general public can aid the transition to virtual power plants

Mundy, Paul; Levinson, Guy


Paul Mundy
Senior Lecturer in Building Surveying

Guy Levinson


There is currently a shift in the power generation and distribution models from a top down
centralised system to a network of decentralised grids making Virtual Power Plant (VPP)
technology an opportunity for a different model of power supply. In this context, a VPP is a
cloud-based power plant which connects multiple Distributed Energy Resource units such as
renewable energy resources and energy storage systems and allows energy producers to buy and sell energy on the market. These distributed energy resources can be small scale residential sources such as solar panels, micro wind generation or combined heat and power units within the home with support of battery storage technology. Therefore, domestic consumers have the potential to be a major barrier in implementing VPP Technology throughout the UK, restricting the UK’s progress towards sustainability targets to combat climate change.
Based on a review of literature on barriers to implementing VPP’s, it was evident that domestic consumers can cause technical, social, political and financial barriers to implementing new
technologies. The study surveyed 64 domestic consumers across the UK about adopting the
technology. Based on the survey results, a further 6 respondents voluntarily undertook semistructured interviews to provide more detailed understanding of their motivations. Analysis of the results showed that along with the barriers discovered in the literature review, two more themes including property barriers and a desire for flexible options were identified. The results indicate that domestic consumers can be a barrier to VPP implementation. Yet with funding via governments or VPP providers to support the upfront capital cost of the technologies and offering flexibility of involvement packages these barriers can be overcome. Allowing many who may not have been able to financially, to become prosumers, supplying the VPP with distributed energy resources to provide greater capacity and resilience to the network.


Mundy, P., & Levinson, G. (2022, August). From consumer to prosumer, how the general public can aid the transition to virtual power plants. Paper presented at SEEDS (Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design) 2022, University of the West of England, Bristol

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name SEEDS (Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design) 2022
Conference Location University of the West of England, Bristol
Start Date Aug 31, 2022
End Date Sep 2, 2022
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2023
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