The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) announced on April 21 that the company signed an MOU on cooperating on the joint development of a virtual power plant (VPP) project based on solar power generation and energy storage systems (ESSs) with KOKAM, a Korean battery maker and Sunverge Energy, a world-class VPP platform business operator in the US on April 22 (local time).
A VPP is a system that operates and controls the distributed power of a 5kW to 6 kW solar power ESS installed in a home by using cloud-based software as if it was a single power plant. The system has an advantage to save consumers electric bills and allow electric power suppliers to save the money for buying wholesale electricity at peak hours and for investment in electric power distribution networks. Through a cloud system, individual homes are power consumers but each of them functions as a single power plant.
"The ESS market in the US nearly doubled from US$ 280 million in 2015 to US$ 430 million in 2016," said Kenneth Monson, chief executive officer of Sunverge Energy. “By growing 37 percent a year on average, the market will reach US$2.8 billion by 2021."
"This MOU will be a stepping stone for KEPCO to enter the US “behind the market” market using ESSs for the first time," said Cho Hwan-ik, president of KEPCO. "We will expand our business area by developing diverse business models. The “behind the market” refers to a new market created via new technologies such as distributed power ESSs and the internet of things (IoT) which is created at the sub-distribution level.