Here’s a clever idea… Siemens has introduced a virtual power plant (VPP). 
 
It’s a software solution that balances electrical loads from buildings connected in a ‘microgrid’ that has both renewable energy and energy storage. 
 
The new VPP service allows electrical loads of commercial buildings or industrial sites to be combined, helping to reduce the need for reserve power by balancing consumption. Building operators can then sell surplus energy back to the electricity market. Siemens believes this approach will increase the flexibility of the whole market. 
Siemens are testing the benefits of their model in Finland with the help of a €8.4million grant from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The Finnish national grid operator pays property owners when their VPP feeds energy back to the public grid. 
 
There are two pilot projects; Finnish Railways will be connecting the Helsinki Central Station and two train depots. In Lappeenranta, a city with 75,000 residents close to the Russian border, nine public buildings will be connected in a city microgrid, with plans to add 50 more. 
 
Siemens also has an energy optimisation project at Sello shopping mall, a 100,000 m2 space on the edge of Helsinki. This microgrid combines energy efficiency, storage, optimisation of peak loads, and its own electricity production. It not only supplies extra energy to the reserve market, it has also generated around €650,000 of income. 
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