Research project

Community-based Virtual Power Plant

A novel model of radical decarbonisation based on empowerment of low-carbon community driven energy initiatives

September 2017 - June 2023
€ 729.640
Project Manager

A community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP)
Due to growing concerns about CO2 emissions, renewables such as solar and wind energy have increased substantially over the past years. Their growing deployment, intermittent nature and lack of storage facilities are however making it more challenging to balance demand and supply and to stay within the capacity limits of the electricity grid.  A community-based Virtual Power Plant (cVPP) facilitates local community energy initiatives to aggregate distributed generation and flexibility through an Energy Management System (EMS) platform which models price changes, energy flows and weather conditions, and thereby helps to solve the grid problems. Being organized by the community and driven by their needs, a cVPP works for citizens: it enables energy communities to manage energy demand and supply within their community and to trade energy and flexibility on markets, which helps democratise the energy system.  In the current regulatory framework the viability of cVPP business models is limited. Yet, updates of the EU’s energy policy framework (Winter Package) are expected to improve the level-playing-field for cVPPs.

cVPP is a Interreg NWE project
€ 4.26 million
€ 7.1 million

Key Findings

Realization and capitalization

In the first project phase (2017-2020), the cVPP project developed and tested a socio-technical concept of a cVPP in 3 communities in Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium and developed a Mobilisation and Replication (MoRe) model to help 9 other communities developing their own cVPPs. 

The second phase (2020-2022) supports the capitalization where cVPP goes from replication, doing more of the same, towards upscaling, taking cVPP to the next level. Specifically, this phase focuses on: (i) technical upscaling of the EMS by adding assets and experimenting with trade and flexibility and (ii) social upscaling of the business cases through connection of new target groups such as SMEs, industries and rental sector, and territories. The MoRe model is now picked up by Rescoop, a European federation of over 1500 cooperatives, and using insights from cVPP upscaling and the transposition of Winter Package the model is getting upgraded. 

The Interreg cVPP project is a unique project for TU/e. It gives a very rare opportunity to set real innovations in practice and study them. This is very different to our daily routines, when we study innovations that are initiated by others and that happened in the past. Given the current sustainability challenges and the urgency to act, this is the right way to go. Its efforts to empower prosumers and energy communities have been rewarded with winning the EU Sustainable Energy Citizens Award 2020 and the IE&IS Valorization Prize 2020.

Researchers involved in this project

Collaborative Partners

  • Eindhoven University of Technology
  • DuneWorks
  • Tipperary Energy Agency
  • Alliander N.V.
  • USEF
  • EnerGent
  • Gemeente Apeldoorn
  • Autonoom Provinciebedrijf Kamp C
  • Templederry Renewable energy Supply Ltd. (t/a Community Power)
  • Claremorris and western District Energy Cooperative Ltd.
  • Energy Communities Tipperary Cooperative Ltd.
  • Aran Islands Energy Cooperative
  • Smart M Power Ltd.
  • Tipperary County Council
  • Stichting Duurzame Projecten Loenen (DPL)
  • Friends of the Earth Ireland (FOEI)
  • Ecopower
  • Limerick Community Grocery Ltd (The Urban Co-Op)

Subsidy Provider

  • European Commission