Virtual power plants

Energy from many sources

The transition to renewable sources of energy not only means new sources of power. New ways of generating power are also emerging, with a move away from large power plants and toward many different small ones. Wind and solar parks, cogeneration units, heat pumps, and biogas plants are now also feeding power into public grids. Homeowners with photovoltaic arrays can thus become “prosumers”: they consume and generate power at the same time.

One of the biggest challenges of this development is controlling the large number of small power stations in a manner that ensures the constant flow of power. This is a basic prerequisite for a stable, reliable power supply. In contrast to conventional power generation methods such as coal-fired power plants, a wind park's capacity depends entirely on the weather. When winds are strong, it generates more power than the distribution network can absorb. And when the wind stops blowing, power generation grinds to a halt. Energy needs also fluctuate: depending on the weather, the natural light, and the time of day, energy consumption needs rise and fall.

To balance these fluctuations out, Bosch has developed software solutions that make it possible to draw power from different, decentralized, and primarily renewable sources of energy and manage them centrally. This creates a virtual power plant that makes energy available whenever it is needed.