The penetration of a large amount of distributed generation (DG) technologies with intermittent output, such as photovoltaic installations and wind turbines, yields an important challenge to the electric grid. It is believed that aggregating them with controllable technologies such as cogeneration devices (CHP) can help to balance fluctuations of renewable energy.
This work evaluates the ability of a virtual power plant (VPP) to reduce the imbalance error of renewable generators. The study is undertaken in a VPP that consists of several cogeneration devices and photovoltaic (PV) installations. The virtual power plant operator bids electricity into the day-ahead market using the forecast for solar irradiation and for the thermal demand. During the actual day, the imbalance due to deviations between the forecasted electricity delivered and the real output has to be settled in the balancing market. Thus, in order to compensate these errors and possible economic drawbacks, the operation of the CHP is adjusted periodically in a so called reschedule.
Two different rescheduling strategies are compared against a ‘reference scenario’ in which the imbalance error is settled in the market. The first one (‘forced strategy’) aims at reducing the imbalance error every time step regardless of the imbalance prices. The second (‘economic strategy’) considers the imbalance prices and takes only action if it is economically appropriate and thus intends to reduce the total operational cost.
The results show that the rescheduling technique is able to reduce the imbalance error (up to 90% depending on the season and the strategy). Additionally, the total operational cost is estimated. However, the nowadays imbalance prices only lead to a minor financial advantage that is unlikely to motivate real life operators to perform a rescheduling strategy.