Now that we’ve developed renewable energy technology that can successfully meet our power needs, the next step in a green energy future is determining how to most effectively and reliably get renewable energy to consumers. Green Mountain Power (GMP) in Vermont believes that distributed energy can be mobilized to meet diverse grid needs, and they’re launching a pilot program to prove it.
The utility company has launched its Frequency Regulation Pilot program, which uses residential batteries, like Tesla Powerwalls, to balance the regional grid. Essentially, GMP uses the network of Powerwalls to respond to shifting energy demands across the entire grid and provide unused Powerwall energy to other households. In turn, Powerwall owners are rewarded with energy subsidies. The initial partnership is with Tesla, but the model can be expanded to function with any home powerwall.
So far, 200 members are enrolled in the power balance program. As many of these powerwalls are charged with solar energy, this is a great solution for expanding the reach of locally-generated renewable energy as well as improving power reliability as the powerwalls store and provide energy in case of blackouts. With enough participating members, GMP will create a distributed microgrid in which excess renewable energy can be stored and shared locally for improved energy resilience.
GMP was the first utility to partner with Tesla when they first launched their Powerwalls, and the company is excited to be expanding the reach of this cooperative relationship. Mari McClure, president and CEO of GMP says, “This pilot is unique and important because it builds off our existing innovation and collaboration to deliver meaningful change to essential grid functions by reducing carbon emissions, increasing performance, and lowering costs.”