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September 01, 2020 1:28pm
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SMUD teams with Swell Energy to offer virtual power plant option

The virtual power plant will provide real-time energy management and synchronized battery dispatch across SMUD’s customer base.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and Swell Energy announced an agreement for Swell to act as the aggregator for a virtual power plant initiative called My Energy Optimizer Partner+.

The initial effort is intended to bring 20 MWh and 10 MW of renewable capacity to SMUD by recruiting, installing and aggregating capacity from customers’ battery storage systems located in the utility’s service area in California’s capital city. 

The program could scale to 54 MWh and 27 MW over the term of the partnership. Contract capability is based on a two-hour deliverable capacity, inclusive of exports with day-ahead notification for up to 240 events per year.

The program is intended to enable customers to operate their individual systems alongside many others to aggregate and dispatch renewable energy sources. Participating customers are expected to receive both upfront and ongoing compensation, called GridRevenue, based on the capacity of their solar and energy storage systems. 

Currently, some 600 customer-sited energy storage systems are in SMUD’s service area, with an additional 400 in the interconnection process. SMUD has committed to fund batteries for low-income customers through local non-profits such as Grid Alternatives.

Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy, said the virtual power plant will provide real-time energy management and synchronized battery dispatch across SMUD’s customer base, enabling “large-scale renewable deployment and minimizing the need for conventional power plants in the region.”

Plans calls for My Energy Optimizer Partner+ to begin enrollments during the first quarter of 2023, with operations planned to start in April. Enrollment will be open to both new and existing solar and storage customers. Customers on SMUD’s Solar and Storage Rate can optimize onsite energy usage by pairing solar with energy storage. 

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