Highlights of #UTEnergyTalks: Enabling virtual power plants at scale

Author : 
August 22, 2023

CEO Scott Nguyen organized and moderated the 1st event of the new series #UTEnergyTalks hosted by the University of Texas Energy Institute.  The goal of the series is to explore the latest and biggest trends as we transition from our old energy infrastructure to a new energy economy.

This panel focused on Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), exploring what we have learned from past & current deployments and the next big opportunities on the horizon.  

And the panelists were:

Tad Glauthier - VP Market Development @ Stem

Amit Narayan - CEO @AutoGrid

Ross Baldick - Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering @UT-Austin

Vijay Betanabhatla - Associate Director @Guidehouse

There were tons of insights throughout the discussion, but one stood out.  Scott asked the question, "VPPs require a strong partnership between VPP providers, utilities, solar installers, energy efficiency.  

How do solar installers or energy consultants get in the game?"

Amit's response:

"What you're asking is actually a gap in the market. When say we have a platform, a lot of our customers say, 'Ok. How do I get a contract? How do I become an aggregator.' If you look at the long tail of installers, they don't have the...financial capabilities to become an aggregator... What we're doing our side is taking that next step.  We'e telling installers just come to us. We will deal with all the market complexities, and we will just hand you a check for the capacity you can provide."

Tad's response:

"I don't think there's an easy avenue to get in the game right now.  Tariffs are an area where we'll see continued evolution.  As soon as you open up a time of use spread that's wide enough, then it becomes easy for the installers and energy consultants to make their next sale because they can run the math really easily.  You can sit there at the kitchen table and show somebody, 'Hey look how much you're going to save.'"  

To learn more, watch the recording of the panel below:

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