Rapid advancements in modern communication technology make it possible to collect, exchange and store data, thereby accelerating the development of an energy supply based on renewable sources. At the same time, this technology is opening up new business areas, such as the development of intelligent energy management systems or the consolidation of decentralized generation systems into virtual power plants or decentralized single home storage systems into virtual large-scale storage systems.
The transformation to a decentralized, renewable and digital energy industry brings new opportunities to utilities. They are no longer just generating power – they are now organizing and distributing it. Using “energy clouds” they interconnect a large number of small storage devices and centrally manage them so that their combined capacity can be exploited. By connecting local installations with a decentralized district storage system, they can deposit energy they do not need themselves into an account and withdraw it later as needed.
Large-scale storage systems for shared use and better marketing of electricity also provide attractive business models. It takes a large storage system to build a cluster that can provide reliable electricity from the multitude of small photovoltaic installations and wind farms. Known as virtual, combined or swarm power stations, these decentralized, renewable power plants can even provide balancing power to offset fluctuations in the electricity grids.