Swell Energy to manage Sacramento utility SMUD’s virtual power plant


Virtual power plant (VPP) specialist Swell Energy will aggregate home solar and battery systems in a new programme from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

SMUD’s My Energy Optimizer Partner+ programme, a residential customer-driven VPP initiative, will launch enrolments in quarter one this year and start operations in April. The initiative will allow customers to have their systems’ operated in combination with others in return for both upfront and ongoing compensation.

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There are around 600 customer-sited energy storage systems in SMUD’s service area and another 400 in the interconnection process, Swell said. Home battery capacity generally ranges from a few kWh to 10kWh at the higher end.

Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy, said: “Our collaborative virtual power plant will provide real-time energy management and synchronised battery dispatch across SMUD’s customer base, enabling large-scale renewable deployment and minimising the need for conventional power plants in the region. We believe this model is a beacon for how municipal utilities and other publicly owned utilities can achieve scale and value with distributed energy resources.”

SMUD is a community-owned not-for-profit utility serving the city of Sacramento, the capital of California. It was recently in the headlines of the energy storage world after a bold multi-year agreement with iron electrolyte flow battery company ESS Inc for the latter to deploy up to 2,000MWh of its systems in its service area.

Swell’s deal with the utility comes a few months after it secured US$120 million in funding from investors including Softbank Vision Fund 2 towards its VPP programmes across the US, covered by Energy-Storage.news at the time. The company has been developing and productising its VPP solutions offering since 2015.

See CEO Khan’s interview with Energy-Storage.news from April 2021 here and all coverage from across developments in the VPP space here.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 5th Energy Storage Summit USA, 28-29 March 2023 in Austin, Texas. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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