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Articles by Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Dan Gearino covers the midwestern United States for Inside Climate News, part of ICN’s National Environment Reporting Network. His coverage deals with the business side of the clean-energy transition and he writes ICN’s Inside Clean Energy newsletter.

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Fully assembled and packaged electricity storage systems are prepared for delivery in the production hall of sonnen GmbH.

This story was originally published by Inside Climate News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

After years of pilot projects, utilities and battery companies now have networks with thousands of participants in California, Utah, and Vermont, among others.

The batteries in virtual power plants add megawatts of capacity to the grid when electricity demand is at its highest. And most of the electricity from the batteries is generated by rooftop solar.

This combination of renewable energy and groups of batteries is “a recipe for the grid of the future,” said Blake Richetta, CEO of U.S. operations for the battery maker sonnen.

Yes, sonnen has a lowercase “s,” the kind of frustrating—at least for copy editors—branding that seems appropriate for virtual power plants, a concept whose name does little to explain what it is.

So what is it? A virtual power plant is like a swarm of bees or the Power Rangers’ Megazord&n... Read more

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