Potential Software and Hardware Technologies for Virtual Power Plants

The COPOWER partnership assesses technology, tools, data and security resources in the participating partner regions.


COPOWER project partners have recently completed a report to better understand the software and hardware needs as well as IT infrastructure that virtual power plants require. According to the conclusions extracted by the partnership, these are the key factors to take into consideration, including technology tools, data and security.
Hardware Technology
A virtual power plant (VPP) requires various hardware components installed locally at energy-producing assets and centralised IT infrastructure. Locally installed hardware includes automation hardware, such as Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) like Siemens Simatic S7 series or DIY platforms like Raspberry Pi. Monitoring hardware, including sensors or Internet of Things (IoT) devices, collects data for transmission to the central VPP software system. Data transmission hardware facilitates this transfer.
Centrally located hardware consists of IT infrastructure, typically a central server hosting the VPP software. Additionally, hardware and software for controlling and monitoring batteries, such as hybrid inverters / charge controllers, safety switches, transfer switches, and battery monitors, are essential.

Software Technology
VPP software platforms play a crucial role in data collection, analysis, decision-making, and implementation of energy flow control. They collect and analyse data from various sources like battery charge levels, power production, and consumption, enabling decision-making regarding energy usage, pricing, and more.

IoT Solutions and Tools
IoT technology is integral for monitoring and controlling various parameters in VPPs. IoT sensors monitor factors like temperature, gas composition, and flow rates, enabling predictive maintenance, energy management, data analytics, and regulatory compliance. Solutions from companies like Siemens, Gasmet, and IBM offer IoT platforms tailored for energy production applications.

Security Considerations
Implementing IoT in VPPs raises security concerns such as unauthorized access, data privacy, physical device protection, firmware updates, and supply chain integrity. Adhering to security standards like ISO 27001, employing secure coding practices, ensuring secure data storage, and selecting reputable suppliers can mitigate these risks.

Mobile and Internet Coverage
Mobile and internet connectivity are vital for VPPs, especially in remote locations. Providers like DNA, Elisa, and Telia offer 4G, LTE-M, and NB-IoT connectivity, with varying coverage and speed capabilities. Selection should consider factors like network availability, reliability, and suitability for IoT devices.

Learning from Other Projects
Projects like SMARCTIC demonstrate the successful implementation of community energy initiatives utilizing IoT sensors, cloud-based platforms, and network connectivity to monitor and manage energy consumption effectively. Security measures, including data privacy agreements, authentication protocols, and physical device protection, ensure safe and efficient operations.


In conclusion, leveraging a combination of hardware and software technologies, along with robust security measures and reliable network connectivity, is essential for the successful deployment and operation of virtual power plants, contributing to sustainable energy management.



What is a Virtual Power Plant?

COPOWER project Icelandic partner Rúnar Unnþórsson explains the structure of a VPP and the role of the community to empower local energy management.