NCAC-USAEE – The Costs of Peaker Plants and How Virtual Power Plants Can Replace Them
Peaker power plants, generally powered by natural gas, have long been a central fixture of the electric power grid, augmenting base load resources to match spikes in power demand. In many cases these plants are expected and designed to operate for a small number of hours per year, only when electricity demand is highest. As a result of this low utilization, these plants tend to have very low efficiency and high costs. Further many peaker plants, particularly older ones, are highly polluting. Recent research has shown that peaker plants tend to be located near low-income or disadvantaged areas, resulting in disproportionate health and economic impacts on these communities. As the grid shifts to increased renewable energy and more distributed generation, there is an opportunity to replace peaker plants with cleaner, cheaper, and more resilient alternatives.
Grid edge solutions such as Virtual Power Plants are being deployed around the world as an attractive alternative to peaker plants. They offer decentralized resiliency, respond to growing decarbonization goals, are less expensive than conventional power plants, and capitalize on the exponential growth in Distributed Energy Resource assets. This webinar will examine the operational, demographic, emission, and economic considerations of peaker plants in select states to estimate the potential health and economic benefits of VPPs as an alternative.
Alex Pratt leads Strategic Business Development for AutoGrid, including the recently launched turnkey Virtual Power Plant business unit. During his time at AutoGrid he has led several commercial and operational functions including building the professional services and customer success practice. Mr. Pratt has a background in leading high-performance teams as well as bringing a broad spectrum of resources to bear to solve complex problems in dynamic environments. Before joining AutoGrid, he served as an officer in the US Navy SEAL teams and subsequently earned an MBA and MS from Stanford University. He also holds a BSE in Civil Engineering from Duke University.