Social virtual energy networks: Exploring innovative business models of prosumer aggregation with virtual power plants

Martin E. Wainstein, Roger Dargaville, Adam Bumpus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Virtual Power Plant (VPP) have been proposed as an effective way to aggregate large portfolios of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and coordinate them to behave as a single functional unit in both the network and the market. This research narrative proposes that business models that can combine Internet platforms such as Peer-to-peer networks, with VPP to collectively manage DERs, are ideal systems for socially innovative business models to accomplish scale and replication and drive systemic change in the power system. This project lays conceptual foundations to design and simulate such a system. An urban social electricity-trading network is presented using the City of Melbourne as case study. Modelling is performed by applying an optimisation framework to a portfolio of household datasets with solar, simulated storage and flexible demand capabilities; a local community windfarm and large business buildings. Initial simulations show that internal energy trading between members of such a social energy network is highly dependent on local market conditions. However, having the ability to simultaneously operate as a small-scale generator, retailer and demand response coordinator might be the factors allowing these alternative business models to be feasible under various conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Power and Energy Society Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference (ISGT 2017)
EditorsFarrokh Rahimi
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781538628904
ISBN (Print)9781538628911
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference 2017 - Washington, United States of America
Duration: 23 Apr 201726 Apr 2017


ConferenceIEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleISGT 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Business model innovation
  • DER integration
  • Social innovation
  • Virtual power plants

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