This project developed a virtual powerplant approach to integrate energy resources locally, improve the efficiency of whole local energy systems and encourage more renewables.

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Summary: impacts and findings

The v-powerChain project developed a virtual powerplant (VPP), designed to significantly improve the efficiency of whole local energy systems and so encourage more installation of micro- to medium-scale renewable energy generation.

Project aims and approach

The installation of renewable energy sources has slowed in recent years. As subsidies recede, new solutions are needed to maintain momentum.

Using blockchain technology and artificial intelligence (AI), v-powerChain takes a holistic approach to local energy systems, going beyond single technologies providing or storing power/heat, to focus instead on integrating power sources to provide a reliable power supply from a cluster of different types of energy resources.

These could include hydro power, EV charging stations, solar panels on public buildings, solar farms, battery storage, and combined heat and power systems.

The aim was to enable a decentralised, fair and efficient VPP system that can deliver wide benefits, including supporting peer-to-peer trading, and create more prosperous and resilient communities. It brings the ability to create innovative business and pricing models for distributed renewable energy resources that can maximise their return on investment.

Incorporating some features from UrbanChain’s existing in-house solutions, the project focused on delivering:

  • A fully functional virtual power plant system powered with blockchain and AI technologies
  • Integration of v-PowerChain with peer-to-peer local energy markets, managed by UrbanChain
  • Innovative business models and power purchase agreements with micro- to medium-scale renewable generators
  • Regulatory requirements supporting distributed energy systems.

The project team successfully worked with Oldham Council in Greater Manchester, to trial the approach and create a local peer-to-peer energy market.




April 2020 to March 2022

Achievements and barriers

Since the end of the project, the v-powerChain technology has become part of UrbanChain’s offering. For example, in September 2023 it was part of a project to bring two 4-star hotels into the peer-to-peer energy trading market.


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