GFO-23-309 – Virtual Power Plant Approaches for Demand Flexibility (VPP-FLEX)

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Opportunity Type:
  • Grant
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This solicitation supports the Electric Program Investment Charge 2021-2025 Investment Plan’s (EPIC 4 Investment Plan) strategic objective to “Increase the Value Proposition of Distributed Energy Resources to Customers and the Grid.”


The purpose of this solicitation is to fund demonstrations of community-based virtual power plant (VPP) approaches and demonstrations of innovative energy management systems (EMS) in commercial buildings with the goal of increasing demand flexibility.

Demand flexibility refers to comprehensive programs and strategies that align electricity consumption with dynamic grid conditions. These can include both event-based demand response (DR) and load shifting strategies. Accelerating demand flexibility is a key strategy for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet the state’s climate and clean energy goals reliably and affordably.   

VPPs are portfolios of distributed energy resources (DERs) such as smart thermostats, rooftop solar photovoltaics, electric vehicles (EVs), batteries, and smart water heaters that are actively controlled by software to benefit the power system, consumers, and the environment. While these resources have the potential to meet grid needs as reliably as conventional alternatives such as gas-fired generators, their advantages extend further, offering greater affordability and substantial decarbonization benefits.[3] However, research and development of both technologies and business models is needed to fully capitalize on and understand VPPs’ potential, especially the systems that feature predictive controls and require minimal consumer engagement. The examples of predictive controls relevant to this research include, but are not limited to, the use of artificial intelligence or model predictive controls for EV load shifting or building pre-cooling applications.  

Projects will be funded in two groups.

Group 1: Virtual Power Plants: Demonstrations that showcase community-based demand flexibility programs as a long-term (10 or more years) grid resource. Project teams must partner with local governments or non-profits to facilitate customer participation and smart device installations. Projects must evaluate the benefits and cost-effectiveness of community-based VPP approaches that use state-of-the-art DER management software (DERMS).  

·       Group 2: Commercial Building Energy Management in Low-Income or Disadvantaged Communities: Demonstrations of innovative EMS in commercial buildings focused on specific characteristics such as interoperability and adherence to open-source standards. Demonstrations require participation in electric investor-owned utility (IOU) or third-party DR programs and partnerships with device and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These projects must showcase the latest advancements in energy management in the commercial sector and ensure technology adaptability, efficiency, and collaboration within the broader energy landscape. 




Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Applicants:

  • Business
  • Individual
  • Nonprofit
  • Other Legal Entity
  • Public Agency
  • Tribal Government

This solicitation is open to all public and private entities with the exception of local publicly owned electric utilities. 

Eligible Geographies:

No local publicly owned electric utilities. 

Matching Funding Requirement:

Match funding is required in the amount of at least 20% of the requested CEC funds.

Important Dates

The date (and time, where applicable) by which all applications must be submitted to the grantmaker. Time listed as “00:00” equates to midnight.
The date on which the grantor expects to announce the recipient(s) of the grant.
Week August 26, 2024
The length of time during which the grant money must be utilized.
Until funds expire

Funding Details

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Grant opportunities representing multiple awards may offer awards in the same amount or in varied amounts. Some may wish to wait until the application period closes before determining per-award amounts; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) provide a letter of intent.
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The funding source allocated to fund the grant. It may be either State or Federal (or a combination of both), and be tied to a specific piece of legislation, a proposition, or a bond number.
  • State

Funding Source Notes:

EPIC Program

The manner in which the grant funding will be delivered to the awardee. Funding methods include reimbursements (where the recipient spends out-of-pocket and is reimbursed by the grantor) and advances (where the recipient spends received grant funds directly).
  • Reimbursement(s)

Funding Method Notes:


How to Apply

State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.


For questions about this grant, contact:
Enrico Palo, 1-916-957-7856,