Work Package 1 (2019)
The acceleration of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies represents a fundamental threat to established business models, while it also provides opportunities for new business models, such as digital services. A prime example of an emerging business model is running a virtual power plant (VPP): To make the most of the growing number of distributed (renewable) energy sources, these sources and their owners typically need to be complemented by a central firm that orchestrates this decentralized network. Multi-case study research improves our understanding of the business model of VPP orchestrators. Specifically, we find that their business models can differ substantially in the way in which they create and deliver value, i.e., in the way in which the firms link the decentralized assets and interact with their clients. In some cases, the actors integrate the assets into the VPP network in their current form (“as is” form of integration), whereas the assets are modified before being integrated in others (“to be” form of integration). By combining the different forms of asset integration and the different forms of client interaction in an overarching framework, we identify four patterns of the business model “VPP orchestration”. Our findings indicate that firm-level characteristics can favor a certain pattern over another. Moreover, taking the “to be” form of integration into account, uncovers additional opportunities for value creation from distributed assets.
Prof. Dr. Oliver Gassmann, Jonas Böhm