You may already be familiar with Gogoro’s battery swapping stations, known as GoStations, which have famously created the de facto standard in swappable light electric vehicle batteries. But now the company is expanding beyond just EV battery swapping by teaming up with Enel X to create virtual power plants (VPPs) from its GoStations.
The Taiwanese battery swapping company Gogoro is active across a half dozen countries, but its domestic market is by far its largest with thousands of local battery swapping stations installed around the island country.
As part of a new partnership with Enel X that saw a successful pilot to test GoStations as virtual power plants (VPPs) in 2022, the pair has just announced the rollout of nearly 1,300 VPPs.
Another 1,200 stations should be up and running as VPPs by this summer, bringing the total number to 2,500.
The stations are designed to interact with Taiwan’s power grid, pausing their own charging to resupply energy back into the overtaxed grid when local demand maxes out the existing supply.
As Gogoro’s founder and CEO Horace Luke explained:
We are entering a new era of smart energy infrastructure, and by integrating the Gogoro Network with the Enel X Virtual Power Plant (VPP) in Taiwan we are providing a new energy resource. It is the first time this technology has been deployed this way in the world, and it creates a new Gogoro revenue stream beyond mobility.
We have always believed that time-shifting energy was key to enabling the sustainable transformation of energy and transportation, and Gogoro continues to be a key part of these advancements. Together, the Gogoro community is contributing to Taiwan’s net-zero targets by helping to integrate more variable power generation resources onto the grid. Today, when the energy grid begins to max out, we can dynamically pause our energy usage or provide energy back to the grid while continuing to operate our battery swapping service independently as needed.
Gogoro’s battery swap stations are highly sophisticated, allowing the company to remotely control the massive operations involved in hundreds of thousands of battery swaps every day, including from locations around the world.
In the past, we’ve seen instances of the stations “islanding” themselves during emergencies and power outages, allowing them to continue to operate without local power.
There was a case last year when a national-level power outage prevented gas stations from pumping fuel, but Gogoro-powered scooters could still operate and swap batteries to remain on the road because the stations remained functional thanks to the energy stored in their own battery packs.
Now functioning as VPPs, Gogoro’s battery swap stations can provide the same kind of energy independence for the national power grid as they have over years for their own operations.
The ability for VPPs to play an active role in stabilizing local and nationwide power grids is likely to become even more important as peak energy demand continues to rise.
Partnerships like these allow the use of innovative technology to help solve that problem, explained the head of Enel X Asia and Oceania Jeff Renaud:
Our work with Gogoro showcases the vital role that VPPs will play in the transition to renewable energy. As new distributed resources are built to electrify and decarbonize our energy use, VPPs will unlock greater sustainability impacts and improved financial returns by connecting these assets to the broader energy system. Our platform does this by aggregating thousands of these ‘new energy’ assets into a resource that can help balance the intermittency of large-scale renewable power stations. We believe our work with Gogoro is a world-leading demonstration of what VPPs can do, and we are honored and excited to continue growing our collaboration with them.