Green sources of energy, solar and wind, have a dark side: their intermittency.
To deliver electricity when you need it, unless the sun and wind cooperate, we will need giant batteries. But batteries are expensive.
We are working on an inexpensive alternative to batteries that delivers a battery-like service
by using consumer loads - air conditioners, water heaters, etc. - intelligently.
The trick is in the phrase "deliver electricity when you need it".
All power consuming devices have enormous flexibility in when
they need power to deliver the expected quality of service (QoS) to the consumer.
This flexibility is especially large for thermal "loads" such as air conditioners and water heaters used in our buildings.
Small increase and decrease in air conditioning power over the nominal does not lead to perceptible change in indoor climate.
Yet, when done intentionally, it is equivalent to a small battery charging and discharging. When a large number of such loads
are coordinated through intelligent decision-making software over the Internet, a giant "virtual battery" results. After all,
loads in buildings consume 75% of the electricity in the USA, so even a 10% flexibility is huge.
The VES service is obtained with existing equipment, with only an addition of software and communication.
While demand side management has been with power grid operators for a long time, the innovation in the VES concept lies
in (i) guaranteed bounds on consumers QoS, and (ii) robust and reliable corodination of a large number of loads with minimal communication.