On Monday Australian blockchain firm Power Ledger launched a trial of its blockchain-based power management technology in rural areas of Western Australia (WA). The project will allow commercial buildings to trade excess solar power between each other.
Power Ledger will run this project in collaboration with Innovations Central Midlands WA, BSC Solar, Sonnen and CleanTech Energy. Starting with a trial at commercial sites in the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu and Moora, the company plans to expand its reach to other regional shires in WA.
“The current energy system relies on large-scale power stations pushing energy to some consumers located hundreds of kilometers away. This requires an even further energy push when trying to reach regional areas such as Wongan Hills or Moora,” said David Martin, managing director and co-founder of Power Ledger.
In the small administrative system of these Shires, which are generally close-knit communities, Power Ledger’s platform can facilitate peer-to-peer power trading. There are a variety of participants, including offices, a swimming pool, and local farmers.
“Sustainability and energy efficiency is vitally important in rural areas where communities truly understand the need to be self-sufficient. This allows us to use the grid more efficiently and reduce the cost of energy for everyone — this is a major upside to our residents,” said Stuart Taylor, Shire of Wongan-Ballidu CEO.
“Given the vast number of businesses that support the agricultural industry and the houses, sheds and equipment used by farmers in their day to day operations (with all requiring significant amounts of power), this platform has the potential to save us thousands of dollars in electricity costs,” said Innovation Central Midlands CEO Steve Mason.
Power Ledger is running a similar project in the Austrian city of Graz along with E-NEXT for household solar energy trading. Two months ago it announced a partnership with California-based Clearway Energy Group to build Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) trading software. The platform also has a presence in Thailand, Japan and India.
Electrify and others have already deployed decentralized power trading in Japan as has IKEA partner SPACE10. The Korean government is working on a blockchain-based virtual power plant, though it remains to be seen whether peer to peer selling will be part of it. Meanwhile, many of the globe’s biggest energy producers including Total, Shell, and GE are affiliates of the blockchain consortium Energy Web Foundation.