Today Australian blockchain firm Power Ledger announced that it will be extending a test run of its decentralized energy trading platform. The government-backed project will now enter a second trial phase to discover more insights following its initial success. The extension is slated to last until the end of this year.
Originally part of Australia’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, specifically the RENeW Nexus initiative, Power Ledger’s blockchain platform allows ordinary households to trade energy they generate. The trial ran from November of last year, focusing on 18 residences in Fremantle, Australia which have solar panels.
“Power Ledger’s platform has created a renewable energy marketplace, enabling Fremantle residents to set their own prices and trade solar energy generated from their rooftops with neighbours that don’t have solar,” said Power Ledger executive chairman Dr Jemma Green.
The trial was only meant to run until June, but after seeing over 50,000 monthly transactions and 4-megawatt hours traded, the firm intends to expand the number of households and look deeper into its potential. The project is a collaboration between Curtin University, Power Ledger, energyOS, grid operator Western Power, and energy retailer Synergy.
“The first phase gave us insights into the profile of customers that could benefit from peer-to-peer trading, along with highlighting some challenges for developing the right pricing model. The second phase will incorporate changes based on these insights to determine product potential,” explained Synergy’s manager of new energy, Krystal Skinner.
Western Power uses its smart meter data to track energy usage on the blockchain platform, which is then billed through Synergy. This process enables customers to trade renewable energy in real-time with a secure, distributed system.
Dr. Green continued: “Peer-to-peer trading unlocks the potential for customers connected to the electricity grid to have more choice on how they manage their power use, by providing residents with the choice to access renewable energy that’s locally generated at the right time of day.”
Earlier this month the company also announced the results of another trial with Japanese electricity utility KEPCO. This involved trading excess solar power sold in autonomous trading transactions and automated settlements using cryptocurrencies.
“Although there are still many challenges like amendments of relevant laws for commercialization, Power Ledger’s product presents significant opportunities for prosumers to sell their excessive energy at more advantageous prices and for consumers to buy it at more affordable prices,” said KEPCO representative general manager Fumiaki Ishida.
Power Ledger boasts deals with Austrian utility E-NEXT for a similar household solar energy trading trial and California-based Clearway for renewable energy certificates. The firm’s platform is also active in Thailand and India.
Decentralized power trading has already been put forward by Electrify and others in Japan and IKEA partner SPACE10 for a more open marketplace. 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.