Today, Aussie blockchain firm Power Ledger announced a trial for peer-to-peer (P2P) solar energy trading in Japan’s Kanto region. The company has partnered with Japanese solar provider Sharing Energy and electricity retailer eRex for the project.
This is the second such trial of Power Ledger’s platform in Japan. The company had earlier collaborated with KEPCO to demonstrate P2P power trading in Osaka. The initiative with Sharing Energy and eRex is scheduled to run until December 2019.
Renewable energy sources are a high priority for the country. Japan’s energy self-sufficiency ratio fell to 9.6 percent in 2017 after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry. The majority of nuclear power plants were shut down and few have come back online. Most of the materials to generate electricity are imported into the country. Natural gas sources account for 40% of Japan’s power supply, coal 33% and oil 9% per PowerMag.
Households in the Kanto region will be given access to Power Ledger’s platform to trade excess solar electricity between each other. This comes at a time when Japan is looking to overhaul the renewable energy system in the country.
Japan is reducing the feed-in tariffs (FIT) for October 2019.
The FIT policy for renewable energy was introduced in 2012 to boost adoption of clean sources of power. It involves an incentive pricing structure to boost investment in the sector. However, these subsidies are added to the consumer’s bill, increasing the burden on the public.
Additionally, FITs have not been updated to cope with the fall in prices of solar panels. Now, Japan is planning to introduce a competitive bidding structure for renewable energy pricing to open up the renewables market, Nikkei reported.
“Using Power Ledger’s technology, households with solar panels will be able to sell any excess solar energy they have generated at a more competitive price than if they were to sell the energy back to the grid or to an energy retailer,” said Power Ledger co-founder and Chairman Dr Jemma Green.
The Aussie firm said its blockchain platform would integrate with existing smart meters of households in Kanto. Participants will then be able to set prices, track energy trading and settle transactions using blockchain.
“By utilizing Power Ledger’s blockchain technology, we will verify the feasibility of P2P energy trading in the country of Japan. Sharing Energy will enable participants who have invested in solar energy infrastructure to receive faster payback options and provide a new revenue stream for households,” said Sharing Energy President Emiko Koga.
Power Ledger has active projects in several countries around the world. In Graz, Austria, households are using Power Ledger’s P2P trading platform to sell excess solar energy.
Last month, the firm launched a trial in the rural areas of Western Australia, to allow commercial buildings to trade excess solar power between each other.