Blockchain P2P Energy Trading Proves Workable and Popular in Australian Trial
An Australian government-backed trial of peer-to-peer solar trading utilizing blockchain technology has discovered that the technology is popular with users and technically feasible. The trial, which ran between Dec. 2018 and Jan. 2020 were part of the RENeW Nexus Project, which examined the potential of localized two-sided energy markets and blockchain technology to enhance the energy system.
Amongst those supporting the project were the Australian Government’s Smart Cities initiative, Western Power, several Australian universities, and the Australian blockchain firm Power Ledger. The results, issued on June 18, showed that the multi-pronged approach sought in the trial could further localized energy autonomy by 30–68% and deliver more cost-efficient network outcomes than enduring systems.
The context for the project
RENeW Nexus constitutes part of the Western Australian state government’s research into how to shift away from a centralized large-scale energy generation system and toward a hybrid system that would combine battery storage and distributed renewables. Take-up of rooftop solar in the region’s electricity grid, the South West Interconnected System, has been significantly more advanced than other grid systems and has consequently been recognized as a promising way to meet decarbonization goals.
The state government’s Energy Transformation Strategy is considering how to tackle the key challenges of migrating away from existing systems, like managing grid stability and promoting the adoption of distributed energy resources, while keeping costs low. The RENeW Nexus trial included two solar peer-to-peer trading trials in the region and an examination of the application of virtual power plants from battery systems, dispatch electricity into the Wholesale Energy Market.
Blockchain’s role in energy strategy
As part of the project, Power Ledger’s blockchain platform — which traces energy consumption and enables users to trade their surplus solar energy to other residents — will, in the future, be mixed with a microgrid that utilizes a 670-kilowatt hours community battery to assist inter-household trading. While the battery persists under construction, the trial’s blockchain-specific advantages have been assessed at this stage.
They were discovered to involve the assistance of improved auditing, secure trading, and fast settlement among energy customers and retailers. Smart contracts provide the potential to automate interactions and moreover, improve efficiency and flexibility in the system. Power Ledger has been unwaveringly expanding its blockchain-enabled renewables trading platform and a set of associated tools by various trials and commercial implementations, both in Australia and abroad.