The solution will enable resilient, low cost and localised renewable electricity markets
Blockchain startup, Power Ledger, released a report last week that indicated its blockchain-powered solar energy trading trial is ‘technically feasible,’ a potentially major boost for Peer-to-Peer (P2P) systems globally.
The trial, which was partly funded by the Australian Government, aimed to use rooftop solar energy to enable households to set their own prices for electricity, the press release stated. The report revealed that the trial was viewed positively by the participants and could lead to localised energy autonomy for regional areas by delivering lower-cost power grids.
The project had the involvement of 48 households in Fremantle in Western Australia, and ran between December 2018 to January 2020 as a part of the RENeW Nexus Project. Ledger’s blockchain technology was then used to track the transactions of rooftop solar energy between the households.
“Power Ledger has demonstrated how peer-to-peer energy trading can incentivize the right outcomes for the grid in a more cost-effective way,” said the report’s co-author and Power Ledger Chairman, Dr Jemma Green.
The report found that P2P energy trading using Power Ledger’s blockchain technology was technically feasible and evoked a positive response among participants. Ledger’s platform enabled households to trade excess roof-top energy with residents in near real-time.
However, the report observed that the present tariff structure in Western Australia led to financial outcomes being dependent on daily energy consumption, rather than trading value. “Participants had a positive view of P2P energy trading and could see its benefits but stated that changes to the tariff structure would be required to make it attractive,” the report found. Dynamic feed-in tariff during daytime coupled with the P2P system will help the region do away with the need for governmental subsidies, it noted.
Further, the report recommended allowing households with batteries to trade via a VPP “to monetize their excess solar at all times of the day, without any subsidy, and also provide services to the grid”.
The report made five key recommendations, including solutions for making up gaps in infrastructure and communication in the region. Dr Green said that “P2P and VPP trading is a viable alternative to curtailing the output of renewables, or needing more subsidies to encourage the consumption of excess solar during the day.”
“If governments around the world are serious about incorporating renewable energy into their future energy planning then it needs to be price-competitive,” she added.