• Bitcoin moves to below USD 9,500
  • Australian blockchain energy trading trials met with popular approval
  • Tokyo plans residents to begin household trading of surplus renewable energy, supported by blockchain technology, by March 2021

We are nowhere near a conclusion today than we were at yesterday, with Bitcoin markets hardly moving in the past 24 hours with a trading range just below USD 9,500.

We look in the energy sector for cause for optimism as blockchain technology has been making leaps and bounds in providing innovative solutions there.

The first case to look at is Australia, where a peer-to-peer blockchain platform for trading solar energy has received the backing of the local government. And now, a state trial has found out that the users love it and it’s a technically feasible project to implement.

The trial was part of the RENeW Nexus Project that looked at how localized two-sided energy markets could use blockchain to improve the system. It lasted over a year from December 2018 to January 2020, supported by the Smart Cities initiative of the current goverment, some Australian universities, Western Power and local energy blockchain company Power Ledger.

Publishing the results today, the trial suggests that localized energy autonomy could be increased by as much as 68% with this multi-party approach, which results in much more cost efficiency than current systems.

All this fits into the RENeW Nexus initiative as part of Western Australia’s transformation drive away from the current centralized large-scale energy generation system and toward an integrated renewables and battery storage hybrid system. Significantly, it also helps meet some decarbonization goals, so it is prompting the state’s Energy Transformation Strategy to look into the hurdles of such a move, which would likely involve grid stability management, while keeping a lid on costs.

Power Ledger’s blockchain platform helps to track energy consumption while assisting users to sell surplus solar energy to other residents. Down the line, this will be combined together with an inter-household trading system using a microgrid running on a 670 kilowatt hours community battery.

Awaiting the construction of this battery, though the trials are already helping to improve auditing, secure trading and fast settlement between energy consumers and retailers.

Still on the topic of blockchain and energy, we now look to in the Northern Hemisphere in Japan, where almost the same type of residential set up is happening in Tokyo, with the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., or Tepco along with the partnership of giant Japanese trading company Itochu Corporation.

Nikkei reports that the two have begun building a blockchain-based system to allow for the same purpose of peer-to-peer trading between residents of their surplus electricity. The project expects to begin serving Japanese households by 2023, in collaboration with local governments. By March next year, work should begin on a proof-of-concept, whose success will make it the first time Japanese households are able to trade extra electrity generated by renewables.

Unlike the community battery in Australia, Tepco and Itochu will give individual households their own AI-based storage batteries and solar panels for free. The AI technology will determine exactly how much energy is generated, consumed and sold if in surplus, with blockchain used to enhance “the safety of communication”.

Big moves for blockchain, and big news for renewable energy!


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