AGL Energy Limited (AGL) is leading a project to investigate how blockchain distributed ledger technology could enable households with a mix of solar panels, batteries and ‘smart’ air conditioning to trade or share excess electricity they generate.
The desktop trial is being funded by AGL, IBM Australia and distributed energy market advisors Marchment Hill Consulting as well as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which conceived the trial in its A-Lab, a grid integration innovation lab.
AGL Executive General Manager New Energy, Elisabeth Brinton, said the purpose of the cutting-edge trial was to test and learn to determine the applicability of blockchain technology as a platform for energy trading or sharing.
Blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin and is used in other industries such as financial markets.
“We’re excited to work with our partners to determine how this technology can help customers more directly manage household energy and derive more value from their distributed energy resource assets including solar panels and battery storage,” Ms Brinton said.
“Personalising the energy experience and helping consumers harness and share the solar energy they generate is part of our future energy ecosystem.
“As a leading energy retailer we see our role as a key provider and enabler of new, customer-centric energy solutions that utilise innovation technology including the sharing or trading of energy.
“This trial will help us learn how blockchain could facilitate this kind of transaction.”
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said exploring ways for consumers to trade their own energy could help make renewables more affordable and better able to support our grids.
“We’d like to explore new technologies and mechanisms to allow consumers and business to trade their own renewable energy with each other and with network companies. Ultimately these investigations are about getting the most value out of solar and battery systems through a more flexible and modern marketplace,” he said.
“By supporting innovators like AGL to conduct projects like this, ARENA is helping to ensure a smooth transition to a renewable energy future.”
IBM will focus on the applicability of blockchain technology to recognising, authenticating and settling energy trading and Marchment Hill will provide market analysis.
The trial is expected to be completed by July.
AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies. It is taking action to responsibly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while providing secure and affordable energy to its customers. Drawing on 180 years of experience, AGL serves its customers throughout eastern Australia with meeting their energy requirements, including gas, electricity, solar PV and related products and services. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, solar, landfill gas and biomass.