AGL Energy Limited (AGL) is investigating how blockchain technology could enable households and businesses with a mix of solar panels, batteries and ‘smart’ air conditioning to trade or share excess electricity they generate.
Blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin and is used in other industries such as financial markets.
Funded by AGL, IBM Australia and distributed energy market advisors Marchment Hill Consulting, the trial project aims to determine the applicability of this technology as a platform for peer-to-peer energy trading or sharing.
AGL Executive General Manager New Energy, Elisabeth Brinton, said the ultimate goal of the cutting-edge trial was to help customers extract maximum value from their distributed energy resource assets including solar panels and battery storage.
“Personalising the energy experience and helping consumers harness and share the solar energy they generate is part of our future energy ecosystem,” he said.
“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.”
The ARENA-backed desktop trial was conceived in the agency’s grid integration innovation lab called A-Lab. 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 the country’s grids.
“Australia has experienced a rooftop solar boom in the past decade and we are expecting a residential battery boom to follow in the coming years,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“This means 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.”
Project partner IBM is investigating the applicability of blockchain technology to recognising, authenticating and settling energy trading and Marchment Hill is tasked with provide market analysis.