AGL Tests Blockchain-Based Energy Trading

Announcements, Blockchain, Innovation, Regulation | May 30, 2017 By:

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which manages the Australian government’s renewable energy programs, is backing a household energy trading desktop trial in Melbourne using blockchain technology.

Led by electricity retailer AGL Energy Limited (AGL), the desktop trial is partly funded by a $120,000 grant from ARENA, which was conceived in A-Lab, ARENA’s grid integration innovation lab.

The $293,800 project will consist of a virtual trial at Melbourne homes using solar panels, batteries, and smart air conditioning. The idea is that by using blockchain technology as a method of peer-to-peer energy trading, the project can explore the ways in which consumers can trade their own energy, and potentially make renewables more affordable and more adaptable to the grid.

IBM Australia and distributed energy advisers Marchment Hill Consulting are collaborating with AGL on the project, with IBM focused on the blockchain technology’s ability to recognize, authenticate, and settle energy trading, while Marchment Hill will provide market analysis.

The trial will also provide valuable information for regulators, energy service companies, start-ups, retailers, and networks on how peer-to-peer trading affects markets and market participants and how this market could be further developed. AGL said the initial trial is due for completion in July and could lead to a physical, real-world trial.

“As a leading energy retailer, we see our role as a key provider and enabler of new, customer-centric energy solutions that utilize innovation technology including the sharing or trading of energy,” said AGL executive general manager, new energy, Elisabeth Brinton. “This trial will help us learn how blockchain could facilitate this kind of transaction.”

“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,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht. “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.”