Power Ledger, the Perth-based energy trading start-up facing questions about what its blockchain technology brings to the market, has reset its goals for 2019, aiming for scale from its commercial trials, buying solar and battery assets and shutting its Melbourne office to conserve resources.
Chairman Jemma Green said Power Ledger closed its two-person Melbourne office just before Christmas because the market is proving a harder sell on the application of blockchain to energy markets and the company wants to focus on markets it believes are poised to deliver scale more quickly such as Japan and Thailand. One of the staff was made redundant and the other became an "ambassador".
Power Ledger's self-described mission is to help more people get more out of solar panels and batteries and speed the clean energy revolution, and the company won billionaire Richard Branson's "extreme tech challenge" in October.
But some people are sceptical about the business case and although it has secured trial deployments with energy companies from Australia to New Zealand, Thailand, Japan and the US, it has failed to convert most of these into commercial rollouts.
Dr Green said Power Ledger aimed to build a just announced relationship with a Japanese solar installer, Sharing Energy, from an initial 100 households to 55,000 households by the end of next year, and to start peer-to-peer energy trading over its blockchain platform this November. At an average of 5 kilowatts for rooftop solar in Japan, it would amount to 275 MW of solar in aggregate, which is ambitious.
As well, the board has set management a goal of increasing the current solar capacity of about 600 kilowatts covered by a Bangkok energy trading trial in partnership with BCPG, a Thai renewable energy firm, by 4 MW in the March quarter and another 12 MW in the June quarter. Thailand is Southeast Asia's largest renewable energy market.
"We are focusing on where we can get scale in 2019," Dr Green said. "We think a lot of scale can come out of places like Thailand where they are more agile."
Power Ledger's original focus was on using its blockchain platform to trade energy peer-to-peer – or neighbour to neighbour. But the platform can also be used to finance and "fractionalise" – or split up – ownership of assets such as solar farms, batteries and carbon credits, and to create secondary markets in the ownership units.
The creation of these ownership units is known as "asset germination" in the blockchain world and the units are known as "tokens". Power Ledger has bought a small 250 kilowatt solar array and a 670 kilowatt hour battery to trial this aspect of the technology, and is talking to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission about the idea.
Investment in these assets has been largely restricted to the rich because they can't easily be traded in a liquid secondary market, Dr Green said. "They'll be available for everyday people to invest in them and trade in a secondary market."
Another trial with Silicon Valley Power – owned by the City of Santa Clara – aims to charge electric vehicles from solar panels on car parks during the day to smooth out the "duck curve" impact of solar on the grid – where demand for electricity from the grid plunges as solar rooftop output cranks up in the morning and then falls in the late afternoon. It is also part of a trial to make California's unwieldy Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) scheme – that gives credits to low emissions cars – cheaper and easier to access for ordinary customers.
Dr Green said Power Ledger aims to bring other partners into this trial. "We see big opportunities in the carbon markets around issuance and trading of carbon credits."
Peer-to-peer energy trading trials in Fremantle and Auckland have not led to commercial deployments, but Power Ledger has just begun another trial with Pennsylvania wholesaler American Power Net and is also trialling a small "virtual power plant" trial with KEPCO, Japan's largest privately owned power company. Vicinity Shopping Centres is another trial partner.
Power Ledger's Oz-first Bitcoin IPO surges to $34m
By Ben Potter
Cashed up, but why blockchain?
Power Ledger raised about $34 million in Australia's first homegrown "initial coin offering" in October 2017 and has since ridden the ups and downs of the Bitcoin and Ethereum markets to settle at US8¢, just below its US8.3¢ issue price. Its market capitalisation soared to $US652 million at the peak of Bitcoin euphoria in January 2018 and has fallen to $US31.6 million, according to Coinmarketcap.com.
Dr Green won't say how much of its original cash Power Ledger retains but says it is enough to take the company "through to commercialisation".
Blockchain technology underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, whose ups and downs have fuelled scepticism about whether the technology does anything that a conventional database can't do.
Dr Green says people ask her the same question but insists that blockchain is "one facet of our business" and can bring benefits to a complex market such as energy.
Vicinity connects solar to blockchain in energy pilot
Vicinity connects solar to blockchain in energy pilot
By Nick Lenaghan
"Managing and storing energy is difficult and it takes time to get the market up to speed with what the proposition is and what the problems are that blockchain might solve."
Introduction to RECsubmitted by replaceenergycoin to u/replaceenergycoin [link] [comments]
In the whole history of our vast world, there's been various technological advances that really improve the quality of life of all the people as well as the planet itself. There's two uprising technologies that by themselves really revolutionize their area of expertise by being incredible useful, innovative and a with a massive potential to grow even further.
The first of those technologies is solar energy. Using the resources that our planet gives us is not only better for the environment, but is also more efficient and nowadays it is becoming the preferred energy method in many countries. China is the country that leads this solar revolution, because it already monopolizes half of the new solar plants that are installed on our planet, according to this report of the Environment Program of the UN. But, closely, they are followed by three other nations: Australia, Sweden and Mexico, whose investment in this field has recently doubled and continues to increase as time goes on. Just on 2017, the world has invested more money in solar energy than in nuclear power plants, gas and coal plants, according to a United Nations report. This revolution is real, is already here and it's the next logical step to the energy field of our world.
The other technology is one that neither smartphones, social networks, virtual reality, and nor autonomous cars can compare to. The most important technology that has emerged in the last century is the chain of blocks or blockchain. The European Central Bank maintains in a recent report that this invention "could lead an imminent revolution". And some experts believe that its impact will be similar to that of the internet. The blockchain is the technology behind bitcoin cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses encryption as a security and anti-counterfeiting system. The bitcoin stands as the best known and most common crypto, since it was the first of its kind that can operate without banks or a central authority, and without revealing data about the identity of those who carry out transactions. Its operation is based on blockchain technology: a shared database, decentralized and secure. Shared and decentralized because there are copies of that database in millions of computers in the world; safe because those copies are cryptographically protected: they can not be attacked, banned or deleted. And if there is a discrepancy in the registers, a consensus mechanism acts as the central authority and allows to detect which is the correct one. The crypto world is vast and we're basically in the initial stages of it.
Now that we've talked about the solar energy and blockchain technologies as individuals, it's time to take things even further beyond. What if those two technologies were to be combined? It would be an amazing accomplishment and completely revolutionize both the energy field and the blockchain world.
And that is exactly what REC is all about.
The Replace Energy Coin (REC) project has implemented blockchain technology to help decentralize the energy market, to build transparency, trust, and security between producers and consumers. Through blockchain technology peer-to-peer transactions are happening in a decentralized way, creating more transparency for producers, consumers and end users. It reduces costs for energy transactions by excluding governments, corporations and third-party vendors, creating a borderless economy worldwide. The adoption of blockchain in the Replace Energy Coin (REC) Business model allows people to buy and sell energy amongst themselves. This is only the beginning. Even as you are reading this, you are already part of it. We hope you continue to view this amazing project advance along with all of us. The future is bright, and REC will certainly deliver.
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