The New Scientist said that the blockchain is coming to Australia’s electricity grid. On August 25th, a group of neighbours tested a system to trade excess energy from solar panels between themselves using blockchain to record their transactions.
The trial was run by local start-up Power Ledger in a retirement village in the city of Busselton, Western Australia. This is another good sign of the energy industry’s growing interest about the technology.
A blockchain is a cryptographically secure ledger of every transaction made in a system and stored across every computer in its network. No central authority will be in control because every computer will have a continuously updated copy of the ledger. The computers monitor each other to prevent fraud. The technology started as the force behind the cryptocurrency bitcoin, but is currently being explored as a tool for different real-world industries.
The residents on the west coast of Australia have 300 days of sunshine every year and rooftop solar panels are growing in popularity, as stated by Power Ledger co-founder Jemma Green. Rather than sell excess energy to the grid, the blockchain will enable residents to trade directly with the people around them, with the ledger keeping track of all the transactions.
Energy meters at 20 houses plus a clubhouse in Busselton will be installed with raspberry Pi mini computers to track their energy usage. Homeowners can decide how and whom to sell the excess power to, and with each transaction logged on the blockchain. The first 2-month trial is a practice run to make sure the technology works. Real deployments will be scheduled next year in Victoria and Perth.