Beginning in October, Australian utility firm Origin Energy will test a blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy-trading platform for its customers. Origin has partnered with Perth blockchain startup Power Ledger for the trial, to determine whether the technology can be effectively used to facilitate trading for customers who want to purchase or sell excess energy.
According to reporting from One Step Off the Grid, a similar test using the Western Power network found that participating households could enjoy energy savings of as much as $A600. In an interview with One Step, Power Ledger co-founder Jemma Green described the potential benefits for consumers:
“Presently, if you’ve got surplus solar electricity you sell it back for a low feed-in tariff and buy it back (from the grid) for a high rate. Using (Power Ledger), you can sell it to your neighbour at somewhere between the two.”
If Green's assessment is correct, Australia's energy consumers will welcome the opportunity to exercise more control over their energy allocation. “Consumers don’t like selling their power back to the retailer and buying it back at a higher price,” she said. The Power Ledger system enables those consumers to sell their excess energy to anyone of their choosing at their preferred price, or simply give it away to family members or friends.