Transforming the Renewable Energy Market with Power Ledger
We’ve been keeping an eye on Power Ledger for a long time, and we are delighted that we finally got to do an interview with them. Dr. Jemma Green – co-founder and chairman – gave us some quality answers and insight.
We hope you like this interview and get a better understanding of what Power Ledger is all about and what is happening in the renewable energy markets these days. Enjoy!
Can you tell us a bit about how Power Ledger got started and how the company looks today?
Power Ledger was founded in 2016 with a vision to improve the efficiency and transparency of energy markets across the world while increasing the adoption of renewable energy.
Power Ledger started out with a small demonstration project in Western Australia. We now have active projects globally in places such as Australia, Italy, Thailand, Japan, America, and India.
Power Ledger is a multi-award winning technology company – most notably winning Sir Richard Branson’s International Extreme Tech Challenge in 2018, and our co-founder Dr. Jemma Green was named the 2018 Australian EY Fintech Entrepreneur of the Year.
If you were looking at a roadmap, how far could you say that you have come so far?
Within the space of less than four years, Power Ledger has evolved from a concept to product trials, to signing commercial deals. Additionally, we’ve taken our technology global and now have several international partners, including government bodies in Malaysia and India, as well as some of the largest utility companies in Japan, Italy, and America.
What then, are the next steps for Power Ledger?
Power Ledger is continuing to form partnerships with energy regulators, retailers, and other electricity-related businesses around the world to make energy systems more efficient while helping to advance the adoption of renewable energy.
In 2020 Power Ledger will be releasing further products from our roadmap, concentrating on our PPA vision and securing opportunities for further expansion into the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) market.
Power Ledger is also looking forward to continuing and expanding our partnership with BCPG in Thailand, showing the benefits that peer-to-peer trading can bring to the T77 community.
Power Ledger has recently had a bit of an explosion in terms of market expansion. Can you tell us about how that is going and if there have been any significant hurdles?
Innovation often outpaces regulation. In our experience, it takes just one first-mover to get others to jump over that initial hurdle of using new and emerging technology, as well as embracing novel approaches to a market that’s largely operated off the same systems for decades.
Power Ledger has taken an active approach; we decided early on that in order to be able to achieve the best results and get past the usual hurdles, we needed to work alongside and educate regulators, existing energy market operators, and retailers.
Power Ledger’s partnerships have been crucial to accelerating the acceptance and deployment of our technology globally.
How do you see the progress of the tokenization of the energy market? What is the biggest obstacle at the moment?
Power Ledger has made significant progress in demonstrating the benefits blockchain technology can bring to the energy market, via our peer-to-peer (P2P) trading and renewable energy certificate (REC) trading products.
It’s hard to break into a market that has operated and lived by the same guidelines for decades, but what we can and are doing is work hard to grow a really successful business that delivers value to the market. We’ve spent the past three years working with regulators and energy retailers, who we partner with to deliver our technology into the market.
We’re helping them provide unique service offerings to customers and improve access to renewable energy, regardless of whether users own solar infrastructure. We’re now looking to the future, to a new year when the hard work of demonstrating the effectiveness of our platform delivers scale in terms of MW, RECs, and users on the platform.
How do you envision Power Ledger’s role in the tokenized RE market?
Power Ledger is building the operating system for the new energy marketplace. Our core leadership team comes from an energy background and recognized the historic inefficiencies in electricity markets that we have the ability to solve. We recognized that blockchain technology can help the energy market to build better efficiencies and reduce market monopolies with existing retailers.
Power Ledger has already proven its potential in the RE market and already has active users across our key markets of energy trading, renewable commodities trading, and asset financing cases.
One of the more significant benefits of tokenization in electricity markets is in the REC market as it enables RECs to be fractionalized, which enables smaller RE producers the ability to participate in REC trading for the first time.
Power Ledger has applied this tokenization model in our partnership with Clearway and M-RETS to build a global REC marketplace footprint in North America. Tokenization in this market increases transparency, reduces credit duplication, and brings credibility to the market.
How does your VPP technology deliver a benefit to the end customer?
Power Ledger’s VPP gives users full visibility over electricity demand spikes by using blockchain to increase automation and transparency, providing them with the opportunity to earn a higher price for their excess solar energy.
Power Ledger’s VPP platform monitors the energy market and sets price spike alerts. When demand jumps, energy retailers automatically draw power from the VPP batteries, and the households receive income from selling their battery-sourced electricity.
Not only does Power Ledger’s VPP project give solar asset owners access to peak electricity price rates, but it can help to reduce fossil fuel reliance by exporting clean energy to the grid when electricity is at peak demand. This means that the wider community can also gain access to clean energy.
Our VPP monetizes solar assets – it gives those people who’ve invested in solar rooftop installations and batteries the ability to earn a higher price for the excess solar energy they have generated, helping to pay back their investment in solar infrastructure faster.
Is Power Ledger a “Transactive Energy” firm? Can you explain what that term means to Power Ledger?
A transactive energy system uses smart grid technology to communicate the real-time electricity flow and cost of power with utilities, grid operators, as well as individual energy assets in the grid system.
For Power Ledger, the concept of a ‘transactive energy system’ underlies the basic principles behind our technology – in particular, our Virtual Power Plant platform.
A VPP involves a network of rooftop solar and battery systems pooling their excess renewable energy and feeding it into the grid during times of peak electricity demand. This VPP uses smart grid technology combined with blockchain as well as solar rooftop and batteries, to give users full visibility over electricity demand spikes. It also then ‘communicates’ with the grid to distribute clean energy when consumers are demanding electricity the most.
By utilizing blockchain, Power Ledger’s VPP increases automation and transparency, access to trade with multiple retailers, providing a greater market opportunity and giving users the ability to earn a higher price for their excess solar energy. We recently launched our VPP project in South Australia.
You can find out more about our South Australian VPP project here.
Do you have any competitors, or is it a friendly market where everybody is working towards the same goal?
Power Ledger believes in empowering individuals and communities to control the way in which they buy and sell their electricity.
We’ve spent the past four years working with all players within the energy ecosystem. Power Ledger is helping utility companies around the world to find better efficiencies, provide unique service offerings to customers, and improve access to renewable energy as an everyday option, regardless of whether users own solar infrastructure.
How many clients are connected to your platform as of today? Where are they geographically?
Power Ledger has active projects all over the world, including across Australia, Thailand, Japan, Europe, America, and India.
You can see all of our projects here.
We estimate more than 20,000 people are currently benefiting from Power Ledger’s platform.
What is the Power Ledger community like? How do you interact with them, and are they involved in any projects or development?
Power Ledger runs several ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions each year via a live twitter stream where our community members are invited to ask us questions about our projects and developments.
Do you have any partnerships on the hardware side, enabling you to deliver a “total package” for your customers?
We’ve also recently announced that Power Ledger secured a contract with one of Italy’s largest electricity utilities Alperia SpA, which is testing our technology with the ultimate goal of being able to offer customers a full suite of our products.