Blockchain renewables trading platform launches digital currency offering – Footprint News

Monday, August 28, 2017, 3:29pm
A Perth company has started selling tokens for a peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform that it says offers significant benefits for businesses, networks and households.

Power Ledger opened its offering of 100 million ‘POWR’ tokens on Sunday afternoon, with buyers allowed to spend up to US$25,000 on tokens sold at a fixed price of 8.8 US cents each.

More than half of them have already been sold.

The company has created a billion of the POWR tokens and more will be offered for sale at an uncapped price in September.

Token owners can convert them to SPARKZ, the digital currency used to buy and sell renewable energy via Power Ledger’s platform, with each SPARKZ traded in Australia having a value of one Australian cent.

The platform uses blockchain technology to record SPARKZ transactions, which slashes costs and allows sale details to be recorded almost instantaneously.

By using the trading platform, a business or household with PV panels can sell their surplus power at above the low rate they must currently accept from retailers.

Instead, they can sell it at a higher price to another business or person.

The counter-party also benefits because they are paying less than their retailer charges them for power.

The SPARKZ digital currency can in turn be converted to cash at any time, should a participant wish to cash out some or all their holdings.

Full-scale trial

Power Ledger has already piloted the platform at the White Gum Valley residential development in Perth, and is currently running a trial involving 500 homes and community organisations in Auckland.
However, Power Ledger managing director David Martin told Footprint a much larger trial of the platform is being considered by Western Power, which would involve some of the 11,000 or so homes serviced by the utility that have smart meters.

Tasmanian distributor TasNetworks has also shown substantial interest, Martin said.

In a Skype interview on Saturday with cryptocurrency news service Nugget’s News, Martin said Power Ledger would be participating in a project in partnership with Nest Energy, which has installed 1MW of solar PV behind a master meter in a commercial precinct in Launceston.

The panels are on a warehouse in the precinct that has “lots and lots of roof space” but little energy demand, Martin explained. “It is just a big empty box.”

“But they have decided to put 1MW of solar on that to monetise their roof space and sell that energy to the consumers that are around them in that same microgrid environment,” he said.

Extra revenue

Martin said the Launceston project was an example of a business “being able to make some money on the side” by using the spare capacity on their roof, just as some people use spare capacity in their car or home to make money out of Uber and Airbnb.
He added that distribution businesses are enthusiastic about Power Ledger, because it encourages customers to stay connected to networks to maximise through trading the value of the solar power that they generate and/or store.

“The network businesses know that if they don’t do something to get customers hanging around and staying connected they will just wave them goodbye,” he said.

Martin added that the platform also offers a way to overcome the barriers that have so far prevented apartment blocks from installing solar, as it allows the value of the energy generated on the rooftop to be equitably shared.

(Nugget’s News interview with David Martin, 21 minutes)