Powerledger: The world’s first ‘new energy’ trading platform
17 December 2021
‘Our renewable energy trading platform will democratise power for a billion people while building a sustainable future for the planet.’ Dr Jemma Green, Co-founder and Chair, Powerledger
Powerledger has developed the world’s first renewable energy blockchain trading platform. Its software allows consumers and producers to track, trace and trade every kilowatt of energy that is produced off-grid.
Founded by Dr Jemma Green and technologist John Bulich in Perth in 2016, Powerledger makes energy markets more efficient. This is essential, as the number of power generators increases. A few years ago, power generation in most countries was dominated by a few big plants. Now, there are potentially millions of low-carbon electricity devices that can deliver power to national or regional power grids.
Powerledger helps create a market for those small-scale generations. It allows peer-to-peer energy trading between neighbours, businesses and the grid. The technology is scalable. And it allows power to be bought and sold in real time.
‘Our efficiency concept centres on time and place – encouraging the growth of renewables where and when the energy is needed,’ Dr Green explains.
The concept is catching on. Regulators in the US and the European Union are facilitating clean energy trading. The US publication, Forbes, lists Australia’s Powerledger as a top five company for spearheading blockchain for renewable energy.
Today, Powerledger has a portfolio of 20 major clients across 10 countries. These include the UK, Australia, Thailand, India, Japan, United States, France and Austria.
The UK–Australia free trade agreement will aid collaboration
It all began in the UK. Green took a masters degree and then a doctorate in electricity market disruption at Cambridge University. In 2018, Green won the UK’s Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge award. This was followed by the EY Fintech Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2019.
‘To date, the UK is the most mature energy-sharing market in the world,’ Green says.
According to Green, the free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia will create a ‘mood around collaboration’.
‘The free trade agreement, along with the Brexit conversation, has shifted things even more closely between the two nations,’ says Green.
‘The UK now has a Foreign Office presence in Perth, where there is a real appetite for local energy generation,’ she adds. ‘In fact, one of the large energy retailers in the UK – Octopus Energy, with 1.5 million customers – has just created a partnership with Australia’s Origin Energy.’
Austrade helps global growth for clean energy trading
Green says Austrade has helped Powerledger build a global footprint.
‘We have secured 80% of our clients through Austrade,’ she says. ‘The teams on the ground know our business and introduce us to the right people in most of the countries we are now in. Due to Austrade’s help, our 26 projects now serve 21,000 consumers.’
Powerledger has gained a major success in North India’s Uttar Pradesh state. The state has a population of 200 million. Uttar Pradesh Government partnered with Powerledger to pilot its technology. The results were amazing. The Powerledger platform created a buying price for power that was 43% lower than the prevailing retail tariff.
Following the pilot, the Uttar Pradesh government made legislative changes to make peer-to-peer trading mandatory for all utilities.
The success of the pilot will help incentivise the uptake of distributed energy resources. It also meets Powerledger’s vision to distribute affordable electricity to populations where there is no electricity grid, and so improve economic welfare.
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