The significant deal will create South Australia’s first local energy marketplace and could be the start of an industry-changing renewable energy sharing revolution, enabling customers buying renewable energy to set their own price, rather than being beholden to the grid.
LO3 Energy, which has created a secure way of trading energy, battery storage and demand peer-to-peer using blockchain technology, plans to disrupt the existing market by making it possible to sell and buy energy within local virtual microgrids.
The new TransActive Grid project in South Australia will see up to 6MW of distributed solar generation made available on a local energy marketplace using LO3’s peer-to-peer trading platform, and is the first step towards developing a full-scale transactive energy market.
This will all be underpinned by the blockchain-based software, which allows a decentralised, secure, peer-to-peer marketplace to function and involves adding a meter onto a business or household that manages all energy inputs and outputs, giving participants access to cheaper electricity.
The solar power will come from six locally built solar PV plants ranging from 200kW to 1MW in size – with two having already been constructed – that are being sited on redundant farmland in SA’s Riverland region.
The PV plants will be built by Yates Electrical’s renewables offshoot Redmund Green Energy, with financial backing from Chinese investors. Eventually, each solar plant will also be coupled with battery storage.
LO3’s director of Australian operations Belinda Kinkead says this is a significant agreement and shows there is great interest in the concept of putting energy choice in the hands of consumers.
“Our systems enable people who generate renewable energy – from small scale houses to larger industrial projects – to get more income by selling direct to consumers rather than to the grid,” Kinkead said.
“They also offer a unique way to integrate distributed energy resources into communities, creating a reliable and secure energy supply that protects from power outages that have been an issue across Australia.
“We believe this partnership with Yates Electrical Services will help us accelerate our set-up process over here and take the local energy marketplace concept one step closer to an Australia-wide consumer reality.”
Working with Yates Electrical Services in South Australia has the potential to open up more than 1000 homes and businesses across the Riverland already fitted with solar energy to operate on an LO3 transactive microgrid.
The SA microgrid will begin with a ‘discrete’ market using Yates Electrical Services’ Small Generation Aggregators Licence, and at least two of their associated commercial or industrial customers, who will bid on solar electricity supplied by the firm.
This will enable Yates to get the best price possible, while giving the participating customers the opportunity to buy their electricity at a cheaper rate than wholesale.
According to LO3 founder and CEO Lawrence Orsini, it really is a win-win situation.
“The technology involves adding a simple meter into the household, which manages all energy inputs and outputs – and with the Internet of Things, it’s even possible to get paid to switch your lights off,” Orsini said.
“Brooklyn has also demonstrated that using a small network of distributed renewables rather than relying on large installations is far more efficient and secure, and we know that is particularly important in Australia.
“We are expanding this exciting new energy solution across the world right now, and we are excited that Australia appears to have embraced it and is now set to become an early adopter of this cutting-edge technology.”
The team over at Yates Electrical Services believe this is a significant step forward for them, as they further integrate new and innovative technologies into their business model.
“We look forward to a future of clean energy with the end user having the control over their own energy consumption,” a Yates Electrical Services spokesperson said.
“The TransActive Grid meter, which enables communication to the TransActive market using blockchain technology has now been installed on one of our solar farms, with more currently being retrofitted to accept the devices.
“With the rapidly rising cost of electricity and huge increases in both blockchain and renewable technology over the past few years, it’ll be exciting to see how this test goes and how much LO3 are able to grow it over the coming years.”