With its potential to securely track and exchange data, blockchain software is gaining traction in the energy arena. Touted to hold the promise of revolutionizing the traditional, centralized energy systems, the technology has so far found its application mainly on small-scale. The latest such case is a digital record of carbon credit transactions in one of the biggest multistory EV charging facilities in California.
The pilot project will use the platform developed by Australia’s Power Ledger to track and manage the production and consumption of low-carbon energy from the solar panels and batteries at the big EV parking garage, as well as create a digital record of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) transactions, with the aim to cut both time and cost associated with the sale of clean energy.
For the purpose of this project, Power Ledger alongside its Northern American partner Clean Energy Blockchain Network (CEBN) joined forces with Santa Clara’s municipal utility Silicon Valley Power with the idea to tackle the issues of the current way of processing LCFS credits, which is often lengthy and costly.
The shortcomings of the system come from the fact that once electricity is on the grid it is difficult to distinguish electrons produced from fossil fuels and those produced by renewables, and therefore clean energy is often tracked through the sale of renewable energy credits. The system of independent verification is, however, onerous and expensive.
“It can take months to audit,” says Mike Ashley, co-founder of CEBN. “It is the most direct and serious pain point in the short term. Blockchain is a way around. Transactions can happen quickly and with very little overhead.”
In other words, the sale of credits would no longer be administratively burdensome, and therefore accessible only for large fleet owners, but also for individual EV owners, who will be able to benefit from the LCFC scheme, under which fossil fuel refiners and importers in California are due to acquire and surrender a set level of LCFS credits to lower their emissions footprint.
In April, Power Ledger and CEBN announced their first U.S. commercial deployment of energy trading at the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, a project which is to enable energy trading between buildings in the campus.
Prior to that, Australia’s P2P energy pioneer announced the first commercial deployment of its energy trading platform back at home in Melbourne in partnership with energy solutions business Greenwood Solutions, with the mission to distribute solar behind the meter.
Another limited trial of the company’s technology was arranged with Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) for 10 homes in Osaka.
Last year, Power Ledger raised $34 million from over 15,000 buyers in a token generation event, which was Australia’s first Initial Coin Offering (ICO).