What his company is trialling is a system that will enable people to hawk off their rooftop solar energy directly to other households at a higher price than they would get by selling to a utility company. By making rooftop solar even more economical and maximising use of the power it generates, Martin hopes blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer energy trading will help lower carbon emissions while raising energy capacity.
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His company completed a virtual trial in Western Australia in January, and has taken the lessons learned from that and applied them to a real-world trial in Auckland, New Zealand. That began in December and will gradually ramp up to a network of customers live-trading green energy. Not so, says Martin.
He claims the energy-consumption issue has been averted by adopting a vastly more efficient form of blockchain than that which is used by bitcoin. Whereas most blockchain relies on proof-of-work processes, Power Ledger employs something called proof-of-stake. The former consumes vast amounts of energy as it involves solving ever-more complicated mathematical equations, but proof-of-stake blockchains are based on pseudo-random chance.
Michel Berne, the director of economics studies at Telecom management school in Paris, has been highly critical of the carbon footprint of blockchain , but he thinks, for energy markets at least, proof-of-stake could be a solution.
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He questions whether proof-of-stake could completely phase out proof-of-work blockchain in other sectors however, as he is unconvinced it offers the same level of security that is the point of blockchain in the first place. Dutch peer-to-peer energy trading network PowerPeers runs its system using already-available infrastructure and smart meter data.
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Co-founder Michiel Ooms says the company is looking for ways to integrate blockchain, but has encountered several roadblocks. And although our whole vision is about making the energy market more transparent, sharing privacy-sensitive data such as consumptions, locations, financial transactions probably would not comply with the GDPR regulations that come into effect in the EU in Legislators therefore also have quite a bit of work to do if they want to enable everyone to participate in the future energy landscape.
At its April meeting in Toronto, the group vetted possible topics for its next biennium study and elected to explore energy networks and their legal implications. Several SEERIL members selected individual topics to cover as part of the book, and other authors were selected to write chapters on topics that would ensure a comprehensive look at the subject.
The event, held at the Groningen Centre of Energy Law at the year-old University of Groningen in the northern Netherlands, involved the presentation of individual papers, strong critiques on them, and group sessions on the shape of the final book. More Info.
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