November 25, 2019

Startcon 2019: new energy system marketplaces and the future of work

Last Friday Dr Jemma Green presented on the changing energy market and the future of work at StartCon in Sydney, Australia's largest conference for entrepreneurs, startups and innovation teams.

Power Ledger is building the operating system for the new energy marketplace; our technology closes efficiency gaps, to make the energy market more fluid and responsive.

Last Friday Dr Jemma Green presented on the changing energy market and the future of work at StartCon in Sydney, Australia's largest conference for entrepreneurs, startups and innovation teams. Here is an overview of her presentation.

In 2017, the price of solar, wind and battery power fell below 15 cents per kWh - this was the first time renewables cost less than fossil fuels.

This moment in history went largely unnoticed by most people. But for my fellow Power Ledger co-founders and I the significance was not lost.

Theoretically this was the beginning of a new era. This should have been great news for electricity prices, for the billions of people living in electricity poverty, equally for the millions of businesses who depend on affordable electricity to be competitive - and of course, for the clean air too.

And for several consecutive years, US$350 billion is invested in new energies annually globally. But there is no energy revolution yet.

And the reason for this lies in the details of the way electricity is produced and distributed.

We still need the grid to meet peak demand - when everyone wants electricity at the same time. Energy companies can rightly say “you need us for the peak, so we’re going to charge you accordingly.”

Then there’s the transmission of electricity, which also adds cost.

Power Ledger’s technology helps make energy marketplaces be more fluid and responsive, by including smaller participants and providing a low cost way of trading and settling.

Consumers used to be at the bottom of the centralized energy system chain, but now, using our technology, they can sell their solar and battery energy, more actively participate in markets and receive greater benefits for the value they provide to the system.

And in doing so, contribute to a more sophisticated market where lots of smaller players can contribute energy to the grid as well as being consumers.

We have created software that enables peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading from rooftop solar panels and batteries. Using blockchain technology, we empower households to trade their excess rooftop solar power with their neighbors and their energy company.

Within any market where there is a disruptive innovation, incumbent players can do one or a combination of three things:

  • Fight
  • Flight
  • Innovate

For incumbents, fighting against an innovation may delay disruption, but generally won’t avoid it. Flight may mean do nothing or divest. Innovation isn’t a guarantee of survival, and innovation isn’t just on product, but also on commercial and governance models in a market.

However, innovation is necessary for survival.

While there may be a shift in energy markets, this doesn’t necessarily mean there has to be an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality. For Power Ledger, we’re not trying to cut out electricity retailers - we want to and we are already working alongside them as partners in innovating. And in most cases, retailers are open to an opportunity to help alleviate reliability issues, peak demand pressures, reduce costs and create a more sticky customer.

At Startcon, I was asked to speak about the topic conference, the changing nature of work.

Here are my high levels views on the implications of a changing energy system for the future of work:

  • Workforce will be more geographically distributed.
  • High growth low margin businesses under higher scrutiny.
  • New capital markets and agile regulation - shift the axis of power (take note Australia).
  • VCs are becoming more service oriented.
  • Digital transformation of verticals will see the Googles and Facebooks of tomorrow emerge.
  • Capital will drive innovation in fintech, which will deliver more competition and better services for consumers in Australia…..this should be a priority.

Flicking the switch

We want to use technology to contribute a resilient low cost and clean energy system

Energy markets to date have failed to keep pace with the advancements in solar technology and battery storage.

Our software works alongside the existing infrastructure of energy systems, enabling greater control and ownership for consumers and producers alike.

During my presentation I gave examples of how our platform is being applied in different energy markets under a variety of regulatory models.

Power Ledger has projects in several countries globally including Thailand, Japan, India, Malaysia, the United States and Austria.

In our home country of Australia, our platform has been deployed in the National Electricity Network (NEM) in South Australia to facilitate a Virtual Power Plant (VPP) as well as a number of projects in regional and metropolitan areas.

See below a list of some of the ways Power Ledger’s platform is being uniquely applied to different energy markets.


  • The Powerclub partnership enables Power Ledger’s platform to be deployed in the Australian National Energy Market. Powerclub will use Power Ledger’s platform to provide VPP functionality to its customers in South Australia.
  • The Gen Y Demonstration Housing Project is a sustainable and affordable housing product aimed at younger buyers. The project is expected to use 70 percent less water than a typical Perth home and 60 percent less grid energy.
  • RENeW Nexus is being led by Curtin University, with backing from the Australian Government’s Smart Cities initiative. With almost 50,000 transactions processed each month, prosumers have earned up to $36 per month selling excess energy.
  • The Wongan Hills Project is Power Ledger’s first blockchain-enabled P2P trial outside of a metropolitan area, with participants including local shires and farmers in Western Australia.
  • The Vicinity Centre’s project will begin at Roxburgh Village in Victoria and will be the first centre to integrate the energy blockchain technology as part of Vicinity’s $75 million industry-leading solar program.


  • BSES Rajdhani Power Limited is the first electricity distribution company in India to use Power Ledger’s technology to trial P2P solar trading in a gated community in the Dwarka region. BRPL has 2.5 million customers across South and West Delhi.
  • The SEDA Malaysia project aims to demonstrate the feasibility of solar energy trading in the Malaysian energy market using Power Ledger’s platform. The government agency hopes the trial will grow the country’s solar rooftop market and advance the deployment of DERs in Malaysia.
  • The Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) trial successfully proved Power Ledger’s system can offer customers a viable alternative to the FIT model in Japan. Solar owners  can receive faster payback options and help lessen the impact of the Japanese government’s new policy by selling it onto someone else.
  • The BCPG project is in partnership with the Thai utility Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) to trade rooftop solar power between an international school, apartment complex, a shopping centre and a dental hospital in Bangkok. The school has the opportunity to earn up to $1,500 per month from P2P proceeds.
  • The Chiang Mai University project in Thailand is in partnership with BCPG with the installation of a 12MW rooftop solar power system to help with energy conservation and promote the use of renewable energy by selling electricity to the university.

The United States

  • Clearway Energy project enables Power Ledger to to roll out digital commodity trading software and develop a platform to trade Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in the US. The market for RECs in the US is estimated to be worth over US$3 billion annually.
  • The American PowerNet project is our first P2P project across the largest US wholesale electricity market. Consumers pay around 11 percent less for APN’s excess solar energy compared to purchasing energy from the grid.


  • E-NEXT in Austria tested dynamic peer-to-peer pricing with 10 participants setting maximum buy and minimum sell pricing for their excess solar energy in Graz. E-NEXT is a subsidiary of one of Austria’s top five largest energy utilities Energie Steiermark.

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