We know the blockchain space can be a confusing place to navigate — especially with contradicting views and comments that can surface throughout the wider community and beyond. As part of our efforts to stop false rumours and speculation, we’ve compiled a list of our frequently asked questions as well as clarification around our products and business as a whole.
Q: How can I access the Power Ledger energy trading platform?
If I live in an apartment block?
If you live in a strata managed dwelling, you should ask your strata manager to consider utilising the Power Ledger platform to provide you additional value as a participant.
As a private home owner or business with solar panels?
If you would like to trade across the regulated network, you will need to request from your energy provider that they begin to offer the Power Ledger platform to provide you with the ability to trade your energy.
Q: What experience does Power Ledger have in the energy industry?
Power Ledger was founded on over 100 years’ combined experience in the energy industry.
Our Managing Director, David Martin, brings to the table over 20 years experience working in the electricity industry, and has held executive positions at two Western Australia-owned electricity utilities. David has spent the last 6 years as a senior consultant to industry participants specializing in regulation of distributed networks, renewables technologies and business development.
Power Ledger’s Chair is Dr Jemma Green. She’s currently a research fellow at the Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, and her doctoral research into “Citizen Utilities” has produced unique insights into the opportunities for the deployment of rooftop solar PV, battery storage, and the application of the blockchain. As an independent Councilor of the City of Perth, and most recently as Acting Deputy Lord Mayor of Perth, Jemma has experienced the challenges of sustainable cities and applies this knowledge to our organisation.
Our General Manager of Business Development, Vinod Tiwari, has a wealth of experience in the energy sector, previously as the Chief Operating Officer of Australian solar installer Regen Power; General Sales Manager of Perth Energy; and Senior Advisor for energy consultancy Future Effect.
We also employ a number of Energy Analysts — leaders in their fields — that have joined Power Ledger from a range of government, academic and corporate backgrounds.
Q: Is it true that Power Ledger only has a peer-to-peer energy trading platform?
No. P2P trading is our most mature platform, however we also have a range diverse products already in action or well into the development stage!
μGrid / microgrid
Power Ledger offers offers peer-to-peer electricity trading behind the regulated meter, such as in a Microgrid. World-leading blockchain technology is used to create an immutable record of energy generation and consumption allowing consumers to buy and sell energy among themselves with confidence via embedded networks such as strata and community-titled developments and microgrids. Peer-to-peer electricity trading behind the regulated meter, such as in a Microgrid, apartment complex A.K.A strata or an embedded network.
μGrid enables electricity metering, big data acquisition, rapid micro transactions and grid management at an unprecedented granular scale. Trading in embedded networks breaks the nexus between generation ownership and energy consumption, meaning value can be derived from an investment in DER even if the investor is absent or doesn’t consume all the energy they generate.
In December 2017, we signed an agreement with Thai Government-backed renewable energy developer BCPG to collaborate on forming an embedded 1–2MW solar generated microgrid development in Bangkok, with energy traded between 6–10 multistory buildings.
We have also joined forces with Tasmanian renewable energy producer Nest Energy to trade 1MW of solar energy across a commercial precinct in Launceston.
We have deployed our Electric Vehicle Settlement product at the City of Fremantle’s White Gum Valley (WGV) / Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives (SHAC) project. It facilitates real time metering data (interfacing with the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP)), collection of data, user identification and rapid transaction settlement.
We recently signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with major Californian utility Silicon Valley Power to create a digital record of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) transactions. The project will link renewable energy production and storage with community-based charging of electric vehicles (EVs). The aim is to cut both time and cost in the processing of LCFS credits.
Asset Germination Events (AGE)
Our focus for 2018 is our Asset Germination Events. We are actively gauging outreach from the community around participating in the funding of community-scale energy generation. Power Ledger, together with its Application Hosts, will begin conducting AGEs, where POWR token holders will benefit from renewable assets.
AGEs present enormous potential for developing countries, as well as countries impacted by natural disasters to assist in rebuilding assets. We’re currently working on the financial, legal and commercial frameworks and will announce details of these projects later in the year.
Q: Does Power Ledger work over the main grid?
Yes. The platform works in these instances, granted regulation allows. In fact, we’ve had Origin Energy — one of the biggest utilities in Australia — trial our platform. We’re also working with Japan’s second-largest utility, Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO). While the trial is initially for 10 houses in Osaka, our partnership will pave the way for an eventual city-wide rollout.
In the future, Tasmania’s Nest Energy will also provide its customers with energy coupled with Power Ledger’s trading platform to Tasmanian customers under exclusive terms.
Q: How does Power Ledger physically move energy?
We’re not trying to change the laws of physics, just trying to change the law of the market to enable it to reflect what’s actually happening in the system. What is happening is that the system is co-locating energy from one source to another. As a prosumer, the closer you are to the destination that is demanding energy, the more likely that’s where it will go.
Q: How does Power Ledger generate revenue?
Our holdings of POWR act as a treasury that presents a very real value opportunity for the business and the ongoing development and adoption of the platform. We can also charge a fee per kWh traded as revenue through the platform. With volume, (remember the purpose of the platform is to give trading a global reach) our fee can be really small and give our company a solid income, while allowing Application Hosts to retain most of the value.
Q: What makes Power Ledger unique?
We were Australia’s first TGE, and are registered here, doing things by the book under robust tax laws and regulation. We did this because we believe that the TGE market lacks clarity and transparency, which has led to a lot of distrust, skepticism and confusion. Instead of doing an TGE and then positioning ourselves somewhere like the Bahamas or Canary Islands — where there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors around tax exposure and commercial obligations — we did everything as close as possible to a traditional IPO model to give comfort to the market. We did all of these things because we realized we needed to bring some legitimacy to our space, the TGE space and the crypto world. It is this transparency that has helped form around us one of the most dynamic and passionate communities we could ask for.
Our working platform is currently deployed across 6 countries, in applications to manage EV settlements, carbon credits, P2P trading (behind and in front of the meter) and more. We are also in active development of a range of dynamic solutions for the evolving energy mix as part of our mission to provide clean, affordable and sustainable energy systems to the world.
We are also proud to be named as a top 3 finalist in the Xtreme Tech Challenge, where we will be showcasing our products at Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island in October.
While we don’t believe we are in direct competition with anyone in our space, we do believe there is more than enough room for emerging entech companies looking to create new, or improve existing incumbent systems in what is already a rapidly evolving energy space.
Q: Does Power Ledger only work behind the meter in microgrids?
No. Our platform is capable of operating both in front and behind the meter, and has already been deployed in both of these environments in a number of countries.
Q: Does Power Ledger only work with households?
No. The Power Ledger platform can be used by businesses, too. As long as there is a smart meter measuring the flow of electricity our platform can be put to task.
Q: Why use blockchain technology?
Currently, blockchain tech is the only solution for a full P2P market, without having someone in the middle controlling it or making profit off consumers. We have a consortium chain now but as per the white paper and roadmap, the platform will be on a public chain, when the technology can support the scale we are running at.
The blockchain is needed when we have multiple parties transacting in near real-time. A relational database might be OK if there’s one generator with multiple consumers, but when there’s multiple (and potentially competing) generators there needs to be a settlement model. In existing systems, a Market Operator is responsible for reconciliation and settlement. In distributed energy markets the blockchain provides a fast, trustless settlement so we can pin the financial transaction to the physical transaction.
Q: What hardware does Power Ledger integrate with?
Power Ledger is a software-based transactive layer which doesn’t require any specific hardware component for deployment. All that is required to integrate with the platform is a smart meter and an intermediary capable of acting as an Application Host.
Q: Is the peer-to-peer platform secure?
Yes. We only work with “revenue grade” meters — this means that the meters our platform attaches to must comply with the relevant international standards for accuracy and tamper resistance. This adds to the robustness of our already extremely secure blockchain-based application.
Q: Why do we need both POWR and SPARKZ?
POWR tokens are the platform protocol tokens used to allow secure access to the Power Ledger platform, via a SmartBond. They create a network effect by rewarding early adopters, as well as incentivizing usage and renewable power generation.
Using our P2P platform, customers pre-purchase Sparkz from Application Hosts, such as utility companies, using the relevant local currency. Consumers then use those Sparkz to buy energy from prosumers that wish to sell their excess energy. If the value of a kilowatt hour (kWh) on the trading platform is 10c, then 10 Sparkz are traded to the prosumer for every kWh consumed. Prosumers then surrender Sparkz to their Application Host in return for cash or buy energy back at a later date.
Sparkz themselves are locked to the local currencies. They cannot be sent from ‘microgrid A’ to ‘microgrid B’. This also means Sparkz generated also cannot be transferred between countries, thereby locking the value of the tradeable energy.
Q: What if customers don’t want to use cryptocurrency?
They are not required to. Application Host’s customers do not interact with the POWR token itself. Instead, customers purchase Sparkz through the the Power Ledger using local fiat currency. Sparkz are a cryptographic token that allows people to trade in our P2P network.
Q: All power being used from the grid goes through the meter, smart or otherwise. How will the buyer of someone’s surplus power avoid being charged by their distributor/retailer? How does Power Ledger circumvent this so the consumer is not paying twice?
Because we allow other application hosts to use the Power Ledger platform to create their own trading environments, we’re able to sync their data with ours to ensure there’s no ‘double pay’ situation. Running this via the blockchain means all energy transactions are recorded.