Energy project uses blockchain to introduce peer-to-peer energy trading

EnerPort launch
Pictured: Dr Enda Barrett, NUI Galway; Brian O'Regan, IERC; Terry Madigan, Systemlink Technologies; and Maeve McGinn, IERC

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15 March 2018 | 0

A new project launched at the International Energy Research Centre (IERC) Annual Conference this week aims to accelerate peer-to-peer energy trading in Ireland through blockchain technology.

EnerPort, led by the IERC, and in partnership with SFI’s Insight Centre at NUI Galway, will investigate how blockchain can be used to reward users for saving energy and make small scale transactions between neighbours who generate electricity.

EnerPort also involves a number of indigenous companies including Systemlink Technologies, MSemicon, and Verbatm.

“The EnerPort project will prototype new ways to address the challenges currently slowing the progression of distributed networks,” said IERC director Prof Tony Day.

“It will provide evidence of how policies, regulations and physical networks need to evolve to ensure Irish citizens have the strongest level of control on their energy bills. Ultimately, EnerPort provides a unique opportunity for Ireland to position itself as a research leader in an area which is expected to have significant growth in the near future.”

A growing energy market presents a number of problems, such as how to trust and validate transactions made in distributed energy networks, how to enable stronger consumer engagement within that market, and how to free up the trading regulations within local networks. Responding to these challenges, Enerport will investigate how to provide a platform that enables companies and consumers to trade on a regional and national scale.

In terms of innovation, there are a limited number of existing projects worldwide which have been able to demonstrate the hardware and software requirements for energy trading and its applications in the context of the distributed grid.
This project will provide scalable proof-of-concept demonstrations for blockchain-based peer-to-peer energy trading in the distributed grid and will address key challenges around hardware and software requirements and protocols, as well as issues around markets, regulations and policy.

“Ireland is experiencing a rapid growth in the deployment of technologies such as energy storage systems, electric vehicles, and smart home devices,” said Dr Matthew Kennedy, head of strategy & business, IERC.

“We are investigating if existing energy markets are flexible or decentralised enough to accommodate this scale of integration of distributed grid technologies. Peer-to-peer energy trading, using distributed ledger technology, can potentially allow for a more localised energy balancing and improved integration of these distributed grid technologies. Such balancing requires an understanding of how smart meter technologies interact with blockchain, and how consumer trading decisions interact and communicate with a cloud-based blockchain.”

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