On September 21, 2017, one of Australia’s largest energy retailers, Origin, will trial a platform built by Ethereum-based peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading company, Power Ledger, as a test market for buying and trading energy among neighbors.
According to the announcement, the companies will use anonymized and historic customer data to identify both solutions and obstacles facing the potential marketplace. The test is slated to begin in October and will run for three months. If the test yields positive results, Origin's large customer base may give rise to a new energy management system built on a blockchain P2P trading economy.
Power Ledger managing director David Martin described working with Origin as a major step toward demonstrating the power of the blockchain to unlock the value of consumer-owned distributed energy resources. He continued:
"Exploring technology options with Origin that could allow consumers to take more control of their energy purchasing options highlights how the needs and expectations of energy users are changing in Australia and reflects Origin’s stated commitment to delivering innovative energy solutions to its customers.”
Tony Lucas, Origin’s executive general manager for future energy, expressed that the companies’ joint effort reflects Origin's commitment to exploring and testing emerging technologies. “While it’s still fairly early days for this technology, we are keen to explore the potential benefits that peer-to-peer energy trading could offer our customers," said Lucas. "Power Ledger is one of a number of emerging technologies we’re currently exploring, which we believe could help us meet the changing needs of our customers."
With the trial, Origin will attempt to gain important insights on the P2P energy market. "We hope the trial will help us better understand the value proposition for consumers, as well as the regulatory and technical implications of the peer-to-peer trading model," said Lucas.
“Peer-to-peer energy trading presents an opportunity to unlock enormous value for consumers, it disintermediates the energy supply model putting consumers in direct contact with other consumers,” Martin concluded.