Image: PEBBLES

The PEBBLES project is developing a blockchain platform for peer-to-peer energy trading and the exchange of grid services.

The platform, developed in partnership with the south German regional supplier Allgäuer Überlandwerk and others, has now been launched in the town of Allgäu, where it will undergo demonstration in a range of trading and grid use cases.

PEBBLES (Peer-to-peer Energy trading Based on BLockchainS) running since March 2018, is a three-year project supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs. Its aim is to incorporate into the energy market small scale producers and end users with the platform using smart contracts to automatically trade energy, flexibility and support services between themselves and as part of a virtual power plant.

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Specifically, PEBBLES is proposed to establish the conditions for peer-to-peer trading to take place and to determine the suitability of peer-to-peer in providing services to the grid.

Each of the partners has specific goals for the project. For Allgäuer Überlandwerk these include developing new business models, optimising virtual power plant usage and ensuring traceability of green energy.

Its network subsidiary AllgäuNetz aims to identify useful patterns of prosumer behaviour and to investigate how these can be incorporated into grid planning and operations and the potential savings they could bring.

Siemens is investigating the new business models that enable blockchain-based trading of energy and grid services in a regional marketplace in order to develop the underlying algorithms and other facets of a trading platform.

Kempten University of Applied Sciences is studying the impacts on the grid that might arise from large scale peer-to-peer trading.

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft also is looking at new business models, aiming to identify those with a high degree of economic potential.

This isn’t Allgäuer Überlandwerk’s first blockchain project. As a forerunner to PEBBLES, in 2017 the company piloted peer-to-peer trading in an ‘Allgäu microgrid’ with New York-based LO3.

Christian Ziegler, PEBBLES project manager, commented in a recent article that the ability to both trade and provide system services on the same platform makes the project particularly exciting.