Australia’s energy market operator to trial DER marketplace on blockchain

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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is investigating the integration of distributed energy resources to the grid with blockchain-based project EDGE.

The aim of EDGE (Energy Demand and Data Exchange) is to demonstrate the potential for aggregations of consumer-owned distributed energy resources to deliver energy services to the wholesale power system and at local network levels.

Australia has seen fast-growing adoption of consumer-owned resources, with almost one in four homes believed to have rooftop solar rising to as high as 40% in South Australia and Queensland.

As such these resources have the potential to play a key role in a decentralising power system, alongside the similar growth in utility-scale resources.

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“Project EDGE aims to build an understanding of and inform the most efficient and sustainable way to integrate distributed energy resources into the electricity system and markets, allowing all consumers to benefit from a future with high levels of them,” explains AEMO Chief Markets Officer, Member Services, Violette Mouchaileh.

“There is no existing product that meets all high-level requirements for the distributed resource marketplace, so Project EDGE is at the leading edge of product development in this space.”

The EDGE trial due to get underway in April 2022 and run for one year is intended to inform changes to regulatory and operational processes to effectively manage the country’s electricity grids and markets as distributed resource participation increases further.

The three core function sets expected to be delivered are efficient and scalable distributed resource data exchange, wholesale market integration and local distribution level services exchange.

Additionally, the project will focus on understanding consumers’ perspectives and preferences in selling their energy resource capacity to aggregators for use in energy markets.

Up to 10MW of distributed energy resources from approximately 1,000 household and business customers, with these drawn in the Hume region of northeast Victoria.

The marketplace will be underpinned by Energy Web’s blockchain open-source operating system, which will be used to establish digital identities for the assets and market participants.

The market intelligence and logic layer will be provided by energy solutions provider PXiSE, and the solution will leverage Microsoft Azure cloud computing resources.

Other participants are energy services company Mondo as the aggregator and Victoria network operator AusNet Services. Funding support is being provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

If successful EDGE offers the prospect of scaling across Victoria and further across Australia.

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