Ontario’s Alectra launches blockchain transactive energy platform

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Ontario municipal utility Alectra Utilities is piloting a customer energy marketplace with its GridExchange platform.

The three-month pilot will engage 21 households with distributed energy resources including solar panels, battery storage and/or and electric vehicles (EVs) to trade energy on the platform.

GridExchange is a blockchain-based software platform that has been developed to enable energy exchange between consumers and the grid. Participants are compensated for their transactions in cash and ‘GxRewards’, which are rewards that are redeemable at local merchants, including food stores, restaurants and a spa among those signed up for the pilot.

“The GridExchange pilot project plays a pivotal role in supporting consumers by offering them greater control over their energy usage,” said Brian Bentz, President and CEO of Alectra Inc.

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“In alignment with Alectra’s commitment to be net zero by 2050, the launch of GridExchange will help us continue to lower emissions and create value for customers and the Ontario power grid.”

The implementation of the pilot follows an earlier proof of concept initiated with five customers in 2018.

In the pilot phase, the exchange of energy will be tested across three initial energy services: grid balancing, managed EV charging and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

GridExchange, which is implemented as a mobile and web application, is designed to record and deliver real-time information about available customer energy resources, customer participation history and the power grid needs and to offer secure and transparent exchange of energy.

The initiative is funded by Natural Resources Canada and is being implemented in partnership with cloud-based platform provider Sunverge, energy services provider Savage Data and EV charging infrastructure provider FLO.

Alectra is the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada in terms of customers, serving more than one million homes and businesses in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area in southern Ontario.