Bringing blockchain to India’s power consumers

Image credit: Pixabay

Electricity distributor BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) has partnered with Power Ledger, a specialist in blockchain-based renewable energy trading, to install a large-scale peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading trial in Delhi, India.

BRPL is the first electricity distribution company (Discom) in India to use the technology to trial P2P solar trading. The trial initially comprised 5-6MW of existing solar infrastructure, servicing a group of gated communities (CGHS) in the Dwarka region.

During the trial, residents with rooftop solar infrastructure sold excess solar energy to their neighbours, rather than letting it spill back to the grid. This enabled participants access to cheaper, renewable energy and prosumers to monetize their investment in solar assets.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International Issue 2-2020. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

BRPL was able to access a cost-effective energy alternative during the times of peak demand pricing, leading to increased efficiency and reliability of the power supply.

“BSES has been embracing emerging technologies, especially in the space of demand side management and renewables.

Our partnership with Power Ledger is yet another testimonial to these efforts,” said BRPL CEO Mr Amal Sinha.

“With the exponential growth in our economy and production, the ability to generate clean energy and utilize it across India without the need for a fully centralized grid is critical. Realising the importance of distributed generation, we have already built an extensive renewables infrastructure, and this trial … will help us fully utilize that energy,” added Sinha.

Additionally, the government of Uttar Pradesh, with the assistance of the India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF), will work on a pilot project to introduce blockchain technology to its rooftop solar power segment. Uttar Pradesh (UP) is the only state that has amended its regulatory framework to enable controlled peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading in India.

The pilot project, drafted by state power utility UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) and UP New and Renewable Development Agency (UPNEDA), will demonstrate the feasibility of energy trading through blockchain from rooftops with solar power to neighbouring households.

The UP government is one of the first in the world to formally recognize blockchain as a mechanism to make energy markets more efficient.

“The pilot project will demonstrate the feasibility of energy trading through blockchain from rooftops with solar power to neighbouring households/buildings. [The] platform integrates with smart meter systems to enable households to set prices, track energy trading in real time and enable the settlement of surplus solar transactions in real-time through smart contracts executed on blockchain,” said ISGF Executive Director Reena Suri.

The India Smart Grid Forum has been working with electricity distribution companies in India to accelerate the adoption of innovative smart grid technologies, including renewable energy and electric vehicle integration with the electricity grids. ISGF has partnered with a large number of technology providers and entrepreneurs from around the world to introduce emerging technologies in India.

India’s energy-consumption growth is currently faster than that of all major economies. In efforts to curb further increases in conventional energy sources, the Indian Government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has set a target of installing 175GW of renewable energy capacity across the country by 2022.

The 2022 target includes installing 40GW worth of grid-connected rooftop solar capacity in Delhi and surrounding districts.

Many countries have identified energy trading as a key component of promoting the uptake of renewables and meeting the Paris Climate Agreement. The Thai Government has identified blockchain-based P2P trading as a key component of its Power Development Plan.

The trials will be expanded to include blockchain-enabled solutions for group net metering, virtual net metering, electric vehicle charging and virtual power plant applications in the near future.

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