Blockchain Energy Trading Project Launched By International Energy Research Center

The International Energy Research Center (IERC) has launched a new project that aims to accelerate peer-to-peer (p2p) energy trading in Ireland through blockchain technology.

The IERC is an industry led collaborative program of research and innovation in integrated sustainable energy system technologies. The IERC brings together international companies and researchers in the energy space, leveraging research capabilities and technologies to find commercial solutions to the global energy demand challenge.

The new p2p energy trading project, called EnerPort, was launched in partnership with SFI’s Insight Center at NUI Galway. It also involves a number of indigenous firms including Systemlink Technologies, MSemicon, and Verbatm. The objective is to understand and explore how cutting-edge technologies, such as blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT), provide a platform that enables companies and consumers to trade on a regional and even national scale.

The companies will look into how blockchain technology can be used for energy trading, and how to potentially reward users for saving energy as well as managing small-scale transactions between neighbours who generate electricity. The project will provide scalable proof-of-concept demonstrations for blockchain p2p energy trading in the distributed grid and will address key challenges around hardware and software requirements and protocols, as well as issues around markets, regulations and policy.

IERC director Professor Tony Day said the EnerPort project will prototype new ways to address the challenges currently slowing the progression of distributed networks.

“It will provide evidence of how policies, regulations and physical networks need to evolve to ensure Irish citizens have the strongest level of control on their energy bills,” said Day. “Ultimately, EnerPort provides a unique opportunity for Ireland to position itself as a research leader in an area which is expected to have significant growth in the near future.”

Dr Matthew Kennedy, head of strategy and business at IERC, said they are investigating if existing energy markets are flexible or decentralized enough to accommodate this scale of integration of distributed grid technologies.

“Peer-to-peer energy trading, using distributed ledger technology, can potentially allow for a more localized energy balancing and improved integration of these distributed grid technologies,” said Kennedy. “Such balancing requires an understanding of how smart meter technologies interact with blockchain, and how consumer trading decisions interact and communicate with a cloud-based blockchain.”

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