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Power Ledger finalist in Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge

Posted 20 April 2018 - 3:07pm

PhD graduate Dr Jemma Green’s peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform – Power Ledger – has been selected as a finalist in Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC).

Dr Green, who said her CRCLCL PhD research was “instrumental” in starting Power Ledger, will fly to Sir Branson’s Necker Island retreat in October to deliver her pitch.

“We are delighted to make it to the XTC finals and very excited to be pitching to Sir Branson with the opportunity to fast track our mission of the democratisation of power,” said Dr Green who met Sir Branson for the first time at a blockchain summit last year.

“Even if we don’t win, just getting Sir Richard’s honest feedback about what we are doing and what he thinks will make a difference is priceless.”

Dr Jemma Green with Sir Richard Branson (photo supplied)

Dr Green puts the birth of Power Ledger down to the research project she undertook for her PhD with the CRCLCL, which she completed in 2017. After a career in banking, that took her to London to work with JP Morgan, she returned to Australia to work with CRC Node Leader Professor Peter Newman at Curtin University where she looked at citizen utilities and the way apartment buildings could use solar and batteries in combination as part of the CRCLCL White Gum Valley project. “The idea for Power Ledger came from my PhD research project with WGV.

I couldn’t find software that would make the apartment building energy system do what I wanted it to - trade and share energy - and then I discovered the blockchain and it all came together. In fact my research needs were instrumental, it would not have happened otherwise,” she said.

“To me this proves that research can deliver change if you intend it to get action. It’s a lot of work - but worth it. We can be leading edge in Australia, I know that.”

Dr Green says Power Ledger is a platform designed to help people transition to low-carbon, low-cost energy by decentralising energy and energy networks resiliency and security, which renewables can provide.

“Australia’s current system is designed for central players to feed the energy supply, while consumers producing energy don’t get fair value for their investment,” she said.

“Power Ledger allows consumers to receive benefits from their investments, either by selling their excess energy through our Peer-to-Peer Trading Application or by contributing to our Asset Germination Events, where consumers can become beneficiary owners of large renewable energy assets such as a battery or solar farm, using our platform,” she explained.

Power Ledger is on an upward trajectory having just partnered with United States based clean energy not-for-profit, Helpanswers, which will lead to hundreds of clean energy trading projects starting in the clean energy-rich markets of California, Texas, New York and extending from Illinois through Pennsylvania and New Jersey to Washington DC. According to the Australian Financial Review Power Ledger and Helpanswers have identified hundreds of sites across the US amounting to a combined 50 megawatts of solar power and 50 megawatt hours of battery energy storage. The rollout will start with energy-intensive users like low-income housing, water and wastewater facilities, cement plants, corporate and school campuses and buildings.

Power Ledger has also recently announced their first commercial deployment with Greenwood Solutions in Melbourne and a partnership with BCPG in Thailand. Dr Green is still connected to the CRCLCL through her role as supervisor to CRLCL PhD student - Paula Hansen - who is researching innovations in shared solar storage.

We wish Dr Green every success with Power Ledger and her pitch to Sir Richard Branson in October.