Renewables and micro-level trade are seen giving a boost to Southeast Asia
Australian energy tech startup Power Ledger is keen to expand business in Southeast Asia, as the region is expected to become the fourth-largest energy consumer in the world by 2030.
In early September, Thailand hosted the 37th Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting and Associated Meetings, with Power Ledger participating in the renewable energy conference.
Maria Atkinson, an adviser to Power Ledger, outlined the company’s business presence worldwide, with projects in Thailand, Japan, Europe, Australia and the US.
“We have partnered with well-known energy companies to improve the efficiency and transparency of energy markets globally,” she said. “By 2030, renewable energy resources will be more important than ever.”
Ms Atkinson said Southeast Asia’s demand for energy is set to grow by two-thirds over 20 years. A combination of dwindling domestic resources and environmental concerns is driving many governments and markets to explore alternative energy options.
She cited an International Energy Agency estimate that a US$2.7-trillion investment is needed to meet the region’s growing needs for energy supply, transmission and efficiency.
Renewable energy can provide a more cost-efficient and greener solution, Ms Atkinson said.
Power Ledger runs blockchain-backed peer-to-peer energy trading that can support uptake of renewable energy in the future. It has partnerships with BCPG, a Thai renewable energy company, and Thai Digital Energy Development (TDED), a joint venture of BCPG and PEA Encom International.
“The presence of Power Ledger in Thailand has already created opportunities for other modern businesses and industries that aim to pursue clean energy production and distribution as part of their dedication to sustainability,” Ms Atkinson said. “Power Ledger provides a low-carbon model for countries in the region that are considering renewable energy.”
The company plans to explore partnership opportunities with other companies in the region, she said.
In Thailand, Power Ledger has teamed up with BCPG for modern decentralised energy trading in Thailand. Both companies provide renewable power through blockchain technology.
“BCPG initially reached out to Power Ledger as part of their search for innovative energy solutions, particularly blockchain-enabled methods of energy trading,” Ms Atkinson said. “From there, a new peer-to-peer energy trading platform was launched at T77 precinct, which comprises a shopping centre, international school, serviced apartments and a dental hospital.”
Located on Sukhumvit Soi 77, the T77 project was developed by Sansiri.
“As part of a trial, Power Ledger’s technology will track, trade and settle the electricity generated from solar panels to facilitate peer-to-peer energy trade at T77,” Ms Atkinson said.
Renewable microgrid developments allow for the efficient installation and operation of power generation close to consumers, she said.
The power trading platform applies a simple and low-cost procedure, joining two characters with on-site generating capacity.
“The power can be low-cost, low-carbon and resilient to the impacts of severe weather conditions,” Ms Atkinson said. “The government is backing BCPG’s efforts as a clean energy provider. The Thai regulatory climate has continued to improve since the start of Power Ledger’s trial.”
Moreover, Power Ledger is working with TDED, which was established to promote the adoption of energy technology.
Ms Atkinson said Power Ledger has spoken with BCPG and Thai ministers about energy sandbox trials to test innovative digital technologies and the company’s experience in the digital energy space.
In July, TDED announced a partnership with BCPG on the T77 project with Power Ledger.
Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power has also used Power Ledger’s blockchain platform to facilitate and monitor renewable energy trading in Osaka, Japan.
The future of the energy sector needs to strongly integrate renewable resources to ensure ongoing supply and affordability, Ms Atkinson said.
“Digital technology will reimagine the entire energy system — how power is distributed, managed, traded, used and governed,” she said.
Electricity has been traded from the grid to users for decades, but “we believe the digital decentralised ledger will unlock many opportunities for the sector, particularly renewable energy”, Ms Atkinson said.
Global energy markets have traditionally had one organisation selling the power and reaping all benefits. Advancements in renewable energy technologies have already started to shake up traditional energy models, such as solar panels generating electricity on private properties.
“The digital solutions like blockchain can support property owners in selling surplus electricity generated by solar panels to others,” Ms Atkinson said.
The future of the energy industry will be liberalised, similar to the trend in other industries. “We no longer need a massive electricity company to sell energy,” she said.