Japanese utility KEPCO tests blockchain technology to determine value of surplus solar power


Japanese utility Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. (KEPCO) – which operates in Japan’s second-largest industrial region, incorporating the cities of Kyoto, Kobe and Osaka – is testing a blockchain platform to determine how power consumers and PV system owners can trade surplus electricity.

In a research project with the University of Tokyo, Japanese software developer Nihon Unisys, and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, Ltd., KEPCO will use blockchain tech to acquire knowledge and experience of how transactions between power consumers and prosumers – generators who consume a portion of their own energy and generate a surplus – could be conducted, thus becoming able to determine the price of surplus electricity from solar installations.

Simulated transactions with blockchain technology will help it understand how prosumers can deliver power to multiple consumers, and determine at what prices the trade can be conducted, KEPCO said.

Evolution or revolution?

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In the project, Nihon Unisys will develop the platform, Kansai Electric will implement the pilot project at a testing center, and the University of Tokyo will evaluate and summarize data. Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, which announced in May the development of a new blockchain service, will advise on applying the blockchain technology to the realization of transactions.

The number of pilot projects involving solar and blockchain has increased exponentially in recent months. The World Energy Council, in partnership with auditors PwC, recently interviewed 39 top level management energy leaders to ascertain whether blockchain is driving an evolution or revolution in the energy ecosystem.

Respondents agreed, while blockchain has spurred great efforts in the innovation space from numerous energy organizations, much has to be done to realize its full economic and technological potential.

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