EDF helps Londoners share solar power using blockchain

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The U.K. subsidiary of French energy giant EDF has launched a community solar project for a block of flats in Brixton, London, which will enable its residents to trade solar power with each other through peer-to-peer dynamics.

EDF Energy is implementing the project, dubbed CommUNITY, with Repowering London – a not-for-profit community organization that specializes in co-creating renewable energy power stations – and the UCL Energy Institute.

The project will enable residents of a selected building in Brixton to trade solar energy generated on the roof with each other, and to certify the transactions using blockchain technology.

EDF Energy said, although U.K. regulations do not permit the sale of power among electricity customers, regulator the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has authorized the project through its Innovation Link.

The project follows a similar pilot scheme in Hackney, London, which saw utility Centrica involved as blockchain technology supplied by Verv was used to enable peer-to-peer energy trading among residents of a 13-block social housing community, using electricity generated on their rooftops. That scheme also secured exemption from Ofgem’s rules.

First capacity market trade made

“By collaborating with our partners and using blockchain technology, this project in Brixton aims to show how small communities in dense urban areas could benefit from a low carbon and local energy system in a new and transformative way,” said Xavier Mamo, director of research and development at EDF Energy.

The energy giant and UK Power Reserve, part of Singapore’s Sembcorp Group, are using a trading platform underpinned by blockchain for the transfer of a capacity market obligation – a commitment to supply a certain amount of power. The companies implemented the first 2 MW trade of capacity market obligations in September. EDF said the platform, reportedly able to facilitate multiple types of energy flexibility trades, was developed by UK blockchain company Electron.

EDF Energy and Shell joined a newly established blockchain energy consortium created by Electron and backed by U.K. grid operator National Grid and German industrial conglomerate Siemens in February 2018.

This article was amended on 12/02/19 to include reference to the Hackney project.