AUSTRALIA — Start-up energy tech firm LO3 Energy has taken a major step towards making community-run energy networks a commercial reality in Australia after agreeing a deal with solar installer Yates Electrical Services.
LO3 Energy, which has created a secure way of trading energy, battery storage and demand peer-to-peer using blockchain technology, plans to disrupt the existing market by making it possible to sell and buy energy within local virtual microgrids.
The deal with South Australian firm Yates Electrical Services will see up to 6MW of distributed renewable energy generation made available on a local energy marketplace and is the first step towards developing a full-scale transactive energy market.
“This is a significant agreement and shows there is great interest in the concept of putting energy choice in the hands of consumers,” said Belinda Kinkead, director of LO3’s Australian operations. “Our systems enable people who generate renewable energy – from small scale houses to larger industrial projects – to get more income by selling direct to consumers rather than to the grid. They also offer a unique way to integrate distributed energy resources into communities, creating a reliable and secure energy supply that protects from power outages that have been an issue across Australia. We believe this partnership with Yates Electrical Services will help us accelerate our set-up process over here and take the local energy marketplace concept one step closer to an Australia-wide consumer reality.”
US-originated firm LO3, which set up a base in Australia earlier this year, already has a working virtual microgrid based in Brooklyn, New York, and is setting up further projects in the US, Europe and the Middle East.
Working with Yates has the potential to open up over 1,000 homes and businesses across the Riverland fitted with their solar energy installations to operate on an LO3 transactive microgrid. Mark Yates, CEO of Yates Electrical Services said: ‘We’re eager to use our behind-the-meter battery storage across the LO3 platform as well. South Australia needs energy storage for stable, reliable service and platforms like the one we’re building with LO3 Energy can make that storage much more viable financially.”
The South Australia microgrid will begin with a discrete market using Yates’ commercial or industrial customers, who will bid on solar electricity supplied by the firm.
It will enable Yates to get the best price possible, while giving the participating customers the opportunity to buy their electricity at cheaper rates.
“It’s a win-win situation,” explained LO3 founder and CEO Lawrence Orsini. “The technology involves adding a simple meter into the household which manages all energy inputs and outputs – and with the Internet of Things, it’s even possible to get paid to switch your lights off. Brooklyn has also demonstrated that using a network of distributed renewables rather than relying on large installations is far more efficient and secure, and we know that is particularly important in Australia. We are expanding this exciting new energy solution across the world right now, we are excited that Australia appears to have embraced it and is now set to become an early adopter of this cutting-edge technology.”
South Australian residents interested in participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.